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Wallpapering around light switches and sockets

Posted by admin
April 10th, 2013

Flush fitted socket

How to wallpaper around light switches and sockets

If you are wallpapering an entire room or simply a feature wall, more than likely you are going to come across a light switch, a socket, a TV Ariel or satellite point or a telephone socket. These may seem difficult to wallpaper around, but they don’t have to be.

The first thing to remember always is safety first, turn of the power to light switches or sockets before undoing any screws, yes this is a pain because you have to re-set clocks etc. But it’s far better to do that than get an electric shock. Wallpaper by it’s very nature is wet, the paste makes the wallpaper wet, this conducts electricity very well, so be safe, turn off the power.

The first thing to do is identify which kind of fitting you have, if your sockets or switches have the socket or switch box on the wall they are surface mounted, if just the face plate is showing then the box is sunk into the wall, this is flush fitted. You tackle these two types slightly differently.

Surface switch

Wallpapering around surface mounted sockets and switches

Wallpaper down to the switch or socket, support the wallpaper with one hand and smooth the paper into the switch surface mounted box, cut along the top of the box, then carefully, pull the paper away from the wall slightly so you can smooth the paper to the edge of the box, trim this edge, now do the same with the other edge. Finally cut with scissors the remaining ‘square’ out of the sheet of wallpaper but leave enough to trim. Smooth down the paper and it should go around the switch box, finally trim the bottom edge.

Clean off any excess paste off of the wallpaper and switch, making sure not to get too much water on the switch, then allow to dry for a bit and turn the power back on.

Wallpapering around flush fitted sockets and switches

As you wallpaper down to the switch or socket, make a small hole in the wallpaper, about the centre of the switch, now from the centre hole you have just made, cut from the middle toward the corner of the switch, so diagonally. Now smooth the wallpaper down onto the wall and trim the ‘triangle’ sections off but leaving enough to tuck behind the switch. Do this to all the ‘triangle’ sections. Now loosen, but don’t remove the face plate, and tuck the wallpaper behind the switch. Smooth out and air bubbles toward the switch. Finally screw the face plate down again, making sure not to over tighten and crack it.

Clean off any excess paste on the wallpaper and switch making sure not to get too much water on the switch, leave the power off long enough allowing for the wallpaper to dry out enough and any paste to dry.

switch with paper cut around
Paper flaps cut around switch
Finished paper around switch

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How do you paint a hall stairs and landing?

Posted by admin
January 13th, 2013

graphic of painting tools

How do you paint a hall stairs and landing?

Painting a hall, stairs and landing for a lot of people is a daunting task and too much for them to tackle themselves, so they call a professional decorator like myself to do it for them. A lot of people will not have the ladder to aid them to reach the tallest part, or the stairs are an awkward shape.

Having the right tools makes it safe and easier to do, safety should always be in your mind when painting and decorating but especially if you are painting and decorating your hall, landing and stairs. Falling off a ladder whilst working on a stairway can be very painful.

Painting a hall, stairs and landing

Painting a hall, landing and stairs is just like painting any other interior room, you start at the top and work down.

So, start with preparing the walls, filling and holes and cracks, then paint the ceiling and coving, if you have any. Paint the picture rail next, if you have one, then emulsion the walls, if you have a dado emulsion down to that, then paint the dado before painting the remaining walls below the dado rail. This will save the newly painted wood work getting splashed with emulsion.

Finally, paint the stair stringers (the bit that goes up each side), the spindles and handrail and skirting boards.

And don’t forget the loft hatch if it’s in the hallway.

Wallpapering a hall, stairs and landing

If you are going to wallpaper your hallway, landing and stairs it is similar to wallpapering and interior room, you do all the preparation first, then you paint the ceiling and coving, then paint any woodwork such as picture rail, dado rail and the the stair stringers, spindles and handrail and also the skirting boards.

Once all the paint is dry, the final job is to wallpaper your hall, landing and stairs.

Useful links

Below is a list of useful links you may find help you when either painting or wallpapering your hallway, stairs and landing.

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How to wallpaper

Posted by admin
November 30th, 2012

How to wallpaper

When it comes to wallpapering you must prepare the walls properly first otherwise the paper will not adhere well to the wall, cracks, missing plaster, rawl plugs and filler will show through. Getting the preparation right is very important and around 90% of the job. Once you have removed any old paper, filled and sanded down the walls and sealed any new plasterwork, you are ready to begin.

Choosing your wallpaper

Before you buy your wallpaper you will need to measure the walls of the room, or just one wall if you are just doing a feature wall. We have a wallpaper calculator that is quick and easy to use to work out how many rolls of wallpaper you need.


Tools for wallpapering

You will need some tools to wallpaper well and to make you life easier, the following tools are what you will need.

  • A paste table
  • A clean bucket
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Rolls of wallpaper
  • Paste brush or a roller
  • Rolls of wallpaper
  • Wallpapering brush
  • Pasting brush or a roller and tray for paste
  • Clean water
  • Sponge or clean cloth
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Step ladder
  • A knife or sharp scissors
  • A plumb line

Getting ready to hang the first sheet

Once you have gathered everything together and prepared the walls for wallpapering check your rolls of wallpaper, make sure none are damaged, check to make sure the batch numbers are the same and the shade is the same on all rolls. If they are not the same you can either change them for the same batch or shade codes or work out how many you have of each batch and use these on the same wall, you can get away with different batch numbers or shades codes by using them on an area that doesn’t show or just on a different wall as the light falls differently around the room. Ideally all number should match.

Next mix your paste to the manufactures recommendations, unless your using ready mixed paste of course. Set up your pasting table and take the first roll of wallpaper, unwrap the roll and unroll a length onto the table, familiarise yourself with the pattern and look for the repeat if there is one.

Now take the plumb like, measure out from a corner 2cm less than the width of the sheet of paper, mark the wall then using the plumb line mark a vertical line down the wall.

Hanging the first sheet of wallpaper

Measure from the ceiling to the top of the skirting boards, cut a length of paper off the roll allowing about 5cm at each end to trim the top and bottom of the sheet. Lay the sheet of paper of paper face down on the clean paste table, apply your mixed wallpaper paste onto the back of the sheet from the centre to the edges, make sure the edges are well covered. Concertina fold the sheet and then allow to soak in accordance with the manufactures instructions. Once the paper has soaked for long enough take the top of the sheet and align it with the plumb line you made earlier. Take your wallpapering brush and smooth out the paper and pushing out any air bubbles, start from the centre and work out to the edges.

Wallpapered walls

Once the sheet is smoothed out you will need to trim the top and bottom of the paper with either a sharp knife of a pair of scissors. Now wipe down the paper ensuring you remove all paste from the face of the paper. Wipe down the paste table surface and dry, now paste your next sheet of paper.

Now cut and paste the second sheet of paper and butt the edge up to the first sheet, work the edge down, smooth out as before and wipe the surface, continue doing this until you get to a corner.

Wallpapering around an internal corner

When you come toward a corner, measure from the edge of the last sheet hung to the corner, do this in several places. Take the widest measurement and add 2cm to it then cut a sheet of paper that width. Paste the sheet, once soaked hang as described before but this time wrap around the extra paper around the corner.

Now you can take the other half of the sheet you just cut, or a new sheet (depending on pattern) and measure it’s width. Mark with a plumb line that width from the corner a vertical line. Paste this sheet and then align it with the plumb line and work into the corner allowing it to overlap the paper you have turned the corner with, use a border or vinyl to vinyl adhesive to stick down the edge in the corner.

Wallpapering around a door or window

I recently wrote a post about wallpapering around a door so won’t go to it in detail here, but what I will say is always make sure that you have a straight plumb line as you come out of papering around the door or window as if it isn’t straight you will have problems with the next run of paper!

Papering around switches or sockets


The easiest way is to take switches and sockets off, but DO NOT DO THIS unless you know what you are doing, you should never mess around with electricity! So to leave them on and paper around them, switch off the power, paper over the switch or socket, you an see where the edges of the face plate are, from the centre cut to the corners of the face plate. Now carefully trim the flaps you’ve just made but leaving enough to tuck behind the face plate. Now unscrew the face plate just enough to get the paper behind, carefully ease the plate through the hole in the paper, you will find the plate moves a little so it’s easy to tuck the paper behind, just be careful not to tear the paper.

Screw the face plate back on, wipe the paste of the switch with a damp not wet cloth or sponge, then dry. Now turn the power back on.

You should now have beautiful wallpapered room.

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