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Wallpaper vs. Paint: Which Is Best for Your Room?

Choosing between wallpaper and paint is like choosing between pizza and tacos, or a massage and a mani-pedi, or a vacation in Bermuda and one in Italy. Some might prefer one or the other, but both have something to offer in the right time and place. 

a bedroom featuring edgemont peel and stick wallpaper

So how are you supposed to make a decision about the question of wallpaper vs. paint for your space? It’s time to compare and contrast the advantages of paint and wallpaper. We’ll look at what each option has to offer and how to decide which is right for the room you’re decorating. 

Wallpaper vs. Paint: Ease of Application

There’s no way around it: Applying traditional wallpaper is a pain. The process involves applying a sticky paste to your walls and then carefully aligning each piece of wallpaper on top of it and laboriously smoothing it, hoping that you didn’t mess anything up. 

However, Fathead’s peel and stick wallpaper has changed the conversation. This thick vinyl wallpaper includes an adhesive backing that makes application fast and easy. Once you understand how to apply peel and stick wallpaper, the process goes so quickly that you may be able to cover several rooms in a few hours. 

Learn How to Apply Peel and Stick Wallpaper Here

What about painting? The actual act of painting your walls is relatively straightforward, so long as you follow good wall painting technique. However, don’t forget that preparing your walls for painting does require some effort, including cleaning your walls to avoid dirt in your paint and applying one or more coats of primer. 

Wallpaper vs. Paint: Designs and Colors

Paint is usually the preferred choice for someone seeking a solid color look. If you’re after a single-color wall, paint will give you more choices, and a paint store can help you choose and mix just the right color. However, your ability to create designs will usually be limited, unless you use a technique like creating patterns with painter’s tape.

On the other hand, wallpaper is usually the better option for someone who wants a patterned wall design. Wallpaper comes in a large array of designs and textures, so you’ll have plenty of choices. Fathead even offers peel and stick options like sports logo wallpaper with your favorite team’s insignia, kids’ peel and stick wallpaper with fun and cute designs or brick and stone patterned wallpaper for a dignified look. 

Wallpaper vs. Paint: Cost

Costs of wallpaper and paint vary dramatically between brands, models and markets. Traditional wallpaper is often quite expensive, especially if you need to cover several rooms. Don’t despair if you’re a wallpaper fan, though, as Fathead offers quality peel and stick wallpaper at a more cost-effective option. 

Painting is typically an economical choice, especially if you already have basic painting supplies like rollers and paint trays. However, as we’ll discuss shortly, the cost of frequent paint touch-ups can add up. 

someone applying white paint with a paint roller

Source: Artur_Nyk/Shutterstock

Wallpaper vs. Paint: Durability

You can expect a coat of paint to last between 5 and 10 years, although it will likely need regular touch-ups during that time. Paint often gets chipped, marked and rubbed off in the course of everyday life, so make sure to keep a paint sample around in case you need to match the color at the paint store.

An application of wallpaper, meanwhile, will typically last around 15 years before needing replacement. However, wallpaper can be more challenging to fix if it gets damaged, which is another reason that Fathead’s durable vinyl wallpaper is so popular. 

Wallpaper vs. Paint: Moisture Resistance

A painted surface will resist moisture well as long as you use a high quality paint. That’s why paint is a common choice for rooms like bathrooms and kitchens where moisture is present. 

Wallpaper, by contrast, has been less common in bathrooms and kitchens because it often wasn’t sufficiently resistant to moisture. But there are still plenty of ways to use wallpaper in bathrooms effectively, and peel and stick wallpaper can work well in these areas when applied correctly. 

Wallpaper vs. Paint: Changing and Removing

Traditional wallpaper is as annoying to remove as it is to apply — maybe more. You’ll need a putty knife, a lot of patience and time to repair your wall afterward. Fathead’s peel and stick wallpaper, on the other hand, is designed to be wall-safe and can be easily removed without any damage to the wall underneath. 

Paint is also quite easy to change. Tired of the color? You can simply replace it with a new one. However, you’ll often need to use a coat of primer and multiple coats of your new color if you’re replacing an existing paint job. 

a dining room featuring waverly peel and stick wallpaper

The best choice for decorating your walls is the one that fits your budget and the vibe you’re seeking for your home. Take a look at Fathead’s selection of peel and stick wallpaper to see all of our options for your wall. Or, for a smorgasbord of creative inspiration for your walls, see our ultimate guide to wall decor ideas.

Browse Our Entire Selection of Peel and Stick Wallpaper

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