How to wallpaper a feature wall, with Graham & Brown

The stalwarts of any decorating scheme, start your search with a little insider knowledge to truly get the best out of the new collections.

Extended time at home has encouraged many of us to embark on projects to refresh our homes and improve the space we live in. Whether it's renovating the kitchen or tidying up the garden, recent research commissioned by Graham & Brown found that 86% of those surveyed have undertaken a new DIY task during lockdown.

feature wall

Painting or wallpapering can drastically transform interiors and online searches for wallpaper-related information increased by over 22% between March and April 2020, Graham & Brown also noted a significant increase in wallpaper sold online during the same time period. However, not everyone seems confident with the practicalities as many looked to the internet for guidance, resulting in a significant 124% increase in searches for 'how to wallpaper'.


Jody Hudson, Stylist and James Hughes, In-House Decorator at Graham & Brown have compiled a step-by-step guide to wallpapering a feature wall to make reinvigorating your room a breeze.


A feature wall can define a space, so choose your wall wisely. In open-plan homes this can be used to indicate different zones, such as a dining area within a combined kitchen-dining space. Feature walls are also a brilliant way to highlight existing architectural features so let them be your guide; chimney breasts and the walls behind headboards make for interesting focal points. Avoid creating a feature wall in an already crowded environment as this will simply feel cluttered and chaotic – the wall should be the centre of interest, without struggling for attention amongst competing elements.

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Adding a feature wall to a room is a great way to inject colour and personality, but the entire room doesn't have to be bold and bright to make a statement. A neutral palette can be enlivened with an accent wall displaying a contrasting texture or pattern. At Graham & Brown each wallpaper has been paired with four co-ordinating paint shades, so whether you are matching the paint to the colours of the wallpaper or creating a contrast, picking your partner paint is simple.

feature wall ideas

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Preparing your walls is a quick and easy but essential part of the wallpapering process. First, start by removing any grease, dust, or dirt with a damp sponge – a sugar soap solution works especially well but you can use washing-up liquid and warm water too. Be sure to remove any residue of your chosen solution with clean water. Fill in any small cracks or holes with filler, and once dry lightly sand the area until smooth. If your wall still doesn't seem smooth, apply lining paper.

feature wall

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  • As a starting point, measure 50cm from the left-hand corner of the wall you are about to decorate and make a pencil mark. Using this mark, draw a plumb line using either a plumb-bob or spirit level. A plumb line is a vertical straight line, from which you will hang the first drop of wallpaper against and ensure it is hangs straight down; the first drop is key as all others will align to it.
  • Apply wallpaper paste directly to the wall, for speed a paint-roller is ideal. Paste over the plumb line and make sure you apply the paste a couple of centimetres wider than the wallpaper you are about to hang; this means you can hang the second drop of wallpaper without worrying about applying paste over the first.
  • Use a paint brush to add paste at the top of the wall, around any sockets, and just above the skirting. This will ensure even coverage in difficult areas and avoid the wallpaper lifting when dry.

feature wall

  • The wallpaper can then be hung dry, straight from the roll. Use a ladder to reach the ceiling or coving, and allow about 2-3cm of extra product at the top. As you hang from the roll, lightly brush the wallpaper into place until you reach the skirting board at which point you can lightly push the paper to the wall. Ensure that the paper is in the correct position then brush down the paper with a smoothing brush from the centre to the edges of the roll. Cut the excess paper at the top and bottom with a knife or wallpaper scissors.
  • For the second drop, look to see the point at which the design fits together along the edges of the wallpaper. Starting at the top, match the paper as you hang it dry from the roll, lightly brushing the paper to the wall as you go, the paper will slide into place on the paste. When you get to the bottom of the wall, double-check that the pattern matches, and there are no gaps. If there are bubbles, or mismatches, just loosely pull the paper back and brush it back down - the paper is forgiving!
  • Repeat until you have covered your wall. Don’t worry about taking breaks or pausing for the night. You can pick up wherever you left off – just make sure to reapply the paste