Design Tips, Your Design Career

Paint VS. Wallpaper: An Interior Decorator’s Guide

Wall colors and textures are the most important aspects of home décor – your choice of color scheme will affect your furniture and other décor choices. For interior decorators, it’s crucial to know which wall materials will work best for their clients. Choose wrong, and you could be risking an unsatisfied customer or possible damage to the home!

So before you finalize your design, make sure to study up on whether you should use paint or wallpaper in each room. There’s way more to it than just the color scheme!

Pros & Cons

First things first, let’s discuss the pros and cons of using both paint and wallpaper in the home. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks can make your decision that much easier!

Use wallpaper for wall decor accent

Paint

A classic option, and generally the easiest to implement. Painting can be done by nearly anyone, is easy to change, and can be quite inexpensive. All of these factors lead many clients to prefer paint as their main wall finish. Especially if your client has children, they’re likely to change up the bedroom wall colors or have some damage to the walls.

On the other hand, paint can also be a hefty task to manage. If you’re working with dark colors, you need to be strategic about how the paint is applied. By that we mean, your dark red basement is going to be a big project if you want to switch to a lighter color in the future! Plus, paint can be easily scratched and chipped. It can be fixed, but matching the shade perfectly can be challenging – even for the most experienced interior decorator.

Wallpaper

Although wallpaper has been a mainstay in home décor throughout the years, its popularity has declined in recent decades. The reason wallpaper has staying power is because it literally has staying power! Wallpaper can last decades, which is great news for mature clients who won’t want to change their décor anytime soon. Interior decorators also have a huge selection of patterns that bring life into a room – and you can find great deals if you keep an eye out!

But still, there are more drawbacks to wallpaper than there are advantages. First of all, wallpaper needs to be applied professionally or it will look terrible. It also won’t last very long! Second, wallpaper is an absolute menace to remove from the wall. Yes, there are chemicals that make removal a lot easier – but do you really want to fill your client’s home with toxic chemicals?

Also, wallpaper has more potential to damage the wall or become damaged itself. From chipping to peeling, there are a number of things that can go wrong with wallpaper over the years. Your best bet is to use wallpaper to create smaller accent walls, rather than committing to a whole room.

Room-By-Room

Paint vs wallpaper for master bedroom

Bathroom, Kitchen, Bedrooms

Our recommendation for any rooms that have moisture is paint, hands down! Wallpaper does not do well when faced with steam or any other moisture, so sticking to paint will definitely keep your décor intact! Look for paint finishes that have a moisture or mildew-resistant formula – this will keep moisture from damaging the walls or paint finish. Plus, paint will liven up smaller spaces!

In the bedroom, you’re also better off sticking with paint simply because your clients are likely to paint bedrooms more often than other spaces. As people grow and tastes change, they want their bedroom to match their personality – it is the most intimate space! Teenagers don’t want the same hot pink color they did when they were four, either…

Living Room, Dining Room

When it comes to the living and dining rooms, you have more freedom in your choice of paint or wallpaper. Wallpaper is an optimal choice, since it will last years (if it’s applied properly) and adds dimension to the room (if you use the right pattern). It’s definitely more of a commitment, both in work and budget, but a neutral wallpaper can make your client’s living and dining areas look much more elegant than simple paint can.

Since these rooms don’t take the brunt of wear and tear in the house, your clients should be safe with wallpaper. Another option is to recommend starting with paint – it’s easy to replace paint with wallpaper, but not vice versa!

Lifestyle

Wallpaper for dining room decor

Home decorators always need to factor in their client’s lifestyle when building a design, and the same goes for choosing your wall material. Again, paint will lend itself well to young families with children and changing tastes – paint can be easily changed or corrected – whereas wallpaper makes the home feel more upscale and classy, which is perfect for the couple who enjoys hosting dinner parties!

Can’t decide? Try mixing the two to get the best of both worlds. Creating an accent with wallpaper can give a room more flair, and can be matched perfectly to paint colors. Let’s face it, that wallpaper will have to come down sooner or later, and it’s easier to only remove one section instead of an entire room!

Ready for more? Follow this color guide to find out the most popular paint colors room-by-room!

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