Decorating with wallpaper? Don’t make this all-too-common mistake

Before you begin, take these simple steps

Bathroom wallpaper ideas
(Image credit: Graham & Brown)

Decorating with wallpaper can feel incredibly intimidating, particularly if you haven’t done it before. The margin for error is pretty high, with lots to think about, from the measurements to getting the surface ready.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting annoying little wallpaper air bubbles between the surface of the wall and the wallpaper. This is exactly what we don’t want when we’ve spent ages deciding on a specific floral wallpaper pattern, not to mention spending money on it. 

For more information on how to wallpaper a wall read our feature on how to get the job done like a pro.

Woodchip & Magnolia wallpaper

(Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia)

Avoid this common mistake when wallpapering

Bubbles can happen when wallpaper doesn’t properly bond with the surface underneath it. They may appear there and then while you are applying the wallpaper, or they could pop up over time.

So, how can we avoid the dreaded wallpaper bubble? The first step, according to Murals Wallpaper, is to 'make sure you’re using plenty of paste when applying, as if you don’t use enough, it will dry up and cause bubbles.'

See also: Bedroom wallpaper ideas: 15 ways to add personality to your space

Preparation is also incredibly important, so you need to make sure that your wall is smooth before getting stuck in. Get rid of any bits of old plaster, dirt or paint and ensure you’ve removed any nails or screws, and filled in cracks. Otherwise, they could cause issues later down the line. It's best to remove socket and switch covers, and sand down any rough areas. Use a sponge to clean the wall and let it dry for 24 hours.

wrought iron bed in bedroom decorated with william morris wallpaper

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

See also: 12 living room wallpaper ideas to add style instantly

The final thing to remember is that the paste needs to be applied to wallpaper panels and given time to absorb the adhesive, and then it will expand. If wallpaper isn’t given enough time (around 2 to 5 minutes is fine) to absorb the paste, it will expand on the wall, which in turn can make bubbles.

The key thing therefore is to take your time

Floral wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Warner House)

Once it’s up, it might be up for many years to come, so it’s absolutely worth slowing down and paying close attention to the surface of your walls, being liberal with the paste and leaving enough time for the wallpaper to absorb it.

Millie joined Real Homes in early 2021 as a homes news writer. When she isn't writing about trends, makeovers and houseplant care, she spends her free time making tweaks to her rented flat in North London. Her next project is a very basic armchair reupholstering job to help create a cosy reading nook in her living room. She loves browsing antique centres, tending to her small front garden, and is never without some fresh flowers at home.