How much to wallpaper a room will very much depend on the redecorating route you chose to take. While hiring a professional is likely to cost significantly more, wallpapering is a job not every DIYer will want to attempt, especially if you have invested in some expensive, patterned wallpaper.
Knowing how to wallpaper is a good place to start if you do decide to go ahead on a DIY basis, but you still may need to invest in tools and wallpaper to get the job done. Here we give you a guide as to how much a professional might cost to hire (per day and per room) as well as how to work how many rolls of wallpaper you will need to help you calculate your overall costs.
How much to wallpaper a room: Quick guide to costs
As a general guideline it will cost around £150 a day for a decorator. Typically this is how long it will take to wallpaper a small room. However, if the room is using an intricate pattern and there are obstacles that need cutting around – fireplaces, windows, doors, electrical fittings, alcoves – the job could take longer.
A medium to large size room will obviously take longer than a small room. These could take a day and a half or two days, so expect to pay up to £300 for a medium to large room. A decorator will typically price up and give you a quote before you get started. Note this is for the labour only and assuming there is no or little preparation needed on the walls.
In addition you will typically need to purchase the wallpaper for the job, so don’t forget to add this on top of the labour costs.
Tackling wallpapering DIY
It is not beyond the realms of a competent DIYer to put up wallpaper. You will need to have the right tools such as a pasting table like this Wooden Hardboard Folding Pasting Table at Amazon. You will also need a few other tools including a long spirit level, a pasting brush, a wallpaper hanging brush, scissors, a bucket and a step ladder. If you don’t have any tools consider buying a kit like the Harris Taskmaster Complete Paper Hanging Kit for just under £25.
With all the right tools at your disposal make sure you check out our wallpaper hacks guide before you get started to help you get a great finish.
Removing wallpaper is an extra charge, again charged at the day rate. An average sized room should take around half a day, but you can save yourself a few quid and take on the job yourself by investing in a wallpaper steamer like this BLACK+DECKER Wallpaper Steamer Stripper at Amazon.
How much wallpaper will I need?
When you are buying wallpaper you need to make sure that you have enough to complete the job and there's no risk of being short. The common roll size for wallpaper is 10m (length) x 53cm (width), which means you can get four drops in a standard 2.4m high room. You may get three if using patterned wallpaper.
Three drops equals approximately 1.5m and four drops equals around two metres. So an average sized room with a 4m wall would need two or three rolls per wall. Obviously, a bigger room would need more rolls. A simple calculation is to measure a wall and divide by the total width of the drops. For example, 4m / 1.5m =2.6 – so you would need three rolls. Then add 10% for wastage or 15% for more intricate patterned paper.
But if you had a larger 6 metre wall and simple patterned wallpaper the calculation would be 6m / 2m = 3. So in this case you would need three rolls, but it would be safer to get four in case of any mistakes and to ensure full coverage and forgo the hassle of having to get another roll later on.
Also, don't forget to factor in windows and doors, especially windows as these often take up large areas of a wall. If unsure usean online wallpaper calculator like this one.
Once you have worked out how many rolls you need, you can work out the cost of the wallpaper. Decent patterned paper is anything from £20 a roll, while textured wallpaper like Anaglypta is £10-£20 a roll. Lining paper and woodchip is around £5-£10 a roll.
Is it cheaper to paint or wallpaper a room?
Typically it is cheaper to paint a room than wallpaper. But this will depend on the current condition of the walls. If you have smooth new plaster it's definitely worth considering painting. Check out our How much paint do I need? guide to help calculate what you will need.
But as a rough guide a 10 litre tub of emulsion will cover around 15m2, so you should only need one or two tubs of paint which will cost around £50.
If you want a texture or pattern then you will need to wallpaper. But, before you start wallpapering new plaster you will need to seal the walls.
Can I paint over wallpaper?
If you are hanging expensive patterned wallpaper you won’t be painting over it. But if you are hanging less expensive plain or plain patterned paper you will probably want to paint it.
These commonly include woodchip which is a cheap way to hide uneven walls, lining paper provides a pattern free finish and the well-known Anaglypta brand is a good choice for a textured finish. Once hung and dry it is simply a matter of following the steps for painting a wall.
Get the Homebuilding & Renovating Newsletter
Bring your dream home to life with expert advice, how to guides and design inspiration. Sign up for our newsletter and get two free tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show (21-24 March, NEC, Birmingham).
Steve is Homebuilding & Renovating's DIY content editor, and has been a writer and editor for two decades. He is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating homes. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has strong all-round building skills, having previously worked in the industry for 10 years.