7 Things to Know Before You Wallpaper the Ceiling

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Wallpapering the ceiling can transform a room. Before taking on this unique decorating project, there are some important factors to consider. In this article by Land of Wallpaper, we’ll go 7 things to know before you wallpaper the ceiling. Understanding these tips will help ensure success in installing ceiling wallpaper and creating a stunning look.

Choose the Right Wallpaper

Choosing a ceiling wallpaper engineered specifically for overhead application is key. These papers are designed to withstand heat, steam, and gravity over time. There are a few common types of wallpaper to understand when researching ceiling options:

  • Vinyl-coated: Vinyl coatings create water-resistant and peelable papers perfect for ceilings. Options like Anaglypta’s paintable wallpaper provide textures.
  • Paper-backed: Breathable papers featuring materials like grasscloth, jute, or textured patterns to add depth. These often require specialized paste.
  • Acoustic: Sound-absorbing wallpapers containing permeable layers like foam to dampen noise and echo. Great for media spaces.
  • Pre-pasted: Convenience of adhesive coating already added to the back. Requires water to activate. Scrubbable options are available.
  • Natural fiber: Wallpapers utilizing renewable materials like bamboo, reeds, or hemp for an earthy aesthetic. Require careful moisture regulation.

When selecting, avoid regular light or medium-weight wallpapers. Products labeled “ceiling wallpaper” specifically have fire resistance, higher adhesive strength, and materials able to withstand heat, humidity, and gravity over time.

They are also designed for accessibility during future maintenance. Install a small section first to ensure suitability before applying it throughout a ceiling space. Investigate options to determine the best style and durability.

Check the Ceiling for Imperfections

Examine the ceiling thoroughly for any cracks, holes, or uneven textures. Fill small holes and sand any bumps for a smooth finish. Wallpaper will only showcase and pronounce problem areas so imperfections must be addressed beforehand. Taking time to properly inspect the ceiling and make necessary fixes will allow the wallpaper to look seamless.

Pick Right Wallpaper Design

Choose ceiling wallpaper that contrasts with the existing structural elements in the room. Align patterns to draw the eye towards beautiful architectural details. Wallpaper can spotlight coveted features while adding visual interest overhead.

Understanding of the Size & Layout

Measure the ceiling area thoroughly before purchasing wallpaper to know exactly how much you need. This is one of the 7 things to know before you wallpaper the ceiling. Consider the layout of the space to determine the number of wallpaper drops required. Strategically plan the layout so seams and breaks fall aesthetically with beams or light fixtures. Have extra wallpaper for errors and modifications for the best visual outcome along the ceiling.

Prepare Properly for Installation

Wallpapering overhead requires more prep than vertical walls to allow strong adhesion. Fill any existing holes or cracks with spackle then sand smooth. Clean the ceiling using TSP cleaner scrubbing off dirt, oil, and soap film so the paper sticks tight. Apply an acrylic wallpaper primer to reduce porosity differences for even bonding. Don’t skip careful prep or the wallpaper can fail.

Use Proper Application Methods

Follow all directions for recommended adhesives, pastes, tools, and techniques. Many ceiling papers need heavy-duty paste over the premixed light adhesive.

  • Choose application method: Decide whether to apply the paste directly to the back of the paper or apply it to the ceiling surface first. Use a paint roller for even coating on paperbacks. For ceilings, use a wallpaper brush for a smooth coat, covering edges.
  • Align strips carefully: Match up seams and patterns precisely. Work from the center outward, smoothing any wrinkles or bubbles with a sweep or plastic scraper.
  • Wipe excess adhesive: Use a damp cloth to immediately wipe any seeping adhesive from seams before drying. Don’t allow paste to pool.
  • Apply pressure working top to bottom: Smooth paper flush to surface, avoiding overworking seams as moisture can damage paper. Change water frequently for consistency.
  • Trim cleanly around edges: Carefully cut wallpaper tight to corners, outlets, and borders with trimming knives.
  • Follow with drying times: Allow proper drying time between runs per instructions before applying the next section.

Following these proper techniques leads to successful wallpaper application and great-looking ceilings.

Maintain Safety

Any work on the roof brings up important safety concerns, especially in places that are high or hard to get to. Use the right kind of ladder or lift, and be careful not to reach too far. Make sure there is someone who can help hold the things and offer support. If you need to keep moving tools, break the project up into smaller parts. Hard hats keep people from getting hurt if they accidentally drop wallpaper. Risk can be lowered by staying alert and using the right safety gear.


Wallpaper can turn ceilings into an artistic focal point if it is properly prepared. Make sure there is no damage to the ceiling, use the right glue, and remember to be safe during the whole installation process. Even if you’ve never done it before, you can get a beautiful ceiling style with some planning and care. Before you start wallpapering above, make sure you consider these 7 things to know before you wallpaper the ceiling to get a beautiful result. If you plan, wallpapering your ceiling can take your style to a whole new level.