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The Pros & Cons of Wallpapering vs Painting

Whenever you’re looking for a way to breathe new life into your colourless walls, you have the opportunity to choose between a huge number of options these days. From creating a gallery wall to adding bricks or even a mural – the choices are endless. However, most homeowners usually gravitate towards two options – paint or wallpaper.

Both of these have their own advantages, but the right option will depend on your needs and wishes. For instance, a dramatic room can instantly be made airy and soft with the application of light pale paint colour. On the other hand, a room that feels too big can start feeling cosy with the help of a darker wallpaper with a striking pattern.

wallpaper vs paint

Source: Zameen.com

To make your choice easier, take a look at how wallpaper and paint compare on some essential factors such as the preparation, durability, variety, cost.



  • Variety. Wallpapering offers unlimited designs to choose from – from solid blue wallpaper to add a relaxing mood all the way to stripes, flowers and all kinds of interesting patterns to make a bold statement. It also comes in many different finishes, such as vinyl, fabric, foil printed, embossed textures, suede and many more. The wallpaper designs can range from elegant classical motifs to peppy contemporary ones.
blue wallpaper calming effect

Source: Pinterest

Another advantage of wallpapers is that you can get any image you desire painted on the wallpaper and have it installed in your home, thanks to the process of 3D printing. You also have the opportunity to choose out of many different shades of one and the same colour to create the exact effect you have imagined. For instance, you can have different shades of blue, such as light blue wallpaper, dark blue wallpaper, navy blue wallpaper.

  • Durability. Wallpapers are very durable and can last up to 15 years with proper care. They will hold up to wear and tear of children, high traffic areas and many of the varieties are scrubbable.
  • Cost. You will need fewer tools to prepare and install it. A plastic smoother, for instance, usually costs less than $5.
  • Cleaning. The cleaning of wallpapers is very easy. You can keep it clean by regular vacuuming or by using wipes. Or, you can just do it with a regular cloth or a broom. Tip: Always first test any unconventional method on an inconspicuous part of the wallpaper to test for possible unwanted reactions. For easier cleaning, make sure to pick a washable wallpaper.


  • Durability. Even though I’ve said wallpaper can last long with proper care, that depends on the conditions it’s exposed to. Wallpaper is applied with an adhesive, and this means that high moisture bathrooms and kitchens may cause wallpaper to peel away from the wall. So, if you want to use wallpaper, make sure that the room isn’t exposed to high levels of humidity.
  • Hard to Remove. Removing existing wallpaper can be a dull task which requires patience and the right tools to be executed. If it’s not done with care, the wall can be easily damaged.



  • Variety. There are as many varieties of paint available in the market today as you could conceive in your mind. It is literally available in every colour that you can imagine. Paints also come in different base types (water and oil based paints) and different finishes (matte, semi-gloss and gloss, eggshell, satin finish, etc).
  • Durability. Depending on the finish, paint is a good option for those areas that need to have a durable treatment. Semi-gloss to high gloss paints are regarded long-lasting and usually, they are reserved for bathrooms, trims, exterior doors, etc. On the other hand, satin, eggshell and sometimes flat sheens are used on interior walls.
  • Cost. Paints are a significantly cheaper option in comparison with the wallpapers. Covering the same amount of space with paint is cheaper than doing so with wallpapers. Even if you choose only the best of all materials, it should not cost you more than wallpaper. Plus, painting requires very few supplies, and an amateur can do it.
  • Preparation. Painting requires significantly less preparation time in comparison with wallpaper. If you are painting over a damaged wall, prepare imperfections with spackle and then let it dry for 24 hours. Applying primer paint in advance to painting over darker colour paint will make your painting preparation much easier.


  • No Ability to Create Intricate Effects. It is possible to create intricate designs and patterns with paint, but it consumes a lot of time to do it. Plus, you will need an artist to do it, and obviously, this can cost a lot. If you want walls with detailed designs, wallpaper is your friend.
  • Durability. If the wall gets damaged, scraped or hit, paint can chip and you will have to repair and repaint. Generally, a room will need to be repainted every 3 to 5 years, sometimes maybe even more frequently in high traffic areas.