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How to use wallpaper to enhance your interior spaces

With the incredibly stylish range of prints and easy-hang systems available today, wallpaper is a fantastic option for transforming and elevating the spaces in your home. “What I love about wallpaper is it’s a great tool to personalise a space,” says Resene Colour Expert Amy Watkins. “You can easily apply it and it’s your own work of art.” Once you’ve made the decision to use wallpaper, there are some considerations that need to be made to achieve the most effective results – especially when pairing wallpaper with paint. “The first step is to choose your Resene wallpaper,” explains Watkins. “It’s easier to choose a complementary paint colour than the other way around.”


Identify the overall atmosphere and mood you’re hoping to achieve in your space – this is a vital part in selecting your wallpaper. Ask yourself some prompting questions: Do you want a modern, industrial look? A bold statement piece? Or a more intimate, softer environment?

Depending on the atmosphere you’re wanting to create, this will define the type of paint colour pairing. For example, if you want a bold statement piece, take one of the highlighting tones from the wallpaper and choose a corresponding Resene paint colour to create a complementary effect. 


habitat plus Wallpaper is a fantastic tool for inspiration – you can collect a copy from your local Resene ColorShop. This booklet provides advice on how to choose wallpaper, the types available and how to hang it. It also showcases current trends – botanic prints, florals, metallic finishes, graphic prints, oversized designs and murals, the classics, fun looks and personalised art prints.  

Another fantastic option is to meet with a Resene Colour Consultant to further flesh out your ideas and overall vision. They are a wealth of knowledge and are always available to point you in the right direction. You can book a colour consultation at your local Resene ColorShop or online.

Resene wallpaper books

If you’ve fallen in love with a Resene wallpaper but are unsure how it will look in your space, the Resene team is happy to lend out most Resene wallpaper books so you can physically see how it will appear in your home. Once you’ve finalised your selection, the Resene team can order in a wallpaper sample for you for most collections.

Resene FX Metallic Wallpaper Collection

This wallpaper collection comes in the full colour range of the Resene FX Metallic paint range – the wallpaper has been screen printed with Resene FX Metallic paint, so it’s the perfect match to anything you paint with the same paint!

Calculating the amount of wallpaper required

Figuring out how much wallpaper you will need can be tricky and will depend on the size of the room, the amount of windows and the length of the pattern repeat. Most rolls are 52-53cm wide, and in most designs there are roughly three drops from ceiling to floor per roll. 

The chart below can give you a general idea of how to calculate your wallpaper requirements, but it’s best to seek guidance from a Resene ColorShop expert to make sure you order enough.

Helpful hint: If you’re looking for a flawless metallic finish on your walls, the Resene FX Metallic Wallpaper has all the painting done for you. Simply paste the wall and hang!

Remember the golden rule is to always order more than you think you need. Wallpaper designs are updated frequently, and old designs are sometimes discontinued, so ensure you have an extra roll or more stored away in case you need to replace any wallpaper in your room at a future date.

Preparing to paper

The list below includes everything you’ll need to prepare your room before you start wallpapering:

  • Drop cloths 
  • Resene Waterborne Sureseal pigmented sealer
  • Wallpaper size
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Paint tray 
  • Roller 
  • Extension pole 
  • Straight edge tool
  • Craft knife
  • Rubber roller

Hanging wallpaper

Wallpapering is easy once you get the hang of it. Here’s a summary of the key steps involved:

  • Always work from the side of the wall that is most visible and has the most amount of light, and work along the wall until you reach the most inconspicuous area.
  • Measure the vertical length of the wall and measure your first piece of wallpaper to this length, allowing an overhang of at least 10cm.
  • Using a pencil and a plumbline, mark the width of the wallpaper roll by making a straight line down the wall. This will help you to line up the first piece of wallpaper.
  • Use a wallpaper roller to apply a thick amount of wallpaper paste to the wall (about 1-2mm thick).
  • Smooth the wallpaper onto the wall using a rubber roller to remove any bubbles.
  • Use a straight-edge tool and a sharp knife to trim the excess paper at the top and bottom of the wall.
  • Remember to take your time and be patient.  Wallpaper is much more forgiving than you think.

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