10 Wallpaper Mistakes To Avoid

Are You Making One of These 10 DIY Wallpaper Mistakes?

Common Wallpaper Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Let’s face it, installing your own wallpaper or wall mural can be a daunting task. The best advice for a successful first-time or anytime installation is to read the installation directions closely. Heck, after you’re done, you may even want to read them again. But for some additional hints and insights, why not check out the top 10 do-it-yourself wallpaper installation mistakes?

1. How to Measure Walls Correctly

Before you even place the order for your new wallpaper or wall mural, it’s important to know the size of your space. Whether you’re planning to do a single feature wall or wrap all four sides of a room, your approach will be similar.


To measure your wall, you will need a measuring tape, along with a pen and paper. First, measure the width of your wall from left to right. Include any openings such as doors or windows—these will be trimmed away after installation. If you’re covering multiple walls, add the individual widths together. Write the width of your wall(s) down on a piece of paper.

Next, measure your wall from top to bottom; if you have crown molding or baseboard, do not include these in your measurement. Write down the height of your wall. It’s always a good idea to measure twice, just to be sure.

At Murals You Way we add two inches of bleed to both the width and the height of your mural or wallpaper in case your walls aren’t perfectly square.

2. Why Wallpaper Forms Bubbles

Bubbles can form under the surface of your mural a few different ways, but each of these causes is preventable with the proper installation technique. In all instances, bubbles form due to the mural unsuccessfully bonding to the wall surface. This can happen shortly after installation, or over time.


First and foremost, don’t skip prepping your walls prior to installation. This includes everything from sanding down gloss paint, waiting the correct amount of time after applying primer, and cleaning dust and debris from your surface. Prepping walls correctly will be discussed further in Mistake 3.

Another likely cause for bubbles is an issue with paste. No one wants wallpaper paste oozing out of the seams, but too little paste can cause premature drying, which allows bubbles to develop. Be sure you also allot enough time for your mural to book properly. Booking is discussed further in Mistake 4.

Whoops! Have bubbles already started to form under your mural’s surface? Check out our article about how to remove wallpaper bubbles for step-by-step instructions for an easy fix.

3. How to Prep Walls Correctly

To prepare your walls correctly for our Prepasted Wallpaper, Eco Bella™️ - Texture, or Vinyl HD – Texture materials, you can either dull glossy surfaces by sanding the paint or apply a heavy-duty primer to the wall surface. If you choose to sand the paint to dull, remove the dust with a dry cloth afterward. If you decide to apply a primer, be sure to allow the primer to dry for at least 72 hours prior to installation.

To prepare your walls correctly for our SmartStick®️ Peel & Stick material, prime and paint your wall at least 30 days prior to installation. Also keep in mind that SmartStick®️ is not recommended for high moisture areas, automobile windows, near fireplaces, or above cribs.

Remember that for any material, dust and debris on your wall can create issues with your mural or wallpaper adhering to the wall surface and may result in bubbles or portions of the panel falling down. Cleaning your wall prior to installation is a crucial step in a successful installation.

For more installation on how to successfully prepare your walls for each material, go to our installation page for more information.

4. How to Book Wallpaper

“Booking wallpaper” is the process of allowing the paste to set on the back of the wallpaper material prior to installation. To book wallpaper, first apply an even coat of your heavy-duty adhesive to the entire back of the mural or wallpaper panel using a bristle brush or roller. Spread the adhesive across the panel in order to cover the back completely, especially near the edges. Next, fold each end toward the middle, with the pasted sides together. Make sure you align the edges so that they don’t dry out. Let the panel rest like this for ten minutes. The booking process allows the adhesive to penetrate the fabric backing of the material, ensuring a firm bond that will also prevent your seams from separating. Do not crease your booked material.

Looking for what to do next? You can reference our installation page for next steps and additional installation advise.

5. Problems with Paste

For mural materials that require paste, it’s important to strike a proper balance between too much and not enough. If you don’t apply enough adhesive, issues such as the bubbles discussed in Mistake 2. and the inability to adhere to the wall like in Mistake 4. can occur. Apply enough adhesive to cover each panel in an even coat. Areas with an insufficient amount of paste may dry earlier than the rest, also resulting in issues adhering to the wall surface.


On the other hand, too much adhesive can result in paste oozing between the seams. If there is excess paste, it is crucial to remove it immediately with clean, warm water and a moist natural sponge before it dries. Do not use man-made (i.e. polyester) sponges; these may leave debris on the mural. Dry with a clean cloth. If the excess paste is not removed prior to drying the surface of the mural or wallpaper may be permanently damaged.

If you plan to double cut your mural seams, again be sure you remove any paste residue with clean, warm water and a natural sponge. Dry the area with a clean cloth. Double cutting is discussed further in Mistake 7.

6. Don’t Trim Too Early

All of our murals have an additional two inches added to their height and width which gives you some wiggle room in case your walls aren’t perfectly straight. It’s important to leave this bleed intact during the installation process. Trimming too early may result in gaps.

After you finish installing your mural, trim at the ceiling as well as the baseboard with a sharp razor blade and a straightedge. If the mural is larger than the width of your wall, cut along the corners or the edges of the wall, again using a straightedge as your guide. For the best results, make long cuts without lifting the blade.

7. Lining Up Your Seams

When you’re installing your mural, each panel will have two inches of overlap. Do not butt the panels up against each other. Instead, overlap the second panel with the first, matching up the image so that it appears seamless.

If you’re working with pasted materials such as our Eco Bella™️ - Texture, Vinyl HD - Texture, or Prepasted Wallpaper you will have the opportunity to gently reposition the mural by sliding it into the desired alignment. Repositioning works best if you work incrementally, properly lining up portions of the image from top to bottom before smoothing each section down. Be sure to remove exposed paste immediately from the mural surface once the panel is in place.

If you are working with our peel-and-stick Smartstick®️ material, it is again a good idea to work slowly and incrementally, lining up small portions of the mural from top to bottom before smoothing each portion into place. If you need to, you can peel off the panel and reattempt your alignment.

One your mural is installed you may notice that the overlap of the seam is visible, depending on the pattern and material you chose. If you want to remove this overlap, you can use a technique called “double-cutting.” To double-cut the seams of your mural, line up a straightedge directly in the middle of the seam, one inch from both edges of the overlap. Use a razor to cut the seam, repositioning the straightedge as needed. Once you’ve cut from top to bottom, gently peel away the top two layers of overlapped material.

Please note: do not attempt to double-cut the seams of a Prepasted Wallpaper mural as this may cause the material to separate.

For further instruction on how to properly double-cut a mural seam, read over our instructions on how to double-cut, or check out the video below.

8. How to Install Wallpaper on a Textured Wall

Although it’s not impossible, it can be tricky to install wallpaper on lightly textured walls or uneven surfaces. Due to the irregularities of the surface, the paste on the back of the mural may have difficulties adhering fully to the wall.


For the highest chance of success, smoothing out the texture of your walls is your best bet. One way to do this is to skim and sand the textured wall surface. Using a putty knife, apply a joint compound over the textured wall. Smooth the compound using up-and-down and side-to-side motions until the entire wall is filled and the surface is smooth. After allowing the wall to dry completely, use fine-grit sandpaper to sand down any remaining rough areas. Clean off dust and debris with a clean cloth before applying primer and sealer to the wall. Once completely dry, you can install your mural over this newly smoothed surface.

Alternately, you can create a smooth surface by installing lining paper first. Lining paper is installed similarly to wallpaper, but it is hung horizontally instead of vertically. This creates a stronger bond between the liner layer and the wallpaper layer, ensuring the wallpaper won’t lift off the wall. Lining paper takes less time than the skim and sand technique, and also works on a wide variety of surfaces including wood paneling, brick walls, and block walls.

For a more in-depth look at how to install wallpaper on textured walls, be sure to read our article about what wallpaper is best for textured walls.

9. Installing Wallpaper in High Moisture Areas

Wallpapers and wall murals can make a powerful impact on any room, so why let concerns over high humidity or condensation in areas like bathrooms limit your decorating potential? With the proper preparation and planning, wall murals and wallpapers can be successfully installed in high moisture areas.


For bathrooms, we recommend using our Vinyl HD – Texture material combined with MicroBloc Antimicrobial Topcoat. MicroBloc is a polyurethane topcoat that inhibits the growth of unwanted microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, mold, and mildew. For more information and advise on how to successfully install wallpaper or a wall mural in your bathroom, read our article about how to wallpaper a bathroom.

10. Will Removing Wallpaper Damage Your Walls?

One of the top concerns about wallpaper is its removal. The good news is that if you followed the proper surface preparation instructions prior to installation, removing your wallpaper or wall mural will be a breeze.


To removed our SmartStick®️ material, simply peel the panels off one by one. For pasted materials such as Eco Bella™️ - Texture, Vinyl HD - Texture, gently peel off each panel by slowly pulling one of the upper corners downwards at a 45-degree angle. For Prepasted Wallpaper, moisten the surface of the mural with a damp sponge to reactivate the paste before gently pulling off each panel, again at a 45-degree angle. For all of our pasted materials, clean up any water-soluble paste residue with a damp sponge.

Please note that if you double cut your seams and pressed down too hard, you may have cut into the surface of the wall itself, which may leave a line after mural or wallpaper removal.

For more information on how to remove our PrePasted wallpaper material, please watch the video below.

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