Wallpaper vs. Paint | Limitless Walls

Wallpaper vs. Paint | Limitless Walls

Wallpaper vs. Paint

Wallpaper and paint are far and away the two most common ways to decorate a wall. However, to a new homeowner, or to someone who hasn’t needed to decorate in a long time, figuring out whether to wallpaper or paint requires balancing several different factors.

What's better? Wallpaper or paint? Well, that depends on what you need: a long-term, eye-catching pattern? Wallpaper. A cheaper, simpler way to add color and personality to a space? Paint's probably what you need!

Comparing Wallpaper and Paint
  • When properly maintained, wallpaper can last for decades.
  • Washable varieties are great for high-traffic areas.
  • If installed in wet areas, the adhesive might not stick, causing bubbling and lifting.
  • Vinyl materials are waterproof.
  • Lasts ten years before noticeably fading, more quickly in high-traffic areas.
  • Washable and scrubbable paints do exist, but they are more expensive.
  • Wallpaper comes in rolls that are 27 inches long, generally (sometimes 20.5 in).
  • More complex patterns and styles are available compared to paint.
  • Solid colors with minimal, if any, ornamentation.
  • Different styles of paint can create different finish styles on the wall, from glossy to matte.
  • Costs are variable depending on quality. Generally, the price range of a roll will be $10 for a basic roll to $60 for a high-quality roll of wallpaper.
  • Wallpaper almost always comes in double rolls, which depending on your manufacturer, cover between 55 and 60 square feet.
  • A gallon of paint has a similar range in prices, ranging from $10 to $50 per gallon, which can cover between 100 to 200 square feet, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Cost depends on the type and quality of material used. Higher-quality paint generally lasts longer and fades less quickly.
  • Brushes, rollers, and primer will cost you an extra $40-$70.
  • Putting up wallpaper without the experience of a professional can be tricky.
  • If you've never put up wallpaper before, it may not be a terrible idea to call a professional wallcovering installer or local contractor, especially if you're decorating a high-traffic area.
  • Simple coats of paint are generally doable for the first time painter. If the wall needs to look absolutely perfect, talk to a professional!
  • It requires dry times between coats of primer and paint.
In a Rental?
  • It's extremely unlikely a landlord would allow you to hang wallpaper in a space.
  • High-quality wallpaper murals might be your solution—if applied properly, they can be put up and removed without damaging walls!
  • It's more likely that your landlord allows you to paint than put up wallpaper.
  • Likely your landlord would need to approve your color, severely limiting your options to basic solid colors.

Why You Should Get Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a traditional, classic way to decorate your wall with more interesting patterns and textures than you could ever get with paint. Because wallpapering is a challenging, time-consuming process for both installation and removal, we recommend only using this in more permanent spaces. Click here to explore various wallpaper materials and figure out which is right for you!

Wallpaper is for...

  • Your forever/long-term home.
  • Rooms with a long-term purpose
    • Kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, or living rooms are great locations for wallpaper.
    • Bedrooms and nurseries are good locations as well if they will not be changing hands very often.
  • High-end presentation in a high-traffic area.

Why You Should Get Paint

Paint is cheaper and easier than wallpaper to remove. Rather than having to undergo a time-consuming, difficult removal process, you can simply add a new layer of paint to the old one! If you know the place you're living is not your forever home, painting saves the cost and hassle that wallpapering would have. Plus, sometimes, a room needs that gloss and sparkle to really stand out, in which case, paint is what will do the trick! To figure out what kind of paint sheen works best for you, check out this article! If you're looking to paint a ceiling, this Pro Paint Corner article has your back.

Image from Houselogic.

Alternatives to Wallpaper and Paint

While wallpaper and paint do dominate the wall decor market, there are options that don't merely involve choosing one or the other!

Paintable Wallpaper

Certain wallpapers nowadays are either specially printed or covered with a specialty topcoat that will allow you to paint the surface of the wallpaper! Covering a textured wallpaper with a glossy paint finish would enable you to capture the best of both worlds—shiny and textured!

Mixed Room

Who says you simply have to commit to either just wallpaper or just paint! If you're able to find a complementary-colored paint and wallpaper, then you will be able to mix and match them. Use the off-colored material as an accent wall!

Wall Murals

Wall murals are a hot new trend in the home decor world. Since many murals are covered with a removable adhesive, they're easy to put up and take down, which is great for renters. Furthermore, since these murals are printed on-demand, you're able to tailor it precisely to your space. Plus, unlike traditional wallpapers, you're able to display full images or photographs on a mural! Wall murals are the perfect alternative to wallpaper and paint.

Shop All Wall Murals!

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