Wallpaper vs. Paint

wallpaper-vs-paint

There’s nothing like being cooped up in the winter to get those redecorating juices flowing. One of the first questions to tackle when changing the look of your living space is Wallpaper or Paint? This primer will help you decide which wall treatment is best for your home. You may find the answer is both!

Before we compare the two, let’s start with some general information.

Wallpaper. Wallpaper was “out” for a little while but then it came back, and with a vengeance. Not only that, we should really be saying “wall coverings” because today’s trendy homes are using linen, high-end chinoiserie coverings, and textured fabrics to transform walls into works of art. Unless you are an artist (or you hire one), paint rarely compares to the textured and patterned potential of wallpaper. That being said, highly stylized patterns can quickly become dated and can turn off future potential buyers with different taste.

Paint. Paint is the default wall decorating medium for a reason. It’s relatively easy to apply and can be custom-mixed to any color preference. While most people do choose to paint their walls a single color, you can get creative. Two-toned walls, stripes, and multi-color designs are all a potential, but their execution must be fairly flawless to be successful.

Now onto the categorized comparisons:

Cost

Obviously, if you choose a high-end professional painter and expensive paint, it will be more expensive than most DIY wallpaper jobs. That being said, paint is usually the most affordable way to go. There’s one exception – if you pick a wallpaper you love and live with it for 10 or more years. Most paint needs to be redone every few years to look fresh. A high-quality, well-installed wallpaper can last a decade or so.

Labor Intensity

If you’re attempting a DIY home improvement project, wallpaper is the most labor intensive. While taping before you paint can be time consuming, it is very straight forward. For a monochrome paint job, you can get the whole family involved in the middle parts, and adults can take over around the edges. Wallpaper, on the other hand, must be very precisely measured, cut, and applied. You have to get the adhesive balance just right and be meticulous as you smooth to avoid bubbles, wrinkles and to prevent edges from peeling. Removing wallpaper is also very labor intensive.

Permanency

Well-applied wallpaper probably wins on this one, assuming you haven’t installed it in a bathroom (more on that later) and that the job was well-done. Quality wallpaper can be occasionally washed and will retain a fresh look for years. Paint needs to be refreshed every few years to really look its best.

Best Applications

Paint: Get familiar with paint finishes. While paint can be used in any room of the house, glossy finishes are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, where wall washing is more common. Scrubbing marinara from a flat-finish kitchen paint is no laughing matter.

Wallpaper. Ideally, you should keep wallpaper out of rooms that experience high and/or transient moisture levels, like the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. It will begin to curl and peel pretty quickly. Also, if you have kids or pets, keep the wall paper out of their reach. Yes, it can be washed, but intensive scrubbing for crayons, dirty smudges, etc. will make it ragged.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to use them both. You can use wallpaper as an accent wall and get the best bang for your holistic buck. How about you? Do you prefer wallpaper or paint?

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