The Cost To Wallpaper a Room

All you need to know about the costs associated with wallpapering a room including materials, labour and time frames.

wallpapering a room

What the job entails

Wallpapering is not as popular as it used to be, since the 1990's painting walls has become more popular in the UK but recently wallpapering has started to come back into fashion. Wallpapering is quite labour intensive and the amount of work involved will vary depending on the condition of the walls and of course the size of the room. If the walls are already wallpapered, then usually this will need to be stripped off using a steamer and a scraper, but sometimes you can just wallpaper over old paper. If the walls are just painted then wallpapering the room is much quicker, though the walls may still need to be cleaned first. Some wallpapers also require cross lining for a superior finish, especially thinner papers on older walls. All wallpaper will require a smooth and clean surface to hang correctly.

Wallpapering a room will freshen it up, but often to finish the room off properly you will need to also freshen up the other surfaces such as door & window frames and skirting boards. The doors themselves will need attention too if painted and not natural finishes. Don't forget the ceilings either, a grimy ceiling will look awful next to fresh wallpaper and bright white woodwork!

If stripping old wallpaper off using a steamer be prepared for a lot of condensation, it might be a good idea to remove items such as your sofa, or at least place them in the centre of the room and cover them to avoid them getting damp. The flooring/carpets will also need to be covered to protect them from wallpaper paste and any painting being done at the same time. If getting a decorator in to do the work, you should always check that preparation work such as moving all your furniture is included in the price or not. Most painters & decorators will in fact expect the householder to move all furniture and other items into the centre of the room giving them easy access to the walls ready for them to start work.

Wallpapering seems to be one of those jobs that people have a certain "knack" for, you can either wallpaper, or you cannot! If you have never done it before, it looks much easier than it actually is to get a good finish and there are lots of things which can go wrong leaving bumps, blisters, wrinkles and mismatched patterns in the final result. This is a skill that needs some practice and even then some people seem naturally much better than others.

It can be a false economy to attempt to paper a room yourself unless you are confident about your skills, wallpaper is expensive and you will use much more of it when having problems! Patterned wallpaper is even more difficult to get right as the pattern has to be matched from one strip to the next, often resulting in a lot of wastage to get everything lined up if you do not know what you are doing. If in doubt, get a professional in so you are guaranteed a professional finish with much less stress, for many the extra expense is more than worth it!

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The Cost to Wallpaper a Room

The average cost to hang wallpaper in a medium-sized room is typically around £200 in labour with the cost of materials varying depending on the which wallpaper you choose. This price just involves hanging wallpaper, it does not involve stripping wallpaper and assumes the wall is in good condition with no remdial work required. To strip existing wallpaper and hang new wallpaper in a medium sized room, expect to pay around £350 in labour costs.

The standard painter and decorator will often charge around £150 per day in labour and usually work by themselves as another person in one room can often be one too many. The job on average will take 1-2 days to complete but may take longer in rooms that are difficult to strip or those which need plaster repair work.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a decorator to wallpaper a room:

Job Description Material Cost Labour Cost Duration
10 sq m room, just Wallpaper £75 £100 4-6 hours
20 sq m room, just Wallpaper £100 £150 1 day
30 sq m room, just Wallpaper £130 £225 1-2 days
50 sq m room, just Wallpaper £160 £300 1-2 days
10 sq m room, Strip & Hang Wallpaper £75 £150 1 day
20 sq m room, Strip & Hang Wallpaper £100 £300 2 days
30 sq m room, Strip & Hang Wallpaper £130 £400 2-3 days
50 sq m room, Strip & Hang Wallpaper £160 £450 3 days

Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for supplying, stripping and hanging new wallpaper in a 20 sq m room - Total Cost: £400






Waste Removal


Years ago wallpaper was routinely hung over old wallpaper without stripping. But nowadays most wallpapers have a vinyl coating or are sheet vinyl types so are a vapour barrier. If you try and cover one vinyl material with another, this will often result in mildew forming in between the two layers. You may also be able to see the underlying pattern unless the new wallpaper is very heavy.

In addition, the chances of encountering problems like bubbles in the finish are much higher if you are not wallpapering onto a clean, smooth surface. Hanging over an old wallpaper always a gamble, sometimes you will get away with it, other times you will have to remove both the old and the new wallpaper too then start again to get a decent finish, costing more money and taking more time. Best to avoid gambling with expensive wallpaper and just do the job properly in the first place.
Usually 1 to 3 days depending on the condition of the walls and whether they are painted or currently wallpapered which will need stripping. If you have existing wallpaper this could easily require a full day to remove, plus preparing the walls will take slightly longer depending on the condition of the plaster, if walls have woodchip on them expect the job to take a lot longer and be more expensive.

This type of wallpaper is very hard wearing and difficult to remove, which will almost always result in damaged walls which require a lot of preparation work before hanging the new wallpaper. Removing old woodchip paper is a job you could take on yourself to save money as it does not require much in the way of skill but is time consuming.