How To Wallpaper Around Switches, Outlets And Other Obstacles

Hanging wallpaper around various appliances and furnishings such as light switches, sinks, radiators can seem like a bit of a head-scratcher initially. But the process is pretty simple and easy. We have researched the best way to hang wallpaper around various obstacles in a home. In this post, we will discuss how to do it.

Here are the steps to hang wallpaper around switches:

  1. Prepare the wall
  2. Remove outlet's cover
  3. Hang the wallpaper using painter's tape
  4. Cut the space for the outlet
  5. Re-apply the wallpaper

Applying wallpaper can be a tricky process when you have outlets, windows, and other obstacles in your way. However, with a bit of planning and measuring, you can fit your wallpaper around these areas in a matter of minutes. 

A living room with a white gray and blue wallpaper matched with a small palm plant on the side and a blue chair, How To Wallpaper Around Switches, Outlets And Other Obstacles

Steps to Hang Wallpaper Around Obstacles

Before applying the wallpaper, ensure that the electricity is turned off — especially if you plan to remove any electrical outlet covers. If you need to, install a work light in the room where you're installing the wallpaper. You can purchase these lights online for about $20.

A rolled wallpaper with a yellow roller for the glue

Things you'll need:

  • A damp cloth or sponge
  • Paste brush
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Portable work light
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Putty knife

1. Prepare the wall

It doesn't matter if the wallpaper has paste on it or not. You always want to clean the wall ahead of time. This means removing any debris, dirt, or grime on the wall that may prevent the wallpaper from adhering fully to the surface. It also prevents premature peeling and bubbling — which can be burdensome to fix.

To do this, take your cloth or sponge and dampen it with water. Wipe down the wall, paying particular attention to cracks, crevices, and corners near the ceiling and the floor. Use this time to also apply spackle to any holes or gaps in the wall. Once it dries, sand it down using a sanding block.

Check out this microfiber cloth set on Amazon.

2. Remove outlet's cover

Take a screwdriver and remove the outlet cover. Most outlet covers will have a screw at the top middle or the bottom, which can be unscrewed manually. Be sure to note where you set the screws aside, as they are relatively small and can easily be misplaced.

Read more details about this screwdriver on Amazon.

3. Hang the wallpaper using painter's tape

Next, roll out a sheet of wallpaper and hang it at the top of the wall, letting it fall over the outlet's space. Painter's tape is best for this task because it can be easily removed without tearing the wallpaper or damaging the paint on the wall. Make sure that the wallpaper is completely smoothed out before you make any cuts.

Find out more info about this painter's tape on Amazon.

4. Cut the space for the outlet

Then, grab your utility knife and cut the shape of an "X" into the wallpaper. Cut the X into the four corners of the outlet space. This will outline the perimeter of the outlet. Next, take the knife and then cut out the perimeter of all for ages. Keep in mind that the cutout should be a bit smaller than the outlet itself. Doing so will allow you to place the outlet over the wallpaper and trim it down if needed.

5. Re-apply the wallpaper

After creating the hole for the outlet, re-apply the wallpaper once you have applied the paste or removed the backing adhesive backing from the wallpaper. As you lay the wallpaper over the outlet space, be sure to smooth it down with your hand or a smoothing tool. Next, take the outlet and place it in place.

If the wallpaper reaches into the outlet hole, be sure to trim it with your utility knife (to avoid fire hazards). Take extra caution when doing this, as you don't want to trim the wallpaper past the hole's opening, or it may create an open gap on the outer edges of the outlet.

Need more of a visual? Check out this video:

Do you start in the middle of the wall when wallpapering?

There are typically three wallpapering techniques that can be used to apply wallpaper to almost any wall. You can dip the paper in water, apply pre-pasted paper, or apply the paste directly to the wall. However, it's always best to start in the middle of the wall instead of a corner within the room, regardless of your method. Not only will it help you reduce the amount of wallpaper that you'll need to cut, but it'll help you when it comes time to overlap the wallpaper and create a seamless look.

Do you overlap wallpaper?

Yes. You can overlap the wallpaper if you want. This can help prevent open gaps and spaces within your wallpaper coverage — though it's not mandatory. You can also trim and line the edges of the wallpaper at the seams. Here are a few tips to remember when doing it.

Use a seam roller

Always roll the edges of your seams to ensure that the wallpaper sticks properly and doesn't curl. If not, you may find bubbles and wrinkles appearing hours later. However, be sure not to press too hard, as you don't want to squeeze out any adhesive that may have been applied to the wall.

Check out this seam roller on Amazon.

Cut old edges at once

The best way to ensure that the edges match is to cut down the middle where they overlap. Sample, lap one of the panels over the other, and then take your scissors or utility knife and cut down the middle of the overlap. Be sure to angle the blade in a downward direction so that the entire length of the blade cuts the wallpaper and not the tip. This will prevent you from poking holes in the wallpaper.

Make relief cuts with scissors

Take a pair of scissors to make relief cuts on the edges of the wallpaper. Using scissors instead of a utility knife is better to avoid accidentally cutting into trim, outlets, and other obstacles. Scissors work better, and they'll help you avoid scratching up the wall.

Find this pair of scissors on Amazon.

Check for imperfections immediately

After applying the wallpaper, be sure to inspect the work for any seam misalignment, bubbles, or gaps. You'll want to tend to these areas and smooth them out as soon as possible. The more time the paste or glue has to dry, the harder it will be to remove the wallpaper, and chances are you will end up having to scrap it and start all over. It's also best to have all of your tools and extra wallpaper standing right by if you need to re-apply it.

Utilize Push Pins

Push pins can help you apply long strips and keep them secure while applying additional strips if you install wallpaper to an entire room. This helps avoid measurement miscalculation and seam misalignments. Be sure to install the pins in the lightest colored section of the wallpaper to avoid having any holes appear. After the wallpaper has been secured, remove the pins, and take a seam roller to the area to smooth it out.

Read more details about push pins on Amazon.

How do you fit wallpaper around a window?

When installing wallpaper around a window, you'll want to get the measurements for the window beforehand so that you will know how much space you need to cut out. Let's look at the steps to get it done.

Measure the window

Take a tape measure and measure the length and width of the window seal. Add an extra inch or two to account for the overhang. Next, measure the distance from the top of the wall to the top of the window seal. And then get another measurement for length between the top of the wall and the bottom of the window seal.

Measure the wallpaper

Next, roll out the wallpaper and use the measurements for the window to cut out the space in the wallpaper. Be sure to reduce the cutting space by an inch so that you have room to work with around the trim. This will prevent you from having a gap in the wallpaper when cutting out edges.

Apply the wallpaper to the wall

It's always best to apply the wallpaper to the wall using painter's tape initially to check the fit before you paste it. Ensure that the window fits into the cutout wallpaper space and has an extra inch or two for trimming.

Past the wallpaper

Once you are satisfied with the wallpaper fit, remove the adhesive backing or apply the paste to the wall. Next, apply the wallpaper to the wall making sure to smooth down the paper as you apply it. You should always apply wallpaper starting at the middle top of the wall.

Remove excess adhesive

Use a damp cloth or a sponge to remove any excess adhesive from the wallpaper. You don't want the glue to dry on the window trim, so it's best to get it while it's still moist. It may also help to dampen the cloth with soapy water instead of plain water.

Check out this mild dish soap on Amazon.

Trim the edges

Take a utility knife and trim around the edges of the window. You should have about an inch or two of slack around its perimeter. You can also fold the wallpaper back to create a straight line. If the wallpaper has an adhesive backing, be sure to measure the edge carefully, as you won't get a second chance to re-apply it (it'll be hard to remove it once it sticks). Also, make sure that the edges of the wallpaper fit perfectly and as close to the window trim as possible.

How do you cut wallpaper around a toilet?

Black oriental wallpaper in small bright bedroom

The easiest way to wallpaper around the toilet used to apply the wallpaper to the wall using painter's tape. Next, you'll need to take a pair of scissors or a utility knife and carefully cut out the wallpaper needed to accommodate the length and width of the toilet area.

It's best to hold the wallpaper with one hand and cut it with the other hand to not accidentally overcut the wallpaper strip. After you cut out the hole, smooth the wallpaper with your hand to ensure that the measurements are correct. Once the wallpaper is ready to be applied, you can trim it as needed.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope this post has helped illustrate how to accommodate obstacles when applying wallpaper. Remember, it's always best to hang the wallpaper loosely with painter's tape first. This will help you determine the exact location and measurements needed for the wall obstacle before finally applying it.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

Does Wallpaper Cover Cracks And Imperfections?

How Far Should Trim Be Off The Floor For Carpet?

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