When it comes to decorating your walls, there’s an age-old debate you may not be aware of: painting over wallpaper versus removing it.
It sounds simple, but there are strong opinions on either side. One side says you should always remove the wallpaper, even if it’s difficult or time-consuming. The other side says it’s perfectly fine to paint over existing wallpaper, especially if it means you won’t have to get it off your walls.
Which is correct? It really depends on your situation and what you want to do. Here, we’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Pros and Cons of Removing Wallpaper
Conventional wisdom says that if you want to replace old wallpaper, either with paint or with new wallpaper, you should remove it first.
Pros: If you remove the wallpaper first, you’ll have a smoother final product. You won’t have to deal with air bubbles, frayed edges, rips and tears, dust, and other things that can turn a beautiful coat of new paint into an eyesore.
Cons: Removing wallpaper can be time-consuming and, frankly, annoying. Depending on the age of your wallpaper and what was used to adhere it to the wall, it can be something that takes days to do, and may involve having professionals come in and do it for you.
Pros and Cons of Painting Over It
Of course, there are those who buck conventional wisdom and say it’s okay if you want to paint over your wallpaper. They say it’s not as scary as you think, as long as you do it right.
Pros: It is a lot simpler and easier to paint over wallpaper than to remove it. Plus, if your existing wallpaper is smooth and in good shape, the paint can actually take on a different texture and create an interesting look. (You can even use watered-down paint to wash over the patterned wallpaper and create an effect that looks like a watercolor painting).
Cons: It’s easy to mess up a paint job if you don’t properly prepare your walls, and that means repairing every bit of damage done to your wallpaper. You’ll have to smooth out air bubbles, repair tears (including patching them with wall spackle), and get as much dust off the wallpaper as possible – which usually means vacuuming at best and going over every square inch with wall dough at worst.
What Should You Do?
At Rainbow Paint, we sell both paint and wallpaper, so we’ve got you covered no matter what. It really comes down to how you value your time and resources. It is definitely possible to do a good job painting over wallpaper; it can be done and is done on a regular basis by many. So, in that respect, conventional wisdom that says you can’t do it is wrong.
But, it may not be your best option. Talk to a design consultant and see what professional advice you can get from them before you move forward.