How to wallpaper corners: A DIY guide to getting it right

Person putting up patterned wallpaper in bedroom
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Every room has a corner – or four – and knowing how to wallpaper corners means that you can match them up with the rest of the wall. Afterall, no-one wants a flat, beautifully wallpapered wall spoilt by crinkly corners.

However, it's not just corners you need to master, you need to know how to wallpaper all areas so that you can combine with corners to get a flawless finish. Here we give you the know-how to wallpaper inner and outer corners. 

How to wallpaper corners: A step-by-step for inner corners

Inner corners are where two interior walls meet in the corner of the room. Here, we set out how to get this right for a good finish.

1. Measure up 

If you can't put a full drop of wallpaper in a corner (which is often the case unless you are starting your wallpapering in the corner), then make sure you have a tape measure to hand.

“When approaching a corner, measure the width to ensure that your piece of wallpaper is at least 3 cm wider, so that it overlaps onto the adjoining wall,” explains Chelsea Clark, Head of Brand at wallpaper brand I Love Wallpaper

2. Paste and hang 

Use a pasting table if you are pasting your wallpaper, if not paste the wall with a roller before hanging. 

“Hang the drop as normal”, advises Clark, “then using a brush or wallpaper smoothing tool, smooth it towards the corner and trim off the excess wallpaper that overlaps onto the adjoining wall, ensuring your cut line is straight. Trim any access from the top and bottoms of the drop as normal.”

3. Keep it straight

With one side of a corner complete you need to to make sure that the next drop matches up and is straight as Clark explains: “Set up a plumb line on the adjoining wall and hang the offcut against this line, matching the pattern as best as possible, this should fit neatly into the corner with a slight overlap.” 

How to wallpaper outer corners 

Hanging wallpaper on outer corners is similar to inner corners with a subtle difference. When you have less than a full width drop towards the corner you need to measure the distance but leave a bigger overlap — typically 40-50mm. (This is typically a technique used when wallpapering a chimney breast.) 

If you try to wrap the whole drop around a corner, you will typically find that its difficult to get rid of wrinkles, spoiling a neat-looking finish. And its unlikely that the other edge of the wallpaper will be straight, which it needs so you can continue wallpapering. 

What corner do you start wallpapering first? 

You want to start in a corner that doesn’t have any obstacles, such as a window frame, door frame or light switches, in the way, if possible. 

This allows you to do a complete uninterrupted drop which will give you a nice straight edge to butt up against when you put up the next drop. Start about a third of a roll away from the corner.  

Do you overlap wallpaper in corners? 

Yes you do. Why? Inner and outer corners on internal walls are very rarely completely straight as Clark explains: “Walls and corners are rarely straight, so it's important when wallpapering any corner to ensure your drops remain vertical and parallel to the other drops.”

If you cut in flush to a corner rather than overlapping there is a very good chance that when the wallpaper dries you will be left with a gap exposing the wall underneath. This is why overlapping is important, especially if using patterned wallpaper.

However, if you are hanging lining paper or a patterned wallpaper like Anaglypta that is going to be painted you can cut the paper flush into the corners if you want. If there are any small gaps left they will be hidden by paint.  

What can go wrong when wallpapering corners? 

One of the big problems with wallpapering corners is that you need to leave an overlap to ensure that you get a clean finish. But with thick and vinyl wallpapers getting the overlap to stick can be difficult.

You can use an extra strong paste and a seam roller to put the overlap in place. However, if it does lift you can use a wallpaper repair adhesive like Solvite Overlap & Border from Amazon.

Another solution is to wipe off any excess paste, dry with a clean dry cloth and use painter's tape to hold down the overlap until the paste is dry. This is time-consuming but effective if needed.  

If anything does go wrong as a last resort you can start removing the wallpaper and start again.  

Steve Jenkins

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.