Paint vs Wallpaper: The Age Old Debate

Wall treatments play a crucial role in defining the overall aesthetics of a space. Whether you’re designing a cozy living room, a vibrant kitchen, spa-like bathroom, or a serene bedroom, the choice between wallpaper and paint can significantly impact the look and feel of your interior. 

One of the most common questions we hear is what’s better – wallpaper or paint? The truth is there are benefits and limitations of both, and you should take into account various factors such as the benefits, limitations, costs, space considerations, and upkeep requirements before making your decision. 

To help you make the most informed decision, keep reading to learn all about wallpaper vs. paint including wallpaper cost, paint cost, choosing paint, choosing a professional painter or DIY and much more. With all options like paint and wallpaper you have to consider upfront costs, preparation time, prep work, and all the other extremely important factors we’ll dive into below.

Having trouble deciding between paint or wallpaper? Our expert home remodel team can help. Give us a call or CLICK HERE to fill out our form for a free estimate on how we can help you pick between paint and wallpaper.

Paint vs Wallpaper - the age old debate

I. Benefits of Wallpaper vs Paint

Wallpaper offers many benefits that make it an appealing choice for enhancing the aesthetics of a space. Let’s take a look at them!

A. Versatility in design and pattern options

One of the standout benefits of wallpaper is its incredible versatility in design and pattern options. From bold and vibrant patterns to subtle and delicate motifs, wallpaper offers a lot of choices to suit any style preference or design concept. Whether you’re aiming for a classic, contemporary, or eclectic look, you can find wallpapers that perfectly complement your vision.

B. Ability to create a unique and personalized look

With wallpaper, you can create a truly unique and personalized look for your space. Unlike paint, which offers a range of colors but limited designs, wallpaper allows you to showcase your personality and express your creativity. Whether you prefer floral patterns, geometric shapes, or abstract designs, wallpaper provides a canvas for self-expression.

You can also mix and match different wallpapers to create a distinctive feature wall or combine complementary patterns to achieve a cohesive and visually appealing effect. 

C. Wallpaper can conceal wall imperfections more effectively

Wallpaper excels at concealing imperfections, making it a fantastic solution for older homes or spaces with uneven surfaces. Whether there are minor cracks, dents, or uneven textures, wallpaper can effectively camouflage these flaws, providing a smoother and more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

D. Durability and longevity of wallpaper compared to paint

High-quality wallpaper is designed to withstand the test of time, maintaining its original appearance for many years. Wallpaper is less prone to fading, chipping, or wear, ensuring that your investment lasts longer and requires less frequent maintenance.

Wallpaper is also more resistant to stains and can be easily cleaned, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas or rooms prone to dirt or smudges. Plus, it may be easier to install wallpaper than you think!

E. Types of wallpaper

When exploring wallpaper, you’ll find various types, each offering unique characteristics and benefits. Some common types of wallpaper include:

  • Vinyl Wallpaper: This type of wallpaper is known for its durability, moisture resistance, and ease of maintenance. It’s an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, or areas with high humidity.

  • Textured Wallpaper: Textured wallpaper adds depth and dimension to the walls, creating a visually appealing tactile experience. It can range from subtle textures to more pronounced patterns, allowing you to enhance the overall design concept of the room.

  • Peel and Stick Wallpaper: This self-adhesive wallpaper is a popular option for DIY enthusiasts as it is easy to install and remove without leaving residue or damaging the walls. It provides flexibility and allows for quick updates or changes in the future.

II. Limitations of Wallpaper

While hanging wallpaper offers a range of benefits, it also comes with a few limitations you should consider. 

A. Difficulty in changing or updating the design

One of the primary limitations of wallpaper is the challenge it presents when it comes to changing or updating the design. Unlike paint, which can be updated with a fresh coat, removing wallpaper is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. 

B. Higher initial cost and professional installation requirement

Another consideration when it comes to wallpaper is the higher initial cost compared to paint. Wallpaper typically involves not only the cost of the materials themselves but also professional installation. While there are DIY options available, the intricacy and complexity of certain wallpaper designs may require the expertise of a professional to ensure a flawless finish.

The need for professional installation can add to the overall cost of wallpapering a room or space. It is essential to include these expenses in your budget when considering wallpaper as a wall treatment option.

C. Vulnerability to damage from moisture or humidity

Wallpaper, especially in certain types, may be more vulnerable to damage from moisture or humidity. In areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms where moisture levels are higher, wallpaper may not be the most practical choice. Excessive moisture can cause the wallpaper to peel, bubble, or become discolored over time.

If you do choose to use wallpaper in these areas, it’s crucial to select moisture-resistant options and ensure proper ventilation to minimize potential damage. However, it’s worth noting that even with moisture-resistant wallpaper, prolonged exposure to high humidity levels can still pose a risk.

D. Limited application on certain surfaces or uneven walls

Wallpaper may have limitations in terms of its application on certain surfaces. While it can be used on various types of walls, including drywall and plaster, it may not adhere well to surfaces that are heavily textured. Uneven surfaces can cause air bubbles or wrinkles in the wallpaper, compromising its overall appearance.

It’s essential to carefully prepare the walls before applying wallpaper to ensure a smooth and even surface. In some cases, additional wall preparation, such as skim coating or sanding, may be necessary to achieve the best results. If your walls have extensive imperfections or unevenness, it’s worth considering other wall treatment options, such as paint, that can provide a more seamless finish.

wall paint or existing wallpaper

III. Benefits of Paint vs Wallpaper

Paint is a popular and versatile wall treatment option offering a range of benefits. What’s better than fresh paint, right? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using interior paint over wallpaper. Most people automatically think that paint wins, so let’s see if they’re right.

A. Wide range of color options and customization possibilities for painted walls

One of the benefits of paint is the extensive range of color options available. Whether you prefer soft and neutral tones, vibrant and bold hues, or anything in between, paint allows you to choose from a vast palette to suit your style and desired aesthetic. With countless color variations, you can easily find the perfect shade to complement your furniture, décor, and overall design concept.

Paint offers customization possibilities beyond just color. You can experiment with different finishes, such as matte, satin, or gloss, to achieve the desired look and feel in your space. Whether you want a sleek and modern finish or a more traditional and textured appearance, paint allows you to tailor the finish to your preferences.

B. Wall Paint is easy to apply and cost-effective for DIY projects

Paint is known for its ease of application, making it an attractive option for DIY enthusiasts. With basic tools such as brushes, rollers, and painter’s tape, you can achieve professional-looking results with patience and practice. A painting project can be seen as the way to go due to the ease of choosing a paint color and then applying paint using the right tools.

This accessibility empowers homeowners to take on painting projects themselves, saving on labor costs and allowing for more creativity and control over the outcome.

C. Quick and easy to change or update the color

One of the standout benefits of paint is its ability to be quickly and easily changed or updated. With a new coat of paint, you can completely transform the atmosphere and aesthetics of a space.

Unlike wallpaper, which requires time-consuming removal processes, paint can be easily painted over or changed with a different color. This flexibility allows you to experiment with different colors and styles, adapting to evolving design trends or personal preferences.

D. Suitable for various surfaces and wall textures

Paint is highly versatile and can be used on drywall, plaster, wood, and metal. This versatility makes paint a suitable choice for various rooms and surfaces.

IV. Limitations of Paint vs Wallpaper

While paint offers numerous benefits, it also comes with some limitations.

A. Limited pattern and texture options compared to wallpaper

One of the primary limitations of paint is its limited pattern and texture options compared to wallpaper. While paint allows for a wide range of color choices, it lacks the ability to incorporate intricate patterns or textures directly on the walls. If you desire a highly decorative or visually complex look, wallpaper may be a more suitable option.

Although techniques like faux painting and stenciling can add some pattern or texture effects to painted walls, they may not match the level of detail and sophistication that wallpaper can offer. It’s important to consider the design goals for your space and assess whether paint alone can achieve the desired visual impact.

B. Less effective in hiding wall imperfections

Unlike wallpaper, which can effectively conceal wall imperfections, paint is less successful in hiding flaws and may not completely mask minor cracks, dents, or uneven textures on the walls. 

If you have walls with noticeable imperfections, additional wall preparation, such as filling in cracks or applying a primer, may be necessary before painting. Assess the condition of your walls and consider whether they require more extensive repairs or if another wall treatment option, like wallpaper, would be better suited for achieving a flawless finish.

C. Susceptible to chipping, fading, and wear over time

Painted walls are susceptible to chipping, fading, and wear over time, especially in high-traffic areas or spaces exposed to direct sunlight. Constant use, accidental impacts, or regular cleaning can cause the paint to chip or peel, requiring touch-ups or repainting to maintain a fresh and pristine appearance.

V. Difference in Cost: Paint vs Wallpaper

When choosing a wall treatment, consider the difference in cost between wallpaper and paint.

A. Wallpaper Costs

Material Costs: The cost of wallpaper can vary significantly depending on factors such as the brand, quality, design, and type of wallpaper chosen. Wallpaper prices range from relatively affordable options to more high-end and luxurious choices. 

Installation Costs: Professional installation is often recommended for wallpaper to ensure a flawless finish. The cost of professional installation can vary based on factors such as the complexity of the design, the size of the space, and the rates charged by the installer. 

B. Paint Costs

Material Costs: Paint is generally more cost-effective compared to wallpaper, especially when considering the initial investment. The cost of the paint varies depending on the brand, quality, and quantity needed for your project. You may also need to purchase other supplies such as brushes, rollers, painter’s tape, and drop cloths.

DIY vs. Professional Interior Painting: DIY painting projects can significantly reduce labor costs, but you sacrifice time and effort. On the other hand, hiring professional painters will involve additional expenses, including their fees or hourly rates.

C. Cost Considerations

Longevity and Maintenance: Wallpaper, known for its durability, can last for several years or even decades without needing replacement. Paint may require more frequent repainting or touch-ups, which can add to the long-term costs.

Design Changes: Wallpaper can be challenging to change but offers lasting design that may eliminate the need for frequent updates. Paint allows for easier and quicker color changes when you desire a fresh look, but it may entail additional costs for new paint materials and labor.

paint or wallpaper

Work With Bonsai Builders for Your Luxury Home Project 

Still not sure if you should go with paint vs wallpaper? Both wallpaper and paint have their pros and cons so it may be hard to decide if you want a painted wall or wallpapered walls. Partner with Bonsai Builders and get the guidance you deserve! Working with a reputable and experienced builder is essential to ensure a successful and satisfying outcome.  We’re renowned for our expertise and craftsmanship and offer a unique approach to luxury home construction.

Our dedication to craftsmanship, attention to detail, customization, collaboration with skilled artisans, commitment to sustainability, and exceptional project management sets us apart. Contact us today to discuss a project!

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