Hanging wallpaper around electrical obstacles 

Flush mounted switches and sockets.

There are two basic options for wallpapering around flush mounted switches and sockets:

  • Just loosen the front plate and tuck the wallpaper in around the edges.
    or
  • Remove the whole switch/socket front plate, wallpaper over the wires and then refit the front plate.

Whichever way you choose, turn off the mains power supply before you disturb the switch/socket and leave it off until you have tucked in the edges or refitted the switch/socket.

Loosen the front plate.

Tucking flaps under loosened front panel Slacken off the retaining screws for the switch or socket so that there is a gap around the edge.

Hang the wallpaper in the normal manner, allowing it to fall over the switch/socket but do not brush out too near to it.

Carefully press the wallpaper onto the switch so that the centre and edges can be lightly marked.

Using scissors, cut through the paper at the centre mark and then outwards to the corner edges, and then cut around the edges about 6 or 7 mm inside the edge marks.

Gently ease the paper back on to the wall and pull the front plate away from the wall to tuck the edges of the wallpaper under the switch/socket.

Working in towards the switch socket, use a hanging brush to flatten the edges to the wall,

Once the edges have been tidied, carefully clean off any wallpaper paste from the front plate using a very lightly dampened sponge - as water and electricity do not mix, make sure no water runs into the front plate.

Lightly tightened the screws for the front plate but do not pull it down onto the wallpaper until the wallpaper paste has dried.

The power can be restored at this point before the paste has dried.

When you finally tighten the switch/socket screws, adjust the front plate position so that it is square to the architrave/skirting etc.

Removing the whole switch/socket

Cutting around wall box With the mains power switched off, remove the retaining screws for the switch or socket and disconnect the electric cable.

TIP: When you switch off the power, hang a note on the switch to warn everyone that you are working on the circuit.

Cover the cable ends with a small plastic bag then push the cable as far back as possible and position it within the wall box.

Hang the wallpaper in the normal manner, allowing it to fall over the switch/socket position.

Carefully press the wallpaper against the wall so that the edges of the wall box can be lightly marked.

Using scissors, cut through the paper at the centre of the marks and then outwards to the corners and then cut along the edge marks.

Working in towards the wall box position, use a hanging brush to flatten the wallpaper to the wall,

Once the edges have been tidied, carefully clean off any wallpaper paste from the wall box aperture using a very lightly dampened sponge and remove the plastic bag (this should have kept the paste away from the cable).

Reconnect the switch/socket to the cable and lightly tightened the screws for the front plate but do not pull it down onto the wallpaper until the wallpaper paste has dried.

The power can be restored at this point before the paste has dried.

When you finally tighten the switch/socket screws, adjust the front plate position so that it is square to the architrave/skirting etc.


For surface box mounted switches and sockets:

It is easiest to actually take off the front plate and remove the box from the wall - with the depth of the box, it is difficult to work out the edges if you try just to paper around it.

With the mains switched power off, remove the retaining screws for the switch or socket and disconnect the electric cable.

TIP: When you switch off the power, hang a note on the switch to warn everyone that you are working on the circuit.

Remove the box from the wall, put a matchstick in each of the wall fixing holes so that they protrude about 5 mm from the wall face (this will make it easier to relocate the holes when you refix the box).

Cover the cable ends with a small plastic bag then push the cable as far back as possible into the wall, try to keep the cable within the 'footprint' of the box.

Hang the wallpaper in the normal manner, allowing it to fall over the box position.

Carefully cut through the wallpaper so that the cables can be pulled through it.

Using scissors, cut the wallpaper from around the cable back to an area of solid wall.

Locate the position of the matchsticks and cut through the wallpaper so that the sticks protrude.

Working in towards the box position, use a hanging brush to flatten the wallpaper to the wall.

Once the wallpaper has been tidied, remove the plastic bag from the cable - this should have kept the paste away from the cable but if necessary, carefully clean off any wallpaper paste from it using a very lightly dampened sponge.

Remove the matchsticks from the box fixing holes and refit the box, do not pull it down onto the wallpaper until the wallpaper paste has dried. Reconnect the switch/socket to the cable and tightened to the box.

The power can be restored at this point before the paste has dried.

When you come to tighten the wall box, again switch off the electric power, hopefully with the front plate screws removed, you will be able to tighten the box screws without disconnecting the cable. When you tighten the box screws, adjust the box position so that it is square to the architrave/skirting etc.