How to Remove Wallpaper: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Removing wallpaper can be a daunting task, but with the right approach and tools, you can transform your walls and prepare them for a fresh new look. Whether you’re redecorating or simply tired of the old wallpaper, this step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of removing wallpaper effectively and efficiently.

Table of Contents

  1. Gather the Necessary Supplies
  2. Prepare the Room
  3. Test a Small Area
  4. Peel Off the Top Layer
  5. Apply Wallpaper Stripper
  6. Scrape the Wallpaper
  7. Remove Stubborn Residue
  8. Wash the Walls
  9. Patch Any Damage
  10. Prime the Walls
  11. Choose Your New Wall Treatment
  12. Install New Wallpaper
  13. Paint the Walls
  14. Add Wall Decals or Borders
  15. Conclusion
  16. FAQs

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before starting, make sure you have all the essential tools and supplies to avoid interruptions during the process. You will need:

  • Drop cloths or plastic sheets
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wallpaper stripper or fabric softener
  • Water sprayer or sponge
  • Putty knife or wallpaper scraper
  • Sandpaper
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Clean, lint-free cloths

Prepare the Room

Preparation is key to a successful wallpaper removal. Clear the room of furniture and decorations, or move them to the center and cover them with drop cloths or plastic sheets. Use painter’s tape to protect baseboards and electrical outlets.

Test a Small Area

Before fully committing to the wallpaper removal, test a small section to determine the best removal method and check if the wallpaper is strippable. Gently lift a corner or seam and attempt to peel it off. If it comes off easily, you’re in luck; otherwise, you may need to use a wallpaper stripper.

Peel Off the Top Layer

If the wallpaper is strippable, carefully peel off the top layer. Start at a corner and pull it downward, applying even pressure. Be cautious not to damage the underlying wall.

Apply Wallpaper Stripper

For non-strippable wallpaper, you’ll need a wallpaper stripper. Mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it generously to the wallpaper surface using a water sprayer or sponge. Let it sit for the recommended time to loosen the adhesive.

Scrape the Wallpaper

Once the wallpaper has soaked, use a putty knife or wallpaper scraper to gently scrape off the loosened wallpaper. Work in small sections and be patient, as rushing may cause wall damage.

Remove Stubborn Residue

After scraping off the wallpaper, you may find stubborn residue. Dampen a sponge with warm water and gently wipe the walls to remove any remaining adhesive.

Wash the Walls

To ensure a clean surface for your new wall treatment, wash the walls with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. This step will remove any residual wallpaper paste and leave your walls ready for the next step.

Patch Any Damage

Inspect the walls for any damage caused during the removal process. Fill any holes or gouges with spackling compound and let it dry. Sand the patched areas until smooth.

Prime the Walls

Before applying new wallpaper or paint, prime the walls to create an even surface and ensure better adhesion. Choose a primer suitable for your chosen wall treatment.

Choose Your New Wall Treatment

With the old wallpaper removed and the walls prepped, it’s time to choose your new wall treatment. Whether you decide on paint, new wallpaper, wall decals, or borders, select a design that complements your style and enhances the room’s ambiance.

Install New Wallpaper

If you choose to install new wallpaper, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use proper techniques for a seamless application.

Paint the Walls

Painting the walls can be a rewarding DIY project. Select your desired color and apply it evenly using a roller or brush. Allow each coat to dry before adding another.

Add Wall Decals or Borders

For a unique touch, consider adding wall decals or borders. They are easy to apply and can instantly transform the look of a room.


Removing wallpaper may take time and effort, but it’s a satisfying endeavor that can completely change the appearance of your home. Follow the step-by-step guide above to efficiently remove old wallpaper and prepare your walls for a fresh new look.


  1. Is removing wallpaper a difficult task? Removing wallpaper can be challenging, but with the right tools and approach, it becomes manageable.
  2. Can I reuse old wallpaper? Reusing old wallpaper is not recommended, as it may not adhere properly and could lead to an uneven surface.
  3. How long does the wallpaper removal process take? The time it takes to remove wallpaper depends on factors like the wallpaper type and room size, but it typically takes a few hours to a day.
  4. Can I paint over old wallpaper? Painting over old wallpaper is not recommended, as the texture and pattern may show through the paint.
  5. What is the best way to clean walls after wallpaper removal? After wallpaper removal, clean the walls with warm water and mild detergent to remove any residue and ensure a smooth surface.

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