How To Wallpaper Around Obstacles

Once you’ve covered the basics of how to apply wallpaper, it’s time to learn about the dreaded task of wallpapering around obstacles. 

Wallpapering around windows, sockets, and fireplaces is notoriously awkward for any DIY designer, as these unavoidable areas are fiddly and require much more attention.

To avoid ruining your hard work, it’s important to properly prepare for the task to ensure you perfect the finish and complete a seamless makeover. 

Follow our step-by-step guide as we explore how to wallpaper around obstacles, so you can execute a quick and easy project and see your vision quickly come to life.

Table of Contents

  1. How to wallpaper around windows
  2. How to wallpaper around corners
  3. How to wallpaper around sockets and light switches
  4. How to wallpaper behind a radiator
  5. How to wallpaper around fireplaces

How to wallpaper around windows

If your window is the room’s focal point, start your wallpapering there. 

When wallpapering around windows, use paste-the-wall wallpaper instead of paste-the-paper, especially if this is your first time, as wet wallpaper may rip more easily.

  1. Hang your paper from the top of the wall to the bottom, allowing the paper to hang over the window and smooth down the paper on the wall.
  2. Use your scissors to cut horizontally at the top of the window recess and the bottom so you’re left with a flap of wallpaper that you can fold inwards along the vertical side of the recess.
  3. Paste this flap to the wall and trim where it meets the window. This will leave a gap on the overhang to be filled in later. If your window has a deep recess, you may need to cut off another piece of paper to fill the space, ensuring the pattern matches up. 
  4. Hang the second drop of wallpaper next to the first above the window, ensuring the pattern matches up. Fold it into the overhang and trim it where it meets the window.
  5. To fill in the gap left in step 2, use an offcut of paper, ensuring the pattern matches up and paste it over the paper above the recess, folding it into the overhang. Cut through the two layers of wallpaper vertically to the corner of the window and remove the underneath piece stuck to the wall. Reapply the new strip and fold it to cover the overhang. Trim any excess paper where it meets the window frame.
  6. Continue to wallpaper around the window, repeating the steps, then wallpaper underneath the window, keeping the right pattern alignment to finish it off. 
Infographic on how to wallpaper around a window

How to wallpaper around corners

Wallpapering around a corner can be fiddly, but a few simple steps will ensure it looks seamless.

  1. Measure the difference from the corner to the previous strip of wallpaper. Measure at the top and bottom of the wall; if the measurements are different, use the larger one. 
  2. Measure the width on the wallpaper, adding one cm so you can wallpaper around the corner and mark it with a pencil. Cut the strip.
  3. Glue and attach the strip edge to edge with the previous piece of wallpaper and press firmly all the way down. Smooth it out and make sure it attaches properly in the corner.
  4. Hang the next strip, overlapping the corner piece of wallpaper, to get it as close to the corner as possible. Make sure that the strip is straight and the pattern is aligned.
Infographic on how to wallpaper around corners

How to wallpaper around sockets and light switches

Take care when wallpapering around sockets and light switches, and ensure that the electricity is turned off before starting your project. 

  1. Turn off the electricity at the switch and loosen the switch fascia, so there is a slight gap between the switch and the wall.
  2. Hang the paper from the top of the wall and allow it to hang over the switch. 
  3. Find the centre of the switch and insert the scissors to make a diagonal cut. Cut from the centre to each corner of the switch.
  4. Gently smooth the paper into place so you can feel the edges of the switch and cut around the edges, leaving an overlap and tuck the edges under the switch.
  5. Smooth the paper and tighten the screws back up.
Infographic on how to wallpaper around sockets and switches

How to wallpaper behind a radiator

Remove the radiator from the wall if possible, as this will make the process easier and give you a complete finish. If it is impossible to remove the radiator, switch it off and ensure it’s cool before you start. 

  1. After removing the radiator, make a note of the position of the radiator brackets by using a ruler to pencil on the wall, marking where the top and bottom of the brackets are. 
  2. Hang the wallpaper as normal from the top of the wall and allow it to drape over the top of the radiator. 
  3. Cut a panel out of the wallpaper using the pencil markings on the wall. This will help the wallpaper drop to fit around the bracket.
  4. Tuck the wallpaper behind the radiator and smooth it down with a roller.

Be sure to sponge any paste off the radiator before it dries and wallpaper at the bottom of the wallpaper if the wall is visible.

Infographic on how to wallpaper around radiators

How to wallpaper around fireplaces

Wallpapering around fireplaces can be a fiddly job, especially depending on how ornate the design of the mantlepiece is. 

If your paste dries while working out the cutouts, reapply the paste to the wall instead of the paper for the best result. 

  1. Hang the paper from the top of the wall and drape it over the fireplace. Cut a line in the waste paper covering the fireplace towards the corner of the mantelshelf. 
  2. Smooth down the wallpaper and mark the outline of the fireplace using the back of a scissor blade.
  3. Peel a little of the wallpaper away from the wall so you can cut along the marked outline more easily.
  4. Smooth the wallpaper in place all around the fireplace, pushing the paper into awkward corners and trim to neaten the edges.
Infographic on how to wallpaper around fireplaces

Get your wallpaper project started

Now that you’re ready to get started on your wallpaper project with all the knowledge you need to execute a seamless finish, it’s time to pick out your stylish new wallpaper.

With popular animal print, art deco, wood panel, marble effect and exclusive designs from top brands like Versace and Graham and Brown, bring your design dreams to life with Wallpaper Shop.


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