What is a Paperhanger?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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While many people may assume that a paperhanger is simply a common laborer that hangs wallpaper, the fact is that the role of a paperhanger in the profession of interior design is a little more in depth. The paperhanger is actually an interior design expert who specializes in the design and installation of a number of decorative mediums to walls. These mediums may include traditional wallpaper, grass paper, fabrics, and screenprints.

Paperhangers, like most persons who work in the decorating industry, tend to have an eye for color, texture, and form. This helps the paperhanger to make constructive suggestions to clients when it comes to selecting wall coverings. In addition, paperers will be proficient in a number of different wallpapering techniques, which may help achieve a certain look or texture that makes the finished product more visually appealing.

Generally, a paperhanger gains his or her reputation by working as an apprentice with an established paperer. This relationship provides the fledgling paperhanger with direct experience under the direction of a recognized expert, and can also help introduce the novice to concepts, ideas, and processes that may or may not already be part of the knowledge base of the new employee. An apprenticeship typically lasts three to four years before the paperhanger is considered ready to step out on his or her own.


For others, formal education in the field of interior design forms the basis of a career as a paperhanger. Many degreed courses of study related to interior design will include some information about papering, including the use of fabric sheeting, vinyl and natural papers, screening as part of creating attractive wall dressings.

A paperhanger may choose to work as part of an interior design firm, or set up shop as an independent consultant. Like many professionals, the paperhanger will meet with a client, go over the thoughts and desires of the customer, look at the room that is to receive a wall treatment, and then develop two or more options for the customer to consider. In some cases, the paperhanger may choose to charge a consultation fee for this preliminary work, while other paperhangers prefer to bundle these expenses into the final pricing quote that is submitted to the customer for consideration.


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