Home Improvement

Wallpaper or Paint – Which Is Better?

Is there a poorly decorated room in your house that you’ve had your eye on for a while? One that seems old fashioned, or desperately needs refurbishment? Perhaps you’re just tired of its look and want to redecorate. If you’ve decided to change things up, you’re probably going to start with the walls.

That brings us to the big question – should you paint or wallpaper the room? Is wallpaper or paint cheaper? Which will last longer?

Deciding between paint and wallpaper can be difficult. It usually depends on your specific needs and preferences, but there are some things to consider when it comes to that. In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of paint and wallpaper, so read on!

Table of Contents:

So, if you are:

  • Thinking of redecorating a room;
  • Wondering whether to choose wallpaper or paint;
  • Looking for the pros and cons of each,

Then this article is for you!

Paint – pros and cons

There are many undeniable advantages to choosing paint over wallpaper. Lots of people prefer the simplistic style that a coat of neutral paint can create. Others find it fun to get their hands and overalls dirty and take it on as a DIY project.

Here is what to keep in mind when wondering whether to paint or wallpaper the walls:

Colour and finish

Paint comes in a vast array of colours and finishes. From textured to flat or gloss, you have so many options that you will undoubtedly be able to choose the perfect one. One great benefit of paint vs wallpaper is the possibility to achieve an exact match to the colour of your choice. Yes, your walls and your favourite living room centrepiece can complement each other perfectly!

For fans of textured walls, however, paint might not do the trick. While it is possible to create a textured finish using additives, achieving a pattern or design with paint can prove to be difficult.

If you’ve decided to paint a high-traffic room, washable paint can be your best friend. Having a washable coat of paint on your walls can make cleaning a breeze! A glossier paint finish can be a great choice for high moisture areas like kitchens and bathrooms, too, as it will not peel off the wall as wallpaper would.

If you’ve decided to paint your bathroom, consider how damp it gets before picking up the paint tins. Matte paint can absorb moisture, so it’s not the best option. Glossier finishes, like eggshell and satin, will work just fine, but your bathroom still needs to be well-ventilated. It’s not mandatory, but you can always opt for mould-inhibiting paint, just to be on the safe side.


While paint is a pretty durable option, it can chip if the wall gets damaged, so you may need to take extra care not to do so, especially in high-traffic areas. It also has a shorter lifespan than wallpaper, showing its wear after a few years. You may need to touch it up every now and then to keep it looking fresh.


Another appealing aspect of paint vs wallpaper is how easy it is to apply. You don’t need that much preparation beforehand and you don’t have to be a skilled decorator to paint a room like a pro.

The downside is that most colours and finishes need more than one coat, which means you have to wait for the walls to dry before applying them. This can sometimes take several days, depending on the size of the room and the number of people working. If you decide to paint the room yourself, make sure to cover your furniture and floors to avoid making a mess.

So, is paint or wallpaper cheaper? Well, it depends on how you look at it. While paint is generally cheaper to buy and be applied professionally, the fact that it needs touch-ups every few years can make it less cost-effective in the long run. Naturally, this will depend on the type and quality of paint you choose in the first place.

If you’ve chosen to paint a room yourself, you’ll need to know how to dispose of the unused paint afterwards; you can’t just chuck it in the bin.

Now then, let’s summarise the pros and cons of paint:


  • Cheaper initial investment
  • Easy to change colours
  • Easy to apply
  • Various colours and finishes, textured options
  • Less preparation required
  • Can be good for humid areas
  • Professional painting is cheaper


  • Can look worn after a few years
  • Can chip if the wall is damaged
  • Needs touch-ups every few years
  • Textured paint can be hard to remove
  • Some types of paint have a strong odour
  • Creating patterns and designs is difficult
You may also like:
Painting and Decorating Tips
How to Remove Paint From Walls – Expert Tips and Tricks

Wallpaper – pros and cons

Wallpaper is still a favourite around some households, despite it slowly losing its popularity. Its numerous designs and patterns can make for an impressive feature wall in any room.

However, it’s not all fun and games, as there are both advantages and disadvantages when comparing wallpaper vs paint. Let’s take a look at them:

Colour and finish

Wallpaper comes in endless designs, colours, patterns, and textures. It’s safe to say there is one out there for every taste. With the advances in printing technology, wallpaper became increasingly common in people’s homes. It has lost some of that popularity, sure, but it is still used in many design projects. The impressive finishes and patterns can create stunning accents in otherwise dull rooms, changing their look completely.

If you want a simple colour with some texture or an embossed pattern, wallpaper can provide that for you, too! There are many types of solid-colour wallpaper available, both flat and embossed, for that subtle look.

For high-traffic rooms, you might want to look into washable wallpaper – it will make cleaning it much more manageable.


Apart from the look, one major advantage of wallpaper vs paint is that it lasts longer. If applied properly, it can easily last 10-15 years. This makes it perfect for those who don’t want to redecorate every few years.

However, it can be an issue if you decide you want to change things up, as wallpaper can be difficult to remove. Some modern varieties – strippable wallpaper in particular – have solved this problem and are specifically designed for easy application and removal. This makes it easier to redecorate the room when the time comes.

You may also like:
Painting and Decorating Tips
How to Remove Old Wallpaper – 5 Simple Methods

And, speaking of…


While it absolutely is possible for you to DIY it, pasting wallpaper requires more preparation and can be harder than it looks. Matching and aligning the patterns is one aspect some struggle with; another drawback can be the air bubbles and peeling corners that may appear from improper application.

Overall, if you don’t trust yourself and don’t want to end up with a mess of a wall, then you’d best leave wallpaper to the specialists. This can be more costly than getting your room professionally painted, but it will save you money in the long run.

When it comes to kitchens or bathrooms, in the debate of wallpaper vs paint, wallpaper is, unfortunately, the loser.. The moisture can weaken the glue and cause the paper to start peeling off the walls. If you will be redecorating a high-moisture room, it is best to stick to paint or tiles.

So, let’s go over the pros and cons of wallpaper once more:


  • Various colours, finishes, and designs
  • Textured and embossed options
  • Good for low-moisture areas, such as dining rooms, living rooms, and bedrooms
  • Self-adhesive options
  • Lasts longer
  • Some wallpaper types are paintable


  • The initial investment can be more expensive
  • Requires more preparation
  • Getting it done professionally can be costly
  • Not suitable for bathrooms and kitchens
  • Removal can be difficult
  • Proper application is time-consuming

Paintable wallpaper – the best of both worlds

While it is possible to paint over regular wallpaper, experts recommend that you take it down beforehand. However, there are types of wallpaper that are specifically designed with painting in mind.

Paintable varieties can give you the sturdiness of wallpaper, combined with the simplicity and colour variation of paint. They come in a white or cream colour, ready to be painted in a shade of your choice. You can select a pattern you love and the perfect colour to match your decor. Or just leave the wallpaper blank for a simpler, sleek look!

So, if you’re wondering whether to go for wallpaper or paint, why not have both?

Are your walls in need of redecorating?

If you want to change a room’s look, but don’t want to go through the trouble of doing it yourself – fear not! Fantastic Services offers a painting and decorating service that can transform your space in no time. The professional painters are equipped with everything they need to complete the job and will prepare the room prior to decorating it. Your home will be left looking fresh and spotless afterwards!

If you decide to go with wallpaper, we can help, too! The specialists can take old wallpaper off the walls and apply your fresh, new design. Whether you want to wallpaper the whole room or create a feature wall, Fantastic Services can handle the hard work for you.

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  • Both paint and wallpaper come in a variety of colours and finishes.
  • Wallpaper is more expensive initially but can save you money in the long run.
  • You can colour match paint exactly.
  • Paint will show its wear after a few years and will need touch-ups.
  • Wallpaper is suitable for high-traffic areas, but not high-moisture rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • There are paintable types of wallpaper.
  • Paint is easier to apply by yourself.

Sometimes, neither paint nor wallpaper will do the trick. If you’d like to make your room look even more interesting, take a look at this blog post about types of wall coverings that are sure to catch the eye!


Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any experience with painting or wallpapering a room? Share it with us in the comments!

Image source: shutterstock / topseller, JasminkaM

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