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Aarushi | 10 Jun 2022

Wallpaper vs Paint: What to choose for your home?

Wallpaper vs Paint: What to choose for your home?

Here's our wallpaper vs paint comparison guide on style, durability, lifespan, cost, ease of installation and what's best for your interior design.

One of the greatest joys of a homeowner is being able to make it up or update and redesign it according to their own tastes and preferences. There is a special kind of satisfaction that can be derived from adding a touch of your own taste to your favourite personal spaces.

However, the main challenge of redesigning the house is the constant struggle for aesthetics, durability, maintenance and price. This is when deciding between using wallpaper or paint.

Wallpaper vs. paint design

Design variety is everything when it comes to updating the home and this is a decision you should always make when deciding between using wallpaper or paint. Here are a few things to consider:

Wallpaper: This material offers a wide range from various geometric patterns to stripes and flowers, or even stencilled designs.

Wallpaper is especially pleasing to the imagination and creativity of someone planning to redesign their home. It has a more generous feel.

You can depict whole scenes and paint a whole story on your walls with wallpaper. You can have a garden scene or a sunrise scene, the beach or anything you can grow, literally.

Quirky rooms can have quirky children's room designs like cartoon characters.

Paint: Conversely, paint can cover up any imperfections in the walls. Colour and texture blocking can also be done. 

With the right type of primer and final match, you can find very interesting wall designs.

This works especially well for bright, bold colours and can really set the mood depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Wallpaper vs. paint durability

Wallpaper and paint can offer a wide range of patterns and colours. With the right choices, your overall lifestyle and home environment can be greatly enhanced. However, in terms of durability, each option comes with its own choice of merits.

Wallpaper: This material can be very durable and works very well for children's spaces in particular. Many types of wallpaper can withstand a lot of wear and tear, making it perfect for areas of the home that retain a lot of activity and foot traffic.

Specific quality wallpaper types can require a lot of scrubbing and cleaning. All you have to keep in mind is that the wallpaper is applied with a layer of adhesive.

This means that this may not be ideal for use in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens, as they can easily peel off the wall.

Paint: Painting a wall offers an economical way to enhance the space and is easier to apply.

High-gloss and semi-gloss types can be very durable and are highly recommended for mouldings, doors, etc.

Satin, matt gloss and egg flour finishes are recommended for interior walls. Read more about the best paint finish for your living room here.

However, a disadvantage of paint is that when damage is done to walls, such as scratches and dings, the paint tends to flake and may require repainting work to repair.

How long does a wallpaper last?

Wallpaper can last up to 15 years with proper care. Sometimes it can go beyond that.

This makes it cost-effective and a permanent option to go ahead and decorate certain rooms in the house. It has been observed that wallpaper can last 3 times longer than a normal paint job.

How long does paint lasts

Being able to stay on the walls and maintain their aesthetics varies depending on the type of paint used in the first place.

The long and short answer is that all types of paint can break down after a certain amount of time. Here's a chart that can guide you if you plan to redesign your home.

Latex paint: This life span is 2 to 10 years.

Acrylic paint: This shelf life is between 2 and 15 years.

Chalk paint: This shelf life is between 1 and 5 years.

Pre-mixed milk paint in liquid form: This shelf life is between 1 and 2 years.

Premixed milk paint in powder form: This shelf life is between 1 and 2 years.

Is it easier to paint or wallpaper?

Wallpaper: Putting up wallpaper in your home is a very skilled job. You should be wary of getting cheap labour or hiring unskilled workers, as they may not adhere well to your walls, may come off the bat or tear easily.

This is not the kind of thing you can DIY, so implementing it is definitely much more technical than a basic paint job. However, for the time needed, only a single wallpaper application is required and a medium-sized house can be completed per day.

Painting: In contrast, you can paint completely with the right tools and you only have the basics. You certainly don't need any outside help if you have the enthusiasm for it.

In case you don't have the time to do it yourself, it's fine to hire cheap or unskilled labour and you won't have to burn a hole in your finances.

However, it takes a while to dry completely. It will take 2 to 3 coats of paint to do a good paint job. This means it would take several days or even weeks to dry.

Cost of paint vs. wallpaper

Wallpaper: While costs can vary greatly depending on the quality of wallpaper you have chosen, in general, it will always be more expensive than paint.

There are other types of wallpaper options, but this may cost less than the others, so you can definitely put your choices there. However, in the long run, wallpaper tends to last longer than paint, so even though it costs more initially, it may cost less in the long run.

Paint: Paint is something that costs less on the front end. The amount of supplies needed is fairly simple and minimal compared to wallpaper which will require adhesives, special tools and the main wallpaper material.

Which rooms to use for wallpaper vs paint

Wallpaper is making a big comeback in the world of home design, and for good reason. It can be a little scary to get this option if you're a bit fierce with design choices, as you'd have to rip it all out and start from scratch if you change your mind.

On the other hand, it can make a big difference to the room you are trying to redesign. Wallpaper can be ideal for the following spaces in the home:

Bedroom: It can add a visual effect to the room without taking over the whole bedroom design. It can showcase the bed and create a focal point out of it and can take you into the space as a whole.

Nursery: It can add a visual effect to the room without taking over the whole design of the bedroom.

Nursery: Wallpaper can make your nursery walls pop. You can look earthy or choose more whimsical designs. Whatever choice you may have, wallpaper can really make it happen for you.

Nurseries are often small spaces and painting them entirely in one colour can make them even smaller. Wallpapering allows you to place individual accents against the wall, maximising the appearance of the space throughout.

Living room: Living room wallpaper allows you to insert patterns and blend well with the other elements of the space such as the couch, coffee table, some lamps, chairs, etc.

There is little decoration you can have to have a big impact on the space you are trying to design.

Dining room and home office: These spaces can really benefit from a little bit of customisation and this is what makes wallpaper so much fun. You can completely transform these rooms in the house without spending a lot of money on expensive art pieces.

Paint: Paint is ideal for areas prone to mould, dampness and moisture. This makes it perfect for the outside of the house or for areas that tend to get wet and dirty all the time, such as the bathroom, window trim, kitchen and laundry room.

Are the walls ruined by wallpaper?

Removing wallpaper can be a big problem. Removing existing wallpaper can damage walls if not done correctly. You will need the right tools and chemicals to correct this.

Moisture and dampness also tend to get trapped between the layers of wallpaper stuck to the wall. So the answer to this is that, with improper processes, your walls can be destroyed.

Wallpaper lasts much longer than paint. This means that this can significantly reduce additional costs in the future. If you want to get the most for your money, wallpaper is the obvious choice. On the other hand, there are also some advantages to using paint.

Paint is cheaper and easier to apply than wallpaper. It is easy to bend or paint over in case of accidents. Also, if you want to change your mind about the design, you can easily paint it.

For longevity and long-term cost, wallpaper is the way to go. For design and ultimate cost, paint is the obvious choice.

Also read: Wallpaper Ideas for a Modern Bedroom


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