Unless you've had lots of practice, wallpaper is almost as much of a pain to remove as it is to put up in the first place. After all, that wallpaper paste wouldn't be a great deal of use if it was going to come off easily. This puts you in a bit of a frustrating position if you've decided that the wallpaper you put up a while ago no longer suits your tastes or, worse still, you've just moved into a property where the previous occupant had chosen some hideous design.

Because it's a bit of an ordeal to take wallpaper down, some people choose instead to leave it where it is and just paint over it. Talk with professional painters to learn about your options. If you think painting the wallpaper will make life easier, just make sure you prepare the surface properly first or you'll run into problems in the future.

Inspect and repair

Any peeling corners, missing sections of wallpaper, cracks or tears will show through the paint, so they need to be repaired before you do anything else. Get a small amount of wallpaper paste or other strong adhesive and stick back any bits that have peeled away from the wall. If there are any bits completely missing, replace them as neatly as you can with cut-out sections of paper with the same thickness.

Clean thoroughly

Even if the paper looks clean, it could be covered in dust and dirt that will affect the final look of the paintwork. Use ordinary household soap and water and give the wallpaper a good sponging over, taking care to cover every part. Leave it to dry thoroughly before you move on to the next step.

Smooth it out

First of all, there are most likely joints in the paper that need to be disguised. The easiest way to level these edges out is to sand them down with a fine-grain sandpaper. Do it gently and go slowly, stopping as soon as it's even.

Next, if your wallpaper is textured, use a thin coat of spackle to smooth the surface so the pattern doesn't affect the finish of the paint.

Get primed

If you've used spackle, let it dry completely. The last step is to get the wall ready for painting by using an oil-based primer. The purpose of this is to stop the paint moistening the adhesive and causing the paper to peel away, so it's an important step. Paint the primer over the entire wallpaper surface, wait for it to dry, and you're ready to start painting.