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Where To Start Wallpapering Guide

Where to start wallpapering in a room can often cause DIY enthusiasts headaches, but you can ease your mind without reaching for those headache tablets, by following a few simple rules when it comes to that all important question, wallpapering where to start.

Before making the decision on where to start wallpapering, including the best starting point, it is important to note that this can be dependent on the size and type of pattern of your chosen wallpaper.

Large Patterned Wallpaper

With any large pattern or motif it may well require centralising the pattern on the most prominent wall in the room, which is normally one containing a chimney breast.

Small Patterned Wallpaper

With a very small pattern, centralising the wallpaper design is not normally required.

If your wallcovering any room or lounge with a fireplace, or mantelpiece, and the wallpaper has a large regular motif, centre the first length over the fireplace for symmetry, and work away from that.



You may like to read our article how to wallpaper a chimney breast for a more detailed explanation as there are couple of methods you can apply.

If the room has windows, and your wallpapering around windows, and again, you have a large motif or pattern you could also centre this first length between the two windows, but it is important to check to see if it means you will be left with narrow strips each side of the wall, in which case it's better to butt two lengths on a centre line.

wallpapering around windows
wallpapering around windows
how to wallpaper around windows
how to wallpaper around windows

Below are two of the most common room shapes, showing the main principles you may apply when deciding where to start wallpapering.


How to wallpaper a room

In a simple rectangular or square room with a small-patterned paper, always look to begin close to a corner, whilst never using the corner itself as a true vertical guideline.

  • Hang the first piece of wallpaper close to the corner, leaving perhaps half a width to hang to the left depending on if you are right or left handed (see below).
  • Continue all the way around the room until you get back to the first corner.
  • The join is therefore made along the corner with the final piece being the half hang to the left of your first length.

Note that right handed people are best wallpapering clockwise around the room (as shown), as they tend to trim the paper from left to right i.e. from the edge of the last hung length across to the one just hung. Left handed people may therefore find it easier to go anti-clockwise, as they will normally trim from right to left.


Wallpapering a room with a chimney breast

Where to start wallpapering a room with a chimney breast can be treated in much the same way as a normal square room if your pattern doesn’t require centralising. However, for a large pattern that requires centralising, we would recommend starting as explained below.

  • Centralise your pattern using the central vertical guideline of the chimney breast as your starting point.
  • Continue around the external corner to the right of the first length, and into the internal corner.
  • Continue around the external corner to the left of the first length, and into the internal corner.
  • Paper all around the room finishing in the internal corner to the left of the chimney breast.

Wallpapering Tips Where To Start

Joining in an internal corner is normally the best option as your eye doesn’t pick up the inevitable pattern discrepancy in a corner as it would if the join was in the middle of a wall.

Choose your joining corner according to whether it is the most inconspicuous in the room. For example, in a room that is square, the corner that is behind where the door opens is a good option, and where there is a chimney breast the internal corner next to it is ideal.

Both above examples necessitate having a join between where the wallpaper starts and finishes. If no such join is necessary, in a room that has a floor to ceiling bookcase for example, then you are best off starting to one side of the bookcase and finishing around to the other side.

Please review some of our other guides in particular how to wallpaper a room which shows a photographic step-by-step sequence of working your way around a room.

We have more information about centralising patterns, as shown in our guide how to wallpaper a chimney breast, and contains a few more detailed points on where to start wallpapering.