Engineer the Hanging Process

You don't have to be a technical whiz to "engineer" a room. All this means is to determine your seam placements before beginning your installation to avoid waste mistakes. Other things to consider when planning a paper hanging are:

  • the placement of the pattern so it is pleasing to the eye
  • focal points
  • accent walls
  • border placement
  • arrangements of doors and windows or other unique architectural features.

All these factors affect seam and pattern placement, and also determine starting points, ending points and area of mismatch.

The most likely point to start the engineering process should be the area of the room that will cause the most difficult situations. Once this area is planned, seam placement can be established in two different directions working from the problem area back to the ending point.

Before engineering the room, it is important to measure the expanded width of wallpaper (using a scrap of the wallpaper). Most wallpapers will expand to a certain degree after they have been pasted and then booked. After booking, re-measure the wallpaper for its true hanging width. If seam placement is figured before this expansion (or, in some rare cases, shrinkage) has occurred, seams will fall in areas different than originally figured.

A rule of thumb is to try to avoid having a seam fall less than 2 inches next to an obstacle like a window, door or corner. In some rooms, this may not be possible.

While engineering a room, pattern placement also needs to be noted. Be sure to plan pattern placement so that the design falls at specific points on the wall that are aesthetically pleasing. Areas that need to be watched are:

  • ceiling line -- do not cut a design element in half
  • chair rails -- again, do not cut design elements in half
  • door/window headers and dados (areas above cabinets), etc.

Occasionally, pattern placement is more important than seam placement. When this is the case, the design element should be placed where it will be most visually pleasing. But, if at all possible, seam placement should still be considered.

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