Pros and Cons of Wallpaper and Paint

Nothing transforms a room quicker than a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper. The walls of your home make up a significant part of your interior design. Whether you hang photos or artwork or leave them bare, walls set the tone for the look and feel of your home. 

Comparing Paint vs. Wallpaper

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wallpaper and paint

New paint or wallpaper can update your home in a relatively short amount of time. There are pros and cons for both. Below are several categories where we’ve compared the two wallcoverings.

Appearance

Both paint and wallpaper are versatile wall coverings. While most people still paint their walls a single color, paint can be used to create a variety of patterns and effects. Paint can be applied in stripes, dots, chevrons, tiles, or murals. Paint is available in a variety of finishes that range from matte to glossy in an almost endless variety of colors. 

Wallpaper also comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and finishes. Flocked, textured, glossy, matte, and metallic wallpapers are all widely available. You can even create your own custom-designed wallpaper.

Use

Wallpaper that is installed in dry areas, such as living rooms or dining rooms, can easily last for 15 years or longer with minimal maintenance. In damp areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, wallpaper can warp or peel due to exposure to high humidity. 

Wallpaper is not recommended for use in children’s rooms because it can be difficult to keep clean or change if the child outgrows the pattern. For this reason, paint is usually the recommended finish for areas with high humidity levels or in areas where frequent updating or cleaning may be needed.

Installation

Repainting a room is one of the easiest home improvement projects. If the walls are in good shape, preparation before applying paint is relatively easy. A single, solid-color paint job is easy to apply with a few tools and high-quality paint.  

Wallpaper installation is far more time-consuming. Rolls of wallpaper need to be cut to size and either dipped in water to activate the glue or brushed with water before being applied to the wall. Edges need to line up perfectly to avoid interruptions in patterns and air bubbles. Excess glue must be removed to achieve a smooth finish. Peel and stick wallpaper options are available but it still requires skill and time to match edges and make sure it is properly installed. 

Cost

Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, paint is almost always less expensive to apply than wallpaper. If you apply a coat of paint and don't like the results, buying another gallon of paint and repainting is not that expensive. On the other hand, DIY wallpaper installation mistakes can be costly, especially if you need to purchase additional rolls to match a pattern.

Wallpaper is both more costly to purchase and install than paint for a room of similar size and shape. However, a high-quality wallpaper can easily last 15 years or longer, while paint needs to be updated more frequently to maintain a fresh appearance. If you don’t plan to update your walls very often, wallpaper can be a cost-effective option over time.

Removal

Removing wallpaper can be time-consuming, difficult, and labor-intensive. In some cases, it may need to be steamed off or scraped off by hand. It can take several hours or even days to properly remove old wallpaper

Paint doesn’t need to be removed, so making changes is quicker and easier. Some darker tones of paint may take multiple coats of primer if switching to a lighter color. But overall, repainting is usually an easier process than changing out wallpaper.

Durability

A high-quality wallpaper that is professionally installed can easily last 15 years or longer. This makes wallpaper a good choice for people who don’t plan to make design changes very often. 

The right type of paint can also be long-lasting under the right conditions, but the longevity is usually around 5 years or less. Cleaning painted walls can extend the lifespan of a high-quality paint job. At some point, touch-ups and repainting will be needed, especially in high-traffic areas where scuffs and other damage can easily occur.

Resale Value

Both paint and wallpaper can have a significant impact on the resale of your home. Of the two, wallpaper is likely to have the biggest negative impact on potential buyers. Wallpaper does not have broad appeal and is difficult and costly to remove. 

Since repainting is a relatively easy project, potential buyers are more likely to look past a paint color they don’t like. A fresh coat of neutral paint is a top home improvement recommendation for homeowners when they plan to sell. Professional realtors know that freshening up old or outdated paint attracts more buyers and makes a home more marketable even during a hot real estate market.

Deciding on the Right Solution for You

When trying to choose between wallpaper or paint, your personal preferences, room design, and budget are important factors to consider. If you’re not sure which is best for you, give Walla Painting a call today. We offer free consultations and can help you decide which option is best for your home and lifestyle.

Walla Painting is a locally owned business that specializes in residential painting. Our fully insured, bonded, and skilled painters are equipped to handle any size project. We are proud to have received Angie’s List Super Service Award 10 years in a row for our customer service and detailed workmanship.

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