Wallpaper buying guide

If you want your room to have a fresh, up-to-date look, why not give it a makeover with one of our stylish wallcoverings; it’s an effective way to achieve a totally new look with the minimum of fuss and expenditure. Modern wallpapers are incredibly easy to hang and they come in a comprehensive choice of mouthwatering colours, inspirational designs and innovative textures. Watch a video that shows you how to wallpaper.

Getting started

Online and in-store you can see a selection of the best-selling wallpapers from John Lewis and leading interior companies HarlequinSanderson and Morris & Co, which have been specially selected to give you the maximum choice and variety. All three brands offer an eclectic mix of designs ranging from cutting-edge contemporary to timeless classics drawn from their extensive archives, so there’s bound to be something which will suit your own personal interior style.

If you're having your room wallpapered professionally, it would be a good idea to talk to your decorator before finalising your choice of paper.

To achieve optimum results ask for advice on how many rolls
you would need and the type of paper best suited to your walls.

But if you're doing the job yourself, don’t be daunted. Our calculation charts take the headache out of estimating the number of rolls required – and it’s always a good idea to add
on at least one more roll to cover any unforeseen mishaps.
It's important to note that if you need extra wallpaper at a later date, there may be shade variances between batches.

Making the right choice

There are several factors to consider when you are deciding which wallpaper will best suit your room. It's always best to order a sample which you can try out on different walls, and also see how it looks at various times of the day or night:

  • If you're decorating a ‘high-splash’ zone such as a kitchen, bathroom, playroom or nursery, you should consider a vinyl or washable wallpaper which can be easily wiped down. But most importantly, always use the correct paste as recommended by the manufacturer, as this will make the difference between successful hanging and a disappointing result.
  • Don’t shy away from plain colours - they can be used to great effect to set off the rest of the room. On the other hand, patterned papers make more of an impact. Try experimenting with a bold feature wall to give added drama to a room without huge outlay.
  • You need to take account of the kind of light you get in the room - darker rooms benefit from warmer tones. Also, don’t forget to look at the paper in artificial light, as this will differ from natural light.

Calculating the number of rolls you need

Standard wallpaper rolls measure approximately 10.05m (11 yards) in length and are 52cm (201⁄2 inches) in width. Wide width wallpaper rolls measure 68.5cm (27 inches). It's very easy to work out what you need so that you reduce wastage to the minimum. Consult our chart and calculate the right number of rolls for your requirements - then add one roll as a contingency. For ceilings, simply divide the number of square metres by five.

Tips for best results

  • When you buy your wallpaper, check the labels all carry the same batch number as colours can vary slightly from batch to batch.
  • Keep an eye on the closeness of the colour match once the paper is going up. If at any time you have concerns over colour consistency, stop using the paper and contact the wallpaper company's customer services department with details of your order number, design and batch numbers to hand.
  • Make sure the design is hung in the correct direction; if this is not obvious, please refer to the product on screen or to your sample to see which way up the paper should go.
  • Take the rolls out of their wrapping and inspect them in natural light to make sure they're all exactly the same hue.


Take a look at our Paints buying guide for information.

We sell a range of Designers Guild and Sanderson paints , available in a number of different finishes, to co-ordinate perfectly with their wallpapers. We also sell paints from the Little Greene Paint Co.

Please note that when you order paint online, it will come direct to you from the supplier via specialist delivery, and is not available for Click & collect. 

The bigger picture

If your papering project is part of a major redecoration of the whole or a large part of your house, you might like to take advantage of the John Lewis Home Design service, which is completely free of charge for an in-store consultation. John Lewis furnishing experts can provide guidance on co-ordinating colours and styles of upholstery, loose covers, curtains, wallpapers, carpets and paints - plus all the necessary accessories, including all-important lighting. They'll visit your home for a fee which is redeemable against whatever you purchase. To make an appointment, call your nearest John Lewis shop.