Peel and stick wallpaper has taken off in recent years, becoming the wall treatment of choice for many homeowners. It’s an easy process to follow, too, but it does require you to prep your walls properly before you start putting the paper on them. If you want your wall covering to the last long-term, these steps will ensure you’re ready to put it up smoothly and easily every time.

Picking out peel and stick wallpaper for your home

There are hundreds of custom wallpaper for walls products out there to choose from, but peel and stick are one of my favorites. It can transform a bland or dated room in just an afternoon. Before choosing peel and stick wallpaper for your home, it’s important to ensure that your walls are ready for it.

Use pre-mixed joint compound to patch any holes or cracks in your wall surface before starting your peel and stick project. This will allow you to fill any holes without leaving any texture behind when you’re done.

The less texture on your wall, the smoother and easier it will be to apply your tropical wallpaper. Be sure not to sand down areas that were patched too aggressively, as removing too much material could cause damage during the installation of your new paper product.

Prep your walls with a primer

If you want your peel and stick wallpaper to last, then you need to prep your walls properly. There are several steps you should take to ensure that your wall is ready for a primer. When looking for a primer, make sure it’s designed specifically for use with vinyl wall coverings; some primers can harm more traditional materials.

Once you’ve selected your primer, apply a single coat before proceeding with paper installation—be sure not to get any on flooring or trim. Make sure that your surface is dust-free and washable before applying in order to ensure optimal results. Be sure that you follow instructions exactly when applying so that nothing interferes with adhesion later on.

Prep your walls with an adhesive roller

The first step to applying any type of wall covering is preparing your walls. If you’re going with a peel and stick option, like our collection of Glue Dots® Designer wallpaper, start by using an adhesive roller to smooth out a generous layer of water-based, low odor adhesive over your surface.

Just remember not to paint directly onto your walls, otherwise, you’ll create drips that could cause damage or discoloration down the road. Let it dry completely before proceeding with the installation. When in doubt, read your product instructions.

After allowing enough time for the glue to set (following manufacturer instructions), apply a thin layer of glue on top of your wallpaper: After making sure that both surfaces are clean and free from dust, simply run another thin coat of adhesive along the top edge.

While many customers think they can skip prepping their walls if they are applying straight to concrete or brick (or any other non-porous surface), we strongly recommend giving all surfaces a light spritz with an all-purpose cleaner and letting them dry completely before installing paper on top. This will ensure that when you remove your wallcovering later on down the line, there won’t be too much residue left behind on either side.

Cut your wall borders with scissors

Once you’ve chosen and bought your wall border, it’s time to apply it. There are a couple of different ways to go about applying peel and stick wallpaper depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, how intricate your pattern is, and what kind of room you’re decorating.

If possible, start in a bathroom or hallway where walls rarely get a too close inspection—even imperfect edges are unlikely to be noticed in these rooms. Begin with completely clean, dry walls—you don’t want any dirt or moisture interfering with adhesion.

The key part of actually applying to peel and sticking wallpaper borders lies in using enough force but not too much pressure when pressing out air bubbles from behind your tape. You need to work quickly so that paint doesn’t have time to dry, but also carefully so that you don’t tear your border.

If your pattern has straight lines, then aligning them accurately is crucial for a professional-looking finish. To do so, use a leveler or make marks along each line with a pencil as you install each strip. You can also use a leveler (or just eye-ball it) to ensure that all strips are perfectly horizontal/vertical.

Apply the wall border to your walls

One of your first tasks is to measure out and apply a border to your walls. This will serve as an attractive frame for your wallpaper, but it also serves another purpose: It’ll make your job a lot easier.

In case you’re not familiar with how to hang peel-and-stick wallpaper, here’s how: Start by making sure that your walls are clean and smooth; make any repairs now (patching holes and cracks, etc.).

Next, grab a friend or two (it’ll go faster if you have some help). Spread out sheets of newspaper on the floor. Working in small sections at a time (about 15 feet), roll out your wallpaper so that it touches both sides of each section of the wall.