Should you Wallpaper or Paint Your Walls? Six Things to Consider…

Should you wallpaper or paint your walls?

It’s the most common decorating dilemma there is.

Your walls are a key element in setting the interior design direction for the rest of your room. And how you decorate them is what transforms a space from a house to a home.

So, it’s important to be objective and make an informed decision about whether wallpaper, paint (or even a mix of the two) is right for you.

Some things to consider are the variety and choices available, how easy they are to apply, and the durability and cost of each one.

1. Variety

Wallpaper and paint both come in a vast range of colours. With paint, you can choose from a few different finishes. But wallpaper offers more variety with various patterns, textures and combinations of colours.

From modern geometrics and contemporary metallics to fabulous florals and tropical greenery, you’re spoilt for choice with wallpaper.

Comparing this to paint, despite a huge range of colours (and every shade in between), paint doesn’t have the pop of pattern and textured touch that wallpaper can add to your interiors.

That said, if you have a statement piece of furniture or artwork that you’d like to take centre stage, paint is perfect for creating a subtle backdrop without any competing patterns.

But if you want your walls to steal the show with an expressive print or sophisticated shimmer, our wide variety of wallpapers will give you that wow factor.

2. Preparation

Whether you choose wallpaper or paint, you’ll still need to do a little prep work before you start. To prepare your walls for decorating, you should fill any holes, sand them down and wash your wall to get as smooth a finish as possible. 

Painting requires a near-perfect surface for a good result. But if there are still a few lumps and bumps, wallpaper can help to hide those imperfections. 

With paint, there’s also extra preparation time needed to clear the room or cover furniture and flooring to protect against splashes. Then there’s the task of masking the edges of your walls, sockets and skirting boards to achieve clean lines.

Neither of these steps is required when wallpapering as it creates much less mess – meaning much less prep.

3. Application

It’s easy to get started with paint. You can just open the tin and grab a brush with no measuring, cutting or pasting involved. But what’s often not considered is the multiple coats of paint you’ll need to get perfect coverage.

Even high quality, expensive paint needs two or three coats to look its best. Given that each coat needs time to dry in between, painting a room yourself can often take several days to finish.

For that reason, learning how to hang wallpaper is quickly becoming a popular option. It might require a bit more planning, but you only need to cover your wall once, meaning you can finish the job in just half a day. And with more paste the wall wallpapers on the market than ever before, applying wallpaper has never been easier.

Paste the wall wallpaper means that you can apply your paste directly to the wall without needing a traditional pasting table. It requires fewer tools than painting, creates much less mess and when the time comes, it’s easy to remove.

4. Suitability

Whether wallpaper or paint is the right choice for you can also depend on suitability. You should consider the age of your property, condition of your walls and which room you’re decorating.

Paint can be more forgiving in period properties where walls are wonky and it’s more difficult to match drops of wallpaper. But if you’re dealing with damaged walls, wallpaper can do an excellent job of masking those imperfections – meaning you don’t have to worry about replastering.

As for which room you’re decorating, bathrooms and kitchens can take the most forethought. Not all wallpapers are suitable for high humidity areas as the moisture can cause them to lift and peel. That’s why painting has historically been the go-to choice for these two rooms.

But even then, choosing the right paint finish is important.

Paints with a silk finish can highlight even the slightest imperfection. And paints with a chalky matt finish can be easily scuffed and tend to absorb moisture.

As well as being high in humidity, bathrooms and kitchens are also high traffic areas, so an eggshell or satin paint finish is the best choice. With a surface sheen, they’re both washable options suitable for use in damp and steamy environments.

But paint is no longer the only choice when it comes to decorating bathrooms and kitchens. There is now a huge range of waterproof wallpapers available to transform your walls from plain to patterned.

Our bathroom wallpapers and kitchen wallpapers are designed to handle humidity and water splashes, making them suitable to use in the two trickiest rooms of the house.

5. Durability

If you’re not one for redecorating often, durability should also be a top consideration when deciding between wallpaper and paint.

Other factors, such as small children and pets, can also increase the need for durability. And if you’re decorating a high traffic area like your hallway or landing, your walls need to be tough against wear and tear.

When comparing the two, wallpaper typically has a much longer lifespan than paint. 

We’re sure you’ll want to update your look more often than this, but wallpaper can last for as long as 15 years. Granted, if you take good care of a painted wall, that can last for up to ten years. But its lifespan is much shorter in high traffic areas at just three to five years – and that’s with frequent touch-ups too.

This difference in lifespan comes down to the fact that paint can chip and mark easily, especially those with a matt finish. Silk options are typically wipeable, but tough marks are hard to remove.

Good quality wallpaper can stand the test of time – and the wear and tear that comes with it; especially our washable wallpaper options. With this range of wallpapers, you can remove most marks and stains easily with a rinsed sponge.

6. Cost

So, what costs more, wallpaper or paint?

How much it costs to paint and wallpaper varies, but painting a room has long been considered the cheaper option. Partly because many people think they’ll have to pay a professional decorator to install their wallpaper. Painting, they can do themselves.

But new applications like paste the wall are actually making wallpaper the more cost-effective decorating decision. It’s easy to hang, no professionals or pasting tables needed, and you don’t have to spend a fortune – our prices start from just £15 per roll.

It’s also worth remembering that, while you can pick up a 2.5L tin of paint for as little as £8, cheaper paints typically require more coats, and this can hike up the cost of this option in the long run. 

There are also additional, long-term savings to be made with wallpaper, as its durability means it lasts five to ten years longer than paint.

The best of both worlds

All things considered, choosing between wallpaper and paint can still be a difficult decision to make. But variety is the spice of life, right? And our range of wallpaper has that in abundance.

That said, a combination of both wallpaper and paint can often create the most desirable finish.

Wallpaper is perfect for creating a stunning feature wall, and pairing it with the right paint can balance and accentuate your choice.

We’re as proud of our extensive range of paints as we are our wallpapers. So, look out for our paint suggestions alongside each of our wallpapers to help you style your room. Shop now.

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