Your choice of a colour scheme largely determines the ambience of your home, and covering up the walls, with wallpaper or paint, is by far the best way to do so. Since walls are the largest blank canvases available at your disposal, you could either go with wall paints in solid colours or wallpapers in textured designs. The choice might seem easy at first, but it’s not. If you’ve constantly been debating over wallpaper vs. paint for your walls, we’re here to help you make that decision.
Both wall coverings have their share of pros and cons with regards to a variety of factors. Below, we’ll discuss the most common factors that you should consider when it comes to choosing wallpaper vs. paint for your walls. Stay with us!
Factors That Might Affect Your Decision
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding between wallpaper vs paint. Here are the most common ones:
- Installation process
- Drying time
- Location within the house
- Preparation time for future changes
- Best wall finish for rentals
Now let’s discuss these in detail for both wallpapers and paints.
You can cover up your walls with wallpaper or paint on your own or hire a professional for the job, but here are some considerations to keep in mind in this regard:
There’s a reason why people generally opt for professionals to wallpaper their walls. Wallpaper installation can be a messy and costly job, especially if you are unaware of how to go about it. While smaller chips in the wall can be easily covered by wallpaper, larger holes will need to be filled before installation.
Additionally, you must match the wallpaper pattern properly as you cover the whole room and be gentle in handling the sheets. Incorrect installation means that the wallpaper will come out sooner than it is supposed to or even tear, adding to your cost as you will then need another sheet to replace the torn section.
Even though painting your walls is a straightforward job, you will still need to fill in any imperfections in the wall before you paint, the rest is relatively easy. After the filler dries, you will need to sandpaper the wall to smoothen it. Then add a coat of primer, and paint away once the primer dries.
However, paint gives off strong odours and fumes when freshly applied, so make sure you ventilate the room by opening the windows and doors. You can also list the help of ceiling or stand fans. You will also need to protect existing furniture in the room as well as the floor from paint splatter by covering up the area with large sheets of plastic or spare bedsheets. This is especially important if you decide to spray paint your walls on your own.
How long does it take for wallpaper or paint to dry out completely? Well, let’s find out:
Wallpaper installation takes time and a certain level of expertise, but once you are done with a room, you can move your furnishings into it, and it is ready to be used. You can even wallpaper your entire home in a day if you know how to go about it.
Paint, unfortunately, needs at least a few days for each coat to dry completely, along with several coats of paint being required to give it a proper finish. Thus, a single room can take several weeks to complete, and if you do not have separate storage space, you will need to wait for the first room to completely dry before you place your furniture back into it and move on to the next room.
The debate over wallpaper vs. paint often comes down to your personal preference. However, there is a large variety available in both options:
From floral prints to geometric designs, the variety offered with wallpapers in endless. Modern printing methods have left very little to the imagination, and you can get any pattern or print for your walls that you prefer. You can even find wallpaper with cartoon characters for your kid’s bedroom or with scenic views to bring spring indoors into your living area.
Wallpaper offers a range of prints and patterns, but if you want to design your room in a single colour scheme, you might have more luck finding the perfect shade when you choose paint over wallpaper. From eggshell to lilac, a colour shade card will usually have a range of hues from the colour spectrum instead of offering just plain white or purple for your walls.
Before you make a decision, you should know exactly how long your wallpaper or paint wall finish will last. Here’s an estimate:
Wallpaper, when applied and maintained properly, can last you around 10 to 15 years, without requiring a replacement.
In contrast, paint can last around 3 to 5 years, needing a fresh coat after this period.
It is also a good idea to consider the efforts required to maintain both wallpaper and paint over the years. Let’s find out more:
A quick wipe with a wet cloth is often all it takes to keep wallpaper looking like new. However, in case of a tear, you will need to remove and replace an entire section of the wallpaper to maintain its appeal.
Paint chips and cracks easily. However, retouching paint is fairly easy and quick.
Whether you choose wallpaper or paint for your home, your primary concern will always be the safety and health of your family. Here’s how both the options measure up in this regard:
The only safety concern with regards to wallpaper is during the application process as a number of tools and glue are used to cover the wall that could be potentially harmful to young children. You should keep your kids out of the room until the application is complete. Wallpaper is relatively safe once it has been applied in any room.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for paint, as the hazardous effects of inhaling paint fumes are widely known. This is also why you should always open up the doors and windows of a newly painted room to ventilate it. Turn on the ceiling and stand fans if the room does not have an outlet for fresh air. Painted rooms are just as safe as those with wallpaper once the smell and fumes have faded.
Your home’s interior reflects your lifestyle and your personality, so what is the impression that you want to deliver to your guests? Here is what each option communicates:
If you wish to make your home look sophisticated or to convert your living space into a cosy seating area, then wallpaper should be your go-to option.
However, if you wish to keep your home light, airy, and family-friendly, paint is generally the preferred route.
The most important concern while deciding between a wallpaper vs paint wall finish is to determine what each option will cost. Here’s a quick overview:
Covering your walls with wallpaper will generally cost you more than opting for paint. However, since wallpaper has a longer lifespan, the cost does even out over time. This is only recommended though, if you do not plan on redecorating the home any time soon, as removing and redoing wallpaper is an additional cost.
Paint is cheaper and easier to refinish, but that’s only possible if you have the exact shade stored up after the initial paint job. Otherwise, redoing the walls might be a costly venture.
Location within the House
Both wallpaper and paint can be good as a wall finish for your home. However, take the size or area of the room you want to cover into consideration. Here’s a breakdown of which wall finish would be best for each room of the house:
The best rooms for a wallpaper finish are your living and dining areas as wallpaper not only adds a sophisticated charm to these spaces but also offers a longer lifespan to the most used areas of the house.
While wallpaper is available in a large range of options, unfortunately, it offers a short lifespan in rooms having a high humidity level, such as your kitchen and bathrooms. Additionally, avoid using wallpaper in a room that you may want to refinish in the near future, such as your bedroom or your children’s room, as people’s colour preferences can change with time and removing wallpaper can be a hassle.
Preparation Time for Future Changes
Walls need to be stripped bare every time you decide to change the existing wall finish. Thus, if you like revamping your interior walls from time to time, this is what you’re in for:
Well, there’s no easy way around this. Removing existing wallpaper is a tiresome and tedious job, and it cannot be done to perfection without the right tools. The stripping process can also damage the wall if care is not taken.
In contrast, if you wish to paint over a wall, all you need to do is fill in any existing cracks, sandpaper them once the filler is dry to smoothen the wall again and then prepare the wall for a new coat of paint with the help of primer paint. So, no. It’s not as simple as just dipping a brush in a paint can when you want to, but is still quicker and easier than the alternative.
Best Wall Finish for Rentals
If you are the owner of a rental property, which wall finish would be the best fit for your unit? Let’s find out:
Wallpaper is harder to maintain for tenants with kids as a single tear can require complete replacement of a segment of the wall. It is also a long-term style statement, which might fit best in your current residence but will not be ideal for a rental unit with short-term tenants.
As a rental property owner, do your tenants a favour and choose paint over wallpaper. The reason is simple. Painted walls are easy to clean with soap and water and even easier to refinish upon moving out of a rental unit, as all that your renters need to do is give the place a fresh coat of paint.
As the above factors show, there is a lot to consider when choosing wallpaper vs. paint for your walls. However, the best option is to go for a mix of the two, using patterned wallpaper for your sophisticated living spaces and painted walls for your kitchen, bathrooms, and sleeping areas.