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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How To Measure For Wallpaper

Most wallpaper sold today comes in what is called a metric roll. In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was sold in American rolls which had more footage on them than the metric rolls. Although it is priced and sold by the single roll, it is usually packaged in double rolls.

Wallpaper is sold in several different widths. The most common widths are probably 20 1/2” and 27”. String cloth and fabric wallpaper is usually sold in 3’ widths, but 20 1/2” width is also common. The length and width of the roll are the most important factors in measuring and depend greatly on the height and width of the area to be covered. Most stores will sell the paper based on the square footage of that area with a waste factor figured in, but there is a more accurate method.

One important factor that has to be considered is the pattern repeat, which can vary from a couple of inches to 2 or even 3 feet.  Patterns usually repeat every 10 or 12 inches. The paper can also have a random match, a drop match, or a straight across match. With all of these factors considered it is almost impossible to get a truly accurate measurement, but there is a way to feel comfortable with your purchase without having to worry about re-ordering.  Re-ordering can sometimes be bad because you might not be able to get the same run or dye lot, which will cause your paper to appear mis-matched.

Below are instructions on how to measure for wallpaper.  Be sure to check out our handy wallpaper calculator.  It really makes things easier smile

Here’s how to measure:

  1. Determine how far a double roll will go - 20 1/2 inch wide paper usually has a length of 33 feet. If your room is 8’ high you should be able to get 4 strips out of a double roll. That will work if the paper has a random match or no side match at all, but if it has a side match, even if it is a straight across match you should only plan on getting 3 strips out of the double roll.  Divide the length of the roll by the height of the room. If it comes out too close drop back and figure one less strip.
  2. Calculate the number of strips that you will need - In a typical bedroom you would probably want to start and end behind the door, or wherever is the least visible. Hold the measuring tape with both hands, with the width of the paper between your hands. Go around the room making a mark every 20 1/2”, or whatever the width is. This way you know exactly how many strips you will need and where each strip will be on the wall. If you need to move it a little to the right or left it is easily done. Next, go around the room and count the strips you will need.
  3. Calculate how many rolls you will need - If you need 21 strips, divide that by 3 (refer to #1) and that will be the number of double rolls that you will need. It is always better to order too much, than to order too little.  Sometimes the stores won’t take returns, but it’s better to spend a little more to ensure a quality job!



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