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Getting Wallpaper Measurements Correct

What you need

Measuring for wallpaper can be simple or it can be complex. As a minimum you’ll need:

  • metal tape measure
  • notepad or graph paper & pen
  • information about your favourite wallpaper

Start off by drawing a sketch of the wall or walls you are planning to cover. Include doors and windows that you’ll obviously not be covering. Mark all dimensions on your diagram. Also mark up picture rails or dado rails.

Information about wallpaper

The commonest UK wallpaper dimensions are 52cm width x 10m length. However there are an increasing number of papers that are 68.5cm wide, and some at 45cm width. And in recent years a number of ultra-wide width or panel designs have become available. These latter products are not cheap and so measurement and fitting is probably best left to a professional decorator to avoid expensive erors.

For all papers you’ll need to know:

  • roll width
  • roll length
  • vertical pattern repeat
  • match (e.g straight match, half drop, quarter drop)

You’ll also need to know whether to paste the wall or the paper & whether special paste is needed.

Under estimate or over estimate?

The more expensive the wallpaper is, the more important it is to get accurate calculations; you’ll want to minimise wastage. However under-ordering can be a bad mistake when you find yourself one roll short. Ordering an extra roll can play havoc with your decorator’s work schedule and will usually incur extra carriage charges. In extreme circumstance you might even find that you cannot get another roll from the same production batch.

If you over estimate the quantity needed you might find you have some spare material left over. You might have enough for a few more drops or you might have a whole roll left. It is best to roll this up and store it away because it can be used to repair or replace any damage to your walls. If you have children it’s almost certain that you will find pencil or crayon marks on wallpaper and having some spare wallpaper can be a blessing.


Nowadays there are many on-line calculators that claim to calculate your wallpaper requirements. All come with a disclaimer of responsibility for the answer given! These calculators can give you a decent estimate for a simple rectangular wall e.g. a feature wall with no windows or doors.

However you can quickly do this estimate yourself. On a rectangular wall measure the width and height of the wall. Multiply these two figures together to get the area of the wall.

Then divide this by the area paper a roll gives you. (A standard 52cm x 10m roll contains 5.2sq m). Then round the answer up to the nearest whole number and this is the minimum number of rolls you’ll need.

For example your wall is 435cm wide by 210cm tall. The area is 4.35m x 2.1m = 9.135sqm. Then 9.135/5.2 = 1.75, which rounds up to 2 rolls. This is a minimum figure and should be reasonably reliable if your wallpaper is plain, or is a vertical stripe or has a small pattern repeat. However it really should only be used to help you budget for the job.

Ultimately you should always get a professional estimate from your decorator. They are the best person to judge because they will know how they they will position the first piece of paper on the wall. Once this is decided the quantity of paper you need is set.

Complex jobs

Odd shaped room. staircases, combined hall & landings all need careful calculation by a professional. If your wallpaper has a large pattern repeat, or a half/quarter drop pattern repeat you’ll also be best served by a professional. In either case simple online calculators will not be adequate.

Once you know how much wallpaper you need simply contact us for a quote, either by phone or by using our Quick Quote form.

At Fabric Gallery & Interiors we are pleased to supply a huge range of beautiful designer wallpapers.  If you are interested in wallcoverings please do come and visit us at our Dunnington showroom or contact us for a Quick Quote.