How to Install Oversized, Patterned Ceiling Wallpaper

Bring bold, graphic flair to a flat ceiling using oversized wallpaper. Follow our step-by-step instructions for an easy, professional-quality installation.
Blue Gingham Wallpaper on Ceiling

Blue Gingham Wallpaper on Ceiling

Materials Needed:

  • patterned wallpaper with large repeat
  • wallpaper paste
  • wallpaper smoothing tool
  • pencil
  • utility knife or razor
  • ladder
  • measuring tape
  • small bucket or 1-gallon aluminum paint can
  • dishwashing liquid
  • damp cloth
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • roller handle
  • roller sleeve
  • paint pan
  • drop cloth
  • level
  • flat worktable or counter at least 30” wide by 76” long
  • warm water

Determine Symmetrical Placement

The key to using large-scale patterned wallpaper on a ceiling correctly is to ensure a symmetrical installation. First, remove fixtures and air returns from the ceiling, if necessary. Then, unfurl a roll of wallpaper along worktable, adding approximately 8” to the full width of the room, then cut to size using utility knife or razor. Position and reposition wallpaper on ground until the pattern is properly lined up symmetrically on opposite ends of the room (the same width as the ceiling). Use a pencil to lightly mark this portion of the pattern repeat.

Tip: To ensure that the pencil marks are not visible once wallpaper is installed, create a small mark that's only visible at close range.

Dry-Fit First Run of Wallpaper

Pour wallpaper paste into 5-gallon bucket, then add an even coat of paste along the area of ceiling where the first roll of wallpaper will be installed using paint roller handle and roller sleeve. Referring to the light pencil marks, position the first roll of paper in place up against the paste-covered area of ceiling, positioning paper until perfectly straight. Tip: This is referred to as a “dry fit,” which requires a run of paper be put in place yet left loose for positioning.

Next, double-check the symmetrical placement of the pattern repeat by holding measuring tape along the edge of opposite sides of ceiling, ensuring the measurements are equal.

Smooth Paper and Cut

With equal measurements for each end of wallpaper run confirmed, use a wallpaper smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles. Once all air bubbles are smoothed out, use utility knife or razor to cut the excess paper hanging down from corners of ceiling.

Tip: Un-trimmed wallpapers will require more precise cutting than trimmed wallpapers. To get a clean cut, line up a level along the exposed edge, then trim with utility knife or razor.

Wipe Excess Glue

Add warm water and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into a small bucket or 1-gallon aluminum paint can. Dip cloth into bucket or paint can, then wipe away excess glue from surface of wallpaper and/or wall.

Match Repeat, Reposition and Cut

Once the first run of wallpaper is securely hung, it will be used as a template for lining up the pattern repeat for the remaining runs. First, apply an even coat of wallpaper paste for the next run, starting roughly 1” along the edge of the securely hung run. Dry-fit the run across the ceiling from wall to wall.

Next, line the edges of each run up against one another using a level to create a straight line along which to trim the raw edge. Use a wallpaper smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles. If necessary, cut untrimmed wallpaper edges with a level and utility knife or razor. Continue pasting the ceiling, dry-fitting each run, lining up repeats, trimming and wiping excess glue until all areas of ceiling are covered.

Tip: To wallpaper around air returns, junction boxes or other obstructions, roll ceiling with paste, dry-fit the run, then cut out around junction box or air vent using utility knife or razor.

Admire Your Handiwork

Reinstall fixtures and air returns, if necessary. Then, sit back and enjoy your new fifth-wall focal point.

Blue Gingham Wallpaper on Ceiling

Blue Gingham Wallpaper on Ceiling

Next Up

Stories We're Following

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.