Wallpaper Symbols Explained | Decorating Centre Online
Wallpaper Symbols Explained | Decorating Centre Online

"Don't confuse yourself with wallpaper symbols, have a look at our ultimate guide below"

Wallpaper Symbols Explained

Hanging your wallpaper doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Even though wallpaper symbols may look like hieroglyphs from an ancient culture, they are easy to understand once you know what they are!



TOP TIP: Although there are various ways to clean your wallpaper, ensure that you only clean your wallpaper as indicated by the symbols on your wallpaper. If there are no symbols on the label the wallpaper is not able to be cleaned using any methods stated below. 


Cleaning Wallpaper Symbols


These symbols show the cleaning method(s) the wallpaper can withstand, ranging from spongeable to extra-scrubbable. These symbols also reveal how durable the wallpaper is. 




This symbol means that your wallpaper can be lightly cleaned with a dry sponge Due to this being the lowest washability ratingthe wallpaper should not be used in areas with high humidity because the moisture can easily damaged the paperIt is also not recommended that wallpaper with this symbol is used in areas with high traffic either due to the limited washability. 



This type of wallpaper is more cleanable than the ‘spongeable’ type of wallpaper above, however it is still vulnerable to water damage. 

Light surface dirt can be removed from washable wallpaper using a lightly damp sponge but you must avoid any chemicals and should be used cautiously to avoid any tears, rips or cause colours to bleed. Any oils, fats, and other types of solvent-based stains cannot be removed from this type of wallpaper. 



Extra-washable wallpaper is more resilient to cleaning and moisture. You can clean extra-washbale wallpaper using a wet cloth and soapy water and you should be able to remove most water-based stains if it is cleaned carefully, any greasy / oil-based stains should be cleaned immediately for best results. 

Due to it’s extra-washable properties, this type of wallpaper can be hung in areas which are likely to incur more moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms, however it cannot withstand large amounts of water so don’t hang where it will be directly exposure to splashing (next to a bath or sink for example) 



This is a more durable type of wallpaper. Scrubbable wallpaper can be scrubbed clean using a sponge or a cloth from a variety of different stains with a little more pressure than washable.

Scrubbable wallpaper can also be scrubbed clean using a soft brush and mild detergent. However, oils, fats and other solvent-based stains must be cleaned immediately to be successfully removed from the surface.

It’s important to remember that although it is scrubbable, it is still paper and aggressive abrasives, significant pressure or strong cleaning chemicals are still liable to damage the paper.



Dirt and domestic water-based stains can be easily removed from this type of wallpaper. It can be scrubbed clean using a sponge, cloth or brush using a mild detergent or soapy water depending on the stain. 

Again, oils, fats and other solvent-based stains must be cleaned immediately to be removed from the surface. 


Light Fastness Symbols

The symbols below reveal the degree to which your wallpaper will keep its colour when exposed to sunlight. These symbols can help you find the correct wallpaper to hang in areas with lots of natural light. You should consider how much natural light the wall you are papering is likely to be exposed to. Avoid hanging wallpapers with moderate / satisfactory light fastness in areas that are exposed to a significant amount of sunlight as they will fade more quickly.  



Wallpaper Pasting Symbols


These symbols help to indicate not only what type of wallpaper adhesive should be used in conjunction with the wallpaper, but also how the adhesive should be applied to the wallpaper to hang it correctly.



Paste-the-paper wallpapers are one of the most common-and most traditional- ways of hanging wallpapers. 

This symbol means that the wallpaper should be hung by applying paste directly to the back of the wallpaper and leaving it time to soak into the paper before being applied to the wall.  

This type of paper is the traditional way to hang wallpaper, however, requires a few more steps to hang the wallpaper than other types of wallpaper adhesive techniques. 



Paste-the-wall wallpaper is a less traditional way of applying your wallpaper to the wall, however it is considered a quicker and easier way than paste-the-paper wallpapers.  

Paste-the-wall wallpaper is applied exactly how it states in the name by applying the adhesive to the wall and then by hanging the wallpaper straight on top of that. This type of wallpaper needs no soaking times and it has less of a risk for errors too. 

Ready-Pasted Wallpaper

This is not a common type of wallpaper as it is already pasted. All it needs is to be dipped into a water tray to activate the paste before it can be hung onto the wall.



Wallpaper Removal Symbols

Even though you may not be thinking about removing your wallpaper before you’ve even hung it, knowing how to remove the wallpaper will save you a lot of time and effort later.




This type of wallpaper can be easily pulled straight off the wall in one strip while the paper is dry. Removing the wallpaper back to front will make the layers come straight off the wall.




Peelable wallpaper only allows the top layer of the wallpaper to come off the wall, which means that the backing paper is left behind when peeled. This paper can be removed when the wallpaper is dry too.


Wet Removable

This type of wallpaper can only be removed with the help of a stripping solution or by soaking the paper in water. This wallpaper will have to be manually scraped off the wall after it has been soaked in your chosen solution or water.



Wallpaper Pattern Match Symbols

One of the most important parts of hanging wallpaper is understanding the pattern match and how to hang it effectively. A wallpaper pattern match is simply how the wallpaper’s pattern matches up when two adjacent strips of wallpaper are hung together.



Free Match

By far the easiest pattern match, this type of wallpaper needs no aligning. Simply hang the wallpaper in any way you wish, and the pattern will line up which means there is less wasted wallpaper as a result.



Straight Match

This wallpaper requires each strip to match in horizontal lines across adjacent strips. The design will be the same from left to right on one strip.



Offset Match

This pattern requires every second strip to be offset-or dropped- by the distance of its drop match.



Reverse Alternate Lengths

This wallpaper hanging pattern is often seen on plainer wallpapers. It requires each strip of wallpaper to be hung in the reverse of the other. This prevents shading on plainer wallpapers.


If you have any questions about this blog or decorating in general, please get in touch with our team, we’d love it help!  

[email protected] | 01388 608144 

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