Did you know that back in the 16th century, when wallpaper was invented, it was used to decorate the insides of cupboards and small rooms in merchants’ houses? Wallpaper is more than just a history of ornamental design—it’s a road map through the history of human technological innovation. Wallpaper vs. paint, choice is your’s.
Of course, for homeowners making a choice between wallpaper vs. paint, you’re not really thinking about history. You’re thinking about the right fit for your dining room, Or living room, Or bedroom. Wallpaper and paint are two of the most popular choices for interior decorating. Both options have their own unique pros and cons, and choosing the right one for your space can be a difficult decision. In this paragraph, we’ll explore the essential pros and cons of wallpaper and paint to help you make an informed choice.
Wherever your home renovation projects are taking place or what your style is, here’s a quick and easy guide to the advantages of wallpaper vs. paint and how to choose the perfect one for you.
Table of Contents
Advantages of Wallpaper
One of the biggest benefits of wallpaper is the freedom to access endless beautiful designs.
Just look at Felix wallpaper, for instance. It’s a pretty, painterly nautical wave design that looks like it belongs in a professional artwork. And sure, you could try to flex your Hokusai and replicate it with a paintbrush, but let’s be honest—why gamble on your art skills when you could just lay some wallpaper for a guaranteed wow factor?
If you live in a household with kids, pets, or both, and there’s a real possibility your wall canvas becoming a crayon canvas or a scratching post, wallpaper has you covered (see what we did there?) Wallpaper these days is impressively durable, and wide varieties are scrubbable.
- Variety: Wallpaper comes in an endless array of patterns, colors, and textures, making it easy to find a style that complements your decor.
- Durability: High-quality wallpaper can last for years without fading, peeling, or chipping, making it a great investment for long-term decor.
- Cover Imperfections: Wallpaper can hide minor imperfections in your walls, such as cracks or dents, creating a smooth and flawless finish.
Disadvantages of Wallpaper
The biggest disadvantage of wallpaper is removal. If you decide to repaint a wall, you can clean it, smooth it, and paint over it. But if you decide to replace wallpaper, you have to scrape off all the old wallpaper, then repair the wall, prep it, and commence the redesign. Anyone who has ever removed wallpaper will tell you it is not a pleasant task.
Wallpaper is also a bad fit for any rooms with a lot of moisture, like bathrooms or kitchens. Because wallpaper is applied with adhesive, any rooms with a lot of moisture content can cause the wallpaper to bubble up or peel away from the wall.
Also, you have to be careful of wallpaper trends. They may be fabulous this year, but in a couple of years, they may make a room look horribly dated. Some wallpapers age better than others, of course, but you have to pay attention to the pattern to make sure you’re not choosing a fad.
- Difficulty of Application: Wallpaper can be difficult to apply, especially for those without experience, and can be time-consuming.
- Cost: Wallpaper is typically more expensive than paint, with high-end options costing significantly more.
- Removal: Removing wallpaper can be a tedious and messy process that can damage your walls.
Advantages of Paint
The biggest benefit of paint is the sheer volume of options. Want to paint your walls blush pink? There’s paint for that. Or maybe you’re in the mood for a lush gold? You have options. Want to paint your walls like the inside of a lime? More power to you because you’ll have plenty of paint to choose from.
- Easy Application: Painting is generally easier and quicker to apply, making it a good choice for those who want a quick update to their space.
- Cost-effective: Paint is generally less expensive than wallpaper, making it an affordable option for those on a budget.
- Variety: While not as extensive as wallpaper, a wide range of colors and finishes are still available for paint.
You can find paint in almost every color and shade under the sun. You also have the choice between flat, matte, gloss, or high gloss, depending on the effect you’re hoping for.
Oh, and there’s the fact that paint can be cheaper than wallpaper, depending on how much of it you need and the paint you choose. Higher quality paints will cost more upfront, of course, but they’ll also last longer, so the investment pays off in the long run.
Disadvantages of Paint
- Durability: Paint is prone to chipping, fading, and peeling, requiring touch-ups or repainting over time.
- Limited Texture: While paint comes in various colors, it lacks the texture options for wallpaper.
- Cover Imperfections: Unlike wallpaper, paint cannot hide minor imperfections on walls, such as cracks or dents, without significant preparation.
If you’re in the market for fancy designs, painting may not be the best option. It’s much harder to create designs with paint than it is to wallpaper them unless you happen to have access to a superstar artist (tragically, most of us don’t).
In some respects, preparing to paint can actually be fussier than preparing to wallpaper. For the results to turn out well, the wall has to be in pristine condition. Otherwise, every issue you ignore will come back to haunt you when you paint the wall.
Another downside of paint is the amount of time required to repaint a room, or even a single wall, for that matter. Hint: it takes way longer than you think it will between preparing the wall, the first coat, drying time, and the second coat. With wallpaper, all you have to do is prep the wall, lay the paper, and tidy up.
Wallpaper vs. Paint: Which is Right for You?
So, for homeowners with an eye on renovation, is wallpaper or paint the right choice for you? Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for.
For rooms that see a lot of moisture, dirt, grease, and grime (hint: kitchens and bathrooms), paint is the best choice, preferably washable paint. The same goes for kids’ rooms.
If you’re interested in fun designs rather than just a solid color, you’ll be happier with wallpaper. Sure, you could pay a professional painter to design something for you, but that will be expensive and time-consuming. With wallpaper, the world is your oyster.
For rooms or design styles that call for a more formal, classic look, paint is the better choice. Of course, you can still make this work with wallpaper if you opt for solid-color wallpaper.
Figuring Out How to Decorate a Room?
The choice between wallpaper vs. paint is the choice between a whole world of finishing options. You can give a room a whole new personality just by sprucing up a wall. So the real question is: what will your room’s personality be?
Looking for more great posts to guide your home design projects? Make sure to check out our blog for more great tips.