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Can You Put Wallpaper on Textured Walls?

So you’ve picked out some stylish wallpaper that’s going to spruce up your home. But you just remembered: That wall you were planning on papering is textured! 

a home office featuring white brick peel and stick wallpaper

Just like that, your mind is full of questions. Do I need to choose new wallpaper now? Can you put wallpaper on textured walls at all? Is this going to change how I need to decorate the rest of the room? 

If your wall’s a little bumpy, no need to be jumpy. We’re here to give you the low-down on putting wallpaper on textured walls, including how you can make your walls smooth enough for wallpaper.

Can You Put Wallpaper on Textured Walls? 

The short answer is that yes, you can sometimes put wallpaper on a lightly textured wall. However, here are the caveats:

  • Depending on how thin the wallpaper is, the wall texture may show through it. This might be OK for you, or you might not like how it looks. 
  • Thick wall textures that stand far out from the wall might not take wallpaper at all. You may need to skim them with a joint compound or apply lining paper to provide the wallpaper with a flat surface to adhere to. 
  • Applying wallpaper in bathrooms and kitchens still comes with all of the usual cautions. 

Wallpaper Selection Tips

Your choice of wallpaper can have a major effect on how it looks over a textured wall. Here are some tips to follow for choosing better wallpaper to apply on your textured walls: 

  • Light colored wallpaper will show underlying textures more than darker colored wallpaper will. 
  • On a textured wall, peel and stick wallpaper is often a better choice because it’s both easier to apply and easier to remove than traditional wallpaper. 
  • Before you commit to hanging an entire sheet of wallpaper on a textured wall, cut off a small piece and apply it to the wall as a test. Look at whether the texture shows underneath the wallpaper and how well the wallpaper is able to stick.

Discover Peel and Stick Wallpaper Options for Your Home

Choosing the right wallpaper is one half, and the other half is preparing your wall correctly. That’s what we’ll talk about next. 

a person applying white spackle to a wall

Source: kasarp studio/Shutterstock

Applying a Skim Coat

If you have a thicker wall texture, or if you just want a flatter wall for your wallpaper, skimming it with a coat of joint compound might be the way to go. This process creates a layer of smooth compound that the wallpaper will cling to more easily.

Here’s a basic process for skim coating your walls. You don’t necessarily have to use two or more coats, but it will make your walls smoother and improve your results. 

  • Clean and dry your walls thoroughly to remove dirt and dust before applying any wallpaper.
  • Apply a coat of drywall primer to your walls. Use sealer compound to fix holes, ripped drywall paper or anything else that makes the wall uneven. Wait for the sealer compound to harden and the drywall primer to dry completely. 
  • Mix up some joint compound until it’s the approximate consistency of mayonnaise and then apply it to the walls via a heavy-nap roller. Apply a section about four feet square and then smooth it down before moving on to the next section. 
  • Use a squeegee knife to smooth down the joint compound, starting at the top corner and pulling downward. When working on a section below the halfway point of the wall, start at the bottom corner and pull upward instead. This motion might take you a little bit of practice to master, but it’ll produce smoother results. 
  • Allow the first coat to dry and use a putty knife to remove lumps and ridges.
  • Apply another coat, going in the opposite direction as your first coat. When it’s dry, use 120-grit sandpaper to smooth it out and then prime and seal again.

Applying Lining Paper

Lining paper is the other common material for smoothing out a textured wall. This stuff is exactly what it sounds like: Thick paper with an adhesive backing that you can apply to textured walls before applying wallpaper. It’s available from most home improvement stores.

Typically, lining paper is hung in horizontal strips rather than vertical ones. You’ll place each piece 1 mm apart to prevent ridges from forming. Take an edged tool like a putty knife and smooth it out the way you would other wallpaper. Then, prime it, seal it and apply whatever wallpaper you want on top. 

a bedroom featuring camden peel and stick wallpaper

Fathead’s peel and stick wallpaper is the premier choice for homeowners with all kinds of walls. Before you apply, don’t forget to read our guide on how to apply peel and stick wallpaper so you can protect your walls and get a great look. And make sure to check out our full peel and stick wallpaper selection, including our new backsplash options.

Learn How to Apply Peel and Stick Wallpaper Here

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