Can you wallpaper over wallpaper? Three tips for perfect wallpaper

This Morning: Expert shares tips on wallpapering and wall cracks

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When the first lockdown hit in the UK at the start of 2020, sales of paints and wallpaper rose by more than 20 percent as everyone took the time to do up their homes. This trend still isn’t over, with lots of Brits still working from home and keen to create the perfect living and working space through DIY. Wallpaper is an amazing way to transform a room with very little effort, but can you wallpaper over wallpaper? Or do you have to start from scratch? chatted to Abby Hesketh, Product Manager and Paint & Colour Specialist at Graham & Brown to find out. Can you wallpaper over wallpaper?

Can you wallpaper over wallpaper?

If you’re not too fond of the wallpaper that’s already on your wall and want to switch it for something more to your taste, you’re probably wondering if there’s a shortcut.

Stripping the wallpaper, sanding down and fixing any bumps in the wall and applying the adhesive can take a little time.

In theory, wallpapering over wallpaper would save time, but it’s not the best option.

If you’re tempted to dive straight into hanging your new wallpaper on top of the existing wallpaper, wait!

Abby explained: “How well this will work entirely depends on the type of wallpaper that has been used on the wall.

“If it is flat or doesn’t have vinyl or a textured surface, it can be done because the existing wallpaper can act as a type of lining paper.

“However, it is sometimes hard to tell so we would always recommend removing the wallpaper first.”

It is much wiser to strip the wallpaper first and start fresh, Abby said.

She explained: “All our wallpapers, and many on the market are “paste the wall”.

“This means they are fully removable, just peel from the bottom and off it comes, generally in one strip!

“This leaves a pretty clean surface to work with – certainly a lot easier than using a steamer and scraper!”

Three tips for the perfect wallpaper

Paste the wall wallpaper

For the easiest application, always look for ‘paste the wall’ wallpaper.

Abby said: “This means it has a special backing which doesn’t expand when wet.

“This means, unlike traditional wallpaper you don’t need to soak it and then paste can go straight on the wall so there’s no need for a pasting table, cutting decorating time in half.

“Wallpaper hangs dry from the roll so it’s easier to cut (unlike cutting wet paper!) and easy to remove when you fancy a change.”


The most important piece of advice is to put time and energy into preparing your surface.

Abby said: “Fill in any imperfections, sand the surface and clean the wall with sugar soap or detergent.

“A clean, dry and sound surface is the key to a flawless finish.

“For fresh plaster and new builds, remember to ‘size’ the wall – this means make up a diluted solution of paste and liberally apply to the walls being decorated and let it dry.

“This will be absorbed into the porous plaster and will stop the paste from being absorbed when it is applied.”

Go bold

You really can’t beat the impact of statement wallpaper, according to Abby, so don’t be afraid to think out of the box.

Abby said: “Available in a wide range of designs, colours and textures, wallpapers add both personality and style to your home.”

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