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Wallpaper Shopping Guide


Understanding Wallpaper Pattern Repeats & Pattern Matches

Mistakes are often made when buying wallpaper due to misunderstandings around how pattern repeats and matches work.

This guide will help you to clearly understand how these work so that when you buy wallpaper from Made to Last you buy the correct amount for your needs and apply it to your walls correctly.

Wallpaper Pattern Repeats

Almost all wallpapers have what is called a pattern repeat. The exception to this is if the wallpaper you are buying is a solid colour or simply a textured paper design. All wallpapers with a design on them will have a pattern repeat.


The pattern repeat is the vertical distance between where the pattern is identical again (repeats).

This image shows that the pattern repeats again from the top of the circle.

That distance of the repeat varies depending on the wallpaper design and can be less than a centimetre or as much as the entire length of the sheet of wallpaper.

Wallpaper is made with various different kinds of pattern repeats e.g. random pattern match, straight across match, and drop match.

It is really important to understand the pattern repeat of your wallpaper because it affects the number of rolls you buy and the way you hang it.

Random/Free pattern match:

Random (or free) wallpaper pattern matches do not require matching to a specific length. They are the easiest kind of wallpaper to deal with because of this. Examples of random pattern match wallpapers include plain wallpapers or ones with a simple textured pattern.

Straight across match:

Wallpapers with a straight across pattern match run down from the ceiling and need to match on either side. You hang it in strips starting at the ceiling and then just repeat each vertical strip in exactly the same way.

Drop match:

Many interesting wallpaper designs are drop match. These are the most complex pattern matches and require careful planning. The pattern must be aligned horizontally and vertically with the wallpapers on each side.

Wallpapers with drop match repeats will come with the length of the repeat written in centimetres.

This distance is useful for calculating how much extra should be allowed on each drop of paper on hanging.

The amount of waste to be added to a length to be hung can never be greater than the pattern repeat indicated.

Half-drop match:

Half-drop repeat is the most common drop match repeat. A half-drop repeat means the match is obtained by halving the repeat. For example a label might state a 53/26.5cm offset match. This means the design repeats every 53cm and the point at which they match from left to right is every 26.5cm.