How to wallpaper a corner – 5 steps for getting pro results

Discover how to wallpaper around corners with our simple, step-by-step guide

Wallpaper
(Image credit: Alamy)

Wallpapering a corner requires a whole new level of skill than just tackling a flat wall. Precise cornering isn't difficult, but it does require certain techniques and know-how to get right. 

Ideally, you’ll have mastered how to wallpaper a flat wall, starting with the first wallpaper length 20in (50cm) from the left-hand corner of the wall, and keeping going until you reach the righthand corner of the wall. Once there, our step-by-step instructions below for how to wallpaper a corner will be vital to realizing your wallpaper ideas

How to wallpaper a corner

As you approach a corner, measure the distance to the corner from the last piece of hung wallpaper and add on 1in (2.5cm) to allow for an overlap. Trim the next piece of wallpaper to this width, but don’t throw away the remaining cut paper. 

1. Hanging the trimmed wallpaper against the corner

‘Hanging wallpaper does not have to be complicated,’ says Kirsty Mole, Decorative Home Category Manager at B&Q (opens in new tab). ‘Position the trimmed piece carefully from the top, and once you’re happy, hang it, using a wallpaper smoothing tool or brush to smooth it towards and into the corner.’ The excess wallpaper will overlap onto the adjoining wall. Trim the paper at the top and bottom in the usual way. 

2. Set a plumb line for the adjacent wall

Although you could live a whole life under the illusion that walls are straight and at right angles any self-respecting tradesperson will tell you (at tedious length), that’s not the case. So you’ll need to set a plumb line again on the new wall. Measure the width of your wallpaper offcut. Now measure this distance from the corner and make a mark high up on the wall. To find the vertical, use a weight attached to a length of string and hold it against the mark. Now use the string as a guide to make marks at intervals on the wall with a pencil. 

3. Hang wallpaper on the adjacent wall 

This is easy. Simply hang the offcut against the plumb line and it should fit neatly into the corner, overlapping the first piece. Now you’re done but there is a neater way the professionals tackle it. ‘For a professional finish you should take a knife, such as a Stanley knife, with an extremely sharp, fresh blade and using a steel straight edge cut the papers where they overlap,’ says James Greenwood, Wallpaper Specialist at Graham & Brown (opens in new tab). ‘Remove any excess from the top paper, then peel the top paper back and remove the excess from the bottom paper. Now push the top paper down and it should match and meet perfectly with the bottom paper, joining like two regular wallpaper seams.’

4. Tackling an external corner

If you come up against an external corner, cut the wallpaper to fit as for an internal corner, allowing for an overlap in the same way. Smooth the wallpaper into place around the corner. Just as for internal corners, you’ll need to make a new plumb line on the adjacent wall before continuing. 

5. Wallpaper the corner of a chimneybreast 

If the wall has a fireplace, this is the focal point and is the place to start, placing the first piece of wallpaper on the chimneybreast centrally and working outwards. ‘This ensures the design is centred and aligns well with the focal point,’ says James. As you reach the external corner, smooth the paper onto the fireplace wall and make a cut at the top of the wallpaper where it meets the corner, so that you can ease the paper around the corner. Smooth it into place. ‘The wrapped portion may not hang ‘true’ but the overlap will not be in sight.’ Cut a new piece to complete the reveal, allowing an overlap for the internal corner.

Do you overlap wallpaper in corners?

When wallpapering an inside or outside corner, wrap no more than an inch around the corner. Then, with the next drop, overlap the piece you have wrapped around the corner with the next drop by 1⁄2 an inch.

Lola Houlton
Contributing Editor

Lola Houlton is H&G's long-term intern. Currently student of Psychology at the University of Sussex, she began writing content for Real Homes around the subjects of children's and teenagers' bedroom, in particular covering the psychology of teens and their approach to tidiness. From there, Lola expanded her knowledge of a broad range of subjects and now writes about everything from organization through to house plants while continuing her studies.