Often we think that the way to spruce up our spaces is by filling it with an excessive display of color and decorative pieces. Yet this is not to mean that good taste cannot be achieved using a minimalist approach. Wallpaper borders are an amazing way to highlight the decor of any part of your home; the den, kitchen, living room and even bathroom. It provides for an inexpensive alternative for wallpaper, takes less time and will definitely be less exhausting than wallpapering the entire room.

So how do you go about properly installing your excellent choice of wallpaper?

Prepare your working space

1. Select the area you want to hang the border.

The border can be put up right below the ceiling or crown molding or along the top or bottom third of the wall. You could also put it up halfway along the wall but some may argue that it makes space seem smaller.

2. Clean the area where you will hang the border

Cleanliness is only natural when it comes to maintaining the comfort and bliss of your home. Before you set up the wallpaper border though, you ought to take a few more extra steps.

Use soapy water and a sponge to thoroughly clean the surface you will work with. Remove every trace of hair, dust, mildew or any other particle. Allow the surface to dry properly.

If the wall is painted, consider sanding the working area. This will roughen the surface and help the wallpaper border to stick to the wall.

3. Deal with any defects on the wall

Cover holes or cracks and then sand them over to smooth them. Remember to clean and remove dust after this.

4. Mark the points where you want the border to hang

To achieve a perfect finish, you will need to employ all your skills of accuracy. You will need a measuring tape, a level and a pencil. If you will hang the border directly below the ceiling or crown molding, simply align

the border with the edge. For other positions, mark a line where you want the top or bottom of the border to be. The level will keep you from hanging the border crooked. 

5. Measure the lengths of the walls

Even though opposite walls may be seen to be uniform in length, they may actually differ slightly. Do not assume that they are equal. Measure every wall separately and note these measurements.

Use these to determine how many rolls of the border you will require. While buying, always account for the need to match the pattern together by having about 15-20% more than what the room actually requires.

6. Apply a wallpaper primer-sealer onto the working area

Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions so you do it right. Let it dry but do not go beyond a day before you have put up the border. Keep to the lines you marked out because the primer could stain the walls and we really wouldn’t want that now, would we?

Prepare the wallpaper border

1. Cut the border the length of one of the walls

As you do so, have a little extra paper for trimming on the ends. Roll the wallpaper in reverse into a loose tube shape in such a way that the adhesive faces outwards.

2. Prepare the wallpaper border

Pre-pasted wallpaper is the simplest to prepare and most commonly used. Soak the roll for about 30 seconds in warm water. Unpasted wallpaper on the other hand will need you to apply the appropriate paste. If you putting up the border on a wall that already has wallpaper, use a vinyl-to-vinyl paste. Stretch out the border and apply the paste generously onto the backside.

3. Book the wallpaper border

Slowly pull out the soaked wallpaper from the water, unfurling it as you do so. When you have pulled out about a metre from the water, fold it back upon itself with the pattern facing the outside. Continue this process, bringing the adhesive sides together until there are several folds like an accordion. Be careful and as gentle as possible so you do not crease any corners. This process is called booking. It keeps the paper moist, allowing it to activate the adhesive. Allow it to sit for a few minutes so the paper relaxes and expands.

Hang up the Wallpaper Border

1. Select the least conspicuous corner of the room and start there

Alternatively, start at the edge of the main door to make sure all the seams are even when the work is done. Unfold one end of the border and apply it to the wall, aligning it to the line you marked out. Let the edge of the wallpaper cover the corner and go into the next wall by about half an inch. Work slowly and carefully, keeping to the line.

Use a wallpaper brush to flatten the strip and smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles.

Take care that the border does not rotate slightly or become misaligned.

Continue this process until you reach the end of the wall. The paper should extend completely into the corner and onto the next wall. Trim the excess wallpaper on the next wall to about a quarter of an inch using a sharp knife or razor and a straight edge.

2. Repeat for all the walls

Prepare the next strip of paper as you did the first. Cut it so it will match the pattern on the first strip and have a bit of overlap. If necessary, trim the strip to ensure that the pattern is continuous. You’re aiming for a smooth finish.

Attach the new strip over the excess quarter inch of the previous border, using the line marked out to keep it straight. Trim off the top layer of the overlap, leaving the bottom layer intact.

Do this for all the walls in the same way.

3. Clean up as you go

Use a clean, damp sponge to wipe off the excess paste from the walls and the front side of the border as you work.

4. Enjoy the fruit of your labor

Finally, when all this is done, sit back and admire your work. You have earned it.

To give all this a visual here is a quick video detailing these steps

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