Peel and Stick vs Traditional Wallpaper: Choosing the Best Fit for Your Walls | JC Licht


Peel and Stick vs Traditional Wallpaper: Choosing the Best Fit for Your Walls

  • 9 min read

Peel and Stick vs Traditional Wallpaper: Choosing the Best Fit for Your Walls

Peel and Stick vs Traditional Wallpaper: Choosing the Best Fit for Your Walls

When it comes to wallpapering your space, choosing between peel and stick vs traditional wallpaper is a major decision. Immediate wants like easy application and removal favor peel and stick, but traditional wallpaper leads in longevity and endurance. This guide dives into the nitty-gritty of both options, helping you make a choice that best suits your lifestyle and design aspirations.

Key Takeaways

  • Peel and stick wallpaper is user-friendly, perfect for temporary situations, and can last over 5 years with proper application, but isn’t suited for textured walls or environments with extreme temperature changes.
  • Traditional wallpaper is a longer-term investment, offering durability for 10-15 years and a variety of textures and finishes, but requires professional installation and is tougher to remove.
  • Cost-wise, peel and stick is more budget-friendly and DIY-orientated, while traditional wallpaper, although potentially more pricey upfront, can be more cost-effective in the long run due to its durability.

Understanding Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Peel and stick wallpaper is a type of self-adhesive wallpaper that can be easily applied and removed without the need for traditional wallpaper paste. It is a convenient and mess-free option for decorating walls. Picture a giant, durable sticker with an adhesive backing, ready to adhere to your wall. Sounds simple, right? That’s the beauty of peel and stick wallpaper - simplicity.

No need for extra adhesives or paste, just peel and place it on your wall. And when you fancy a change, it comes off as easily as it went on.

The Basics of Self-Adhesive Wallpaper

The beauty of peel and stick wallpaper lies in its self-adhesive backing. It’s designed for easy installation, without the need for any extra tools. Plus, the backing often includes a grid or pattern, which assists in cutting and aligning the wallpaper accurately.

No muss, no fuss, and no paste required. It’s as straightforward as it gets.

Advantages of a Giant Sticker Approach

Peel and stick wallpaper, also known as removable wallpaper, is all about flexibility and convenience. It’s designed to be removable and is perfect for temporary situations, like rented spaces or dormitories.

Want to spruce up your room decor without a long-term commitment? Peel and stick wallpaper is the way to go. It’s an easy and quick way to alter your room decor, without any of the hassle.

Potential Challenges with Peel and Stick

That being said, peel and stick wallpaper isn’t without its challenges. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • It requires a clean, dry, and appropriately painted wall for optimal adhesion and durability.
  • It isn’t suitable for textured surfaces and needs careful smoothing to eliminate air bubbles during installation.
  • Its longevity can be compromised when applied over freshly painted or unclean and damaged surfaces.

But fret not, with the right preparation and careful application, these issues can be mitigated.

Delving into Traditional Wallpaper

Now, let’s turn our attention to traditional wallpaper. Unlike its peel and stick counterpart, traditional wallpaper requires the application of additional wallpaper paste during installation. It’s typically made from a mix of natural and synthetic fibers, making it durable and less susceptible to issues like mold.

From single-layered (simplex) to double-layered (duplex), traditional wallpaper offers various options to cater to different aesthetic needs.

Why Traditional Wallpapers Are Not Typically Called Removable

Unlike peel and stick wallpaper, traditional wallpapers are designed for long-term use and can be a bit tricky to remove. They are intended to be a long-term solution suited for high-traffic areas while withstanding indoor elements like heat and cold. The removal process can be labor-intensive and may require more than just peeling off from the wall.

Comparing Durability and Longevity

So, how do peel and stick and traditional wallpapers compare in terms of durability and longevity? Well, in general, traditional non-woven wallpapers outlast peel and stick varieties due to their stronger materials and adhesion process. However, this doesn’t mean that peel and stick wallpapers are not durable. It’s just that they are typically less durable than their traditional counterparts.

Peel and Stick: A Temporary Solution?

When it comes to peel and stick wallpaper, while it won’t last forever, it can hold up pretty well over time when applied correctly. In fact, it can last more than five years. However, the longevity of peel and stick wallpaper can be significantly affected by environmental factors such as humidity, temperature fluctuations, and direct sunlight exposure.

For instance, in high-humidity environments like bathrooms, it may start to peel after about three and a half years.

Traditional Wallpaper's Endurance

On the other hand, traditional wallpaper is designed for the long haul. Thanks to its robust construction and ability to endure the daily demands of a household, it can last between 10 to 15 years. The combination of material strength, improved wall adhesion over time, and resistance to wear makes traditional wallpaper a strong competitor for longevity.

The Texture and Finish Showdown

Now, let’s talk about texture and finish. Peel and stick wallpaper has a distinctive fabric-like texture, which contributes to its overall tactile quality. On the other hand, traditional wallpaper offers a completely smooth texture.

When it comes to finish, both types of wallpaper commonly feature a matte finish, contributing to the aesthetic versatility of both types.

Smooth vs. Textured Surfaces

In terms of texture, peel and stick wallpaper requires a smooth surface for the adhesive to effectively hold the wallpaper in place. It offers a subtle tactile quality that differs from the feel of traditional wallpaper.

On the other hand, traditional wallpaper can be smooth or embossed and textured to add visual depth and cover wall surface imperfections.

Matte and Glossy Finishes

When it comes to finishes, both types of wallpaper can significantly influence the aesthetics and functionality of interior design. While peel and stick wallpapers generally feature a matte finish, traditional wallpapers provide a wider range of finishes, with non-woven variants presenting a sophisticated matte look and vinyl options often boasting a shinier finish.

Installation Smackdown: Peel and Stick vs Traditional

The installation process can play a significant role in your choice between peel and stick and traditional wallpaper. While the former is known for its DIY-friendliness, the latter might require a professional touch.

So, how do these two compare when it comes to installation? Let’s find out.

DIY Friendliness of Peel and Stick Paper

Peel and stick wallpaper is particularly DIY-friendly, offering a user-friendly decorating option that doesn’t require professional assistance or specialized tools. Its low-tack adhesive backing allows for the panels to be easily repositioned during installation, which is a major advantage over traditional wallpapers.

Moreover, peel and stick wallpaper can be easily trimmed to fit any wall size or shape, providing flexibility for DIY customization and creative projects.

The Art of Installing Traditional Wallpaper

In contrast, installing traditional wallpaper is more of an art that requires precision and technique. Correct alignment, booking, and reverse hanging are critical for a seamless look. Despite its complexity, traditional wallpapers have the versatility to adhere to a broader range of surfaces than peel and stick options. However, due to its complexity, it’s often best to hire a professional for installation.

Removal and Repurposing

Removal is another factor to consider when choosing between peel and stick and traditional wallpaper. Peel and stick wallpaper is known for its simplicity in removal, usually only requiring the paper to be peeled off the wall.

On the other hand, traditional wallpaper removal poses more challenges and typically involves a more labor-intensive process.

Peel and Stick: Ease of Change

Peel and stick wallpaper empowers users with the flexibility to swiftly alter room decor without commitment. Installing removable wallpaper, with its ease of installation and removal, is particularly advantageous for renters and in temporary accommodations such as rental properties and dorm rooms.

Plus, its removability facilitates a mess-free, uncomplicated change of style with minimal wall cleanup.

Traditional Wallpaper: Considerations for Removal

Contrarily, traditional wallpaper is considered a long-term commitment due to its difficult removal process. Removal typically requires specific tools and can be labor-intensive. It’s also important to note that wall damage can occur during the removal of traditional wallpaper. However, proper initial wall preparation can facilitate easier removal without the need for additional tools, repairs, or cleanup.

Style and Pattern Selection

When it comes to style and pattern selection, both peel and stick and traditional wallpapers offer a plethora of options. Traditional wallpaper comes in a wide variety of designs catering to both contemporary and classic aesthetics.

On the other hand, peel and stick wallpaper caters to modern tastes with trendy patterns such as geometric shapes and botanical themes.

Trendy Patterns in Peel and Stick Options

Peel and stick wallpaper offers a variety of contemporary designs, enabling a temporary embrace of current style trends. Nature-inspired designs, like Birch Trees, and themed patterns like Star Wars, provide unique and personalized decor options, reflecting the versatility of peel and stick wallpaper in meeting individual preferences.

Luxurious and Unique Offerings in Traditional Wallpaper

On the flip side, traditional wallpaper offers an array of elite materials and luxurious patterns that reference natural elements, historical design movements, and elaborate florals. The vast array of design options justifies the higher cost for those seeking a distinctly opulent environment.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

An important factor to consider when choosing wallpaper is its environmental impact. Wallpapers that are free from pollutants and recyclable contribute positively to health and the environment. Both peel and stick and traditional wallpapers have eco-friendly options, with biomaterials and recyclable plastics being used in production. However, the market availability of completely pollutant-free wallpapers is limited due to the higher costs associated with their industrial-scale production.

Peel and Stick: A Greener Choice?

Peel and stick wallpapers made from natural materials can be more environmentally friendly compared to those made from synthetic substances. The use of biomaterials and highly recyclable plastics in manufacturing contributes to a lower environmental footprint. However, the environmental credentials of peel and stick wallpaper can be compromised by the inclusion of lead-based inks or other harmful materials. Therefore, choosing high-quality, non-toxic options is crucial.

Traditional Wallpaper's Eco Credentials

Traditional wallpapers, on the other hand, leverage eco-friendly materials such as traditional paper made from:

  • cellulose
  • bamboo
  • cotton
  • wood
  • cork
  • grasses

Sustainable practices in traditional wallpaper production include options made from recycled paper and collaborations with conservation charities.

Plus, the fact that traditional wallpaper tends to last longer than peel and stick wallpaper minimizes long-term material use and supports recycling efforts, showcasing some traditional wallpaper pros.

Cost Comparison: Budgeting for Your Project

Another important consideration is the cost.

  • Peel-and-stick wallpaper typically costs only a few dollars per square foot, averaging between $0.70 to $1.50 (materials only), while single rolls can range from $20 to $45.
  • On the other hand, traditional wallpaper materials can cost between $0.50 to $8 per square foot, depending on quality.
  • Additionally, the installation of peel and stick wallpaper is usually done by the purchaser, eliminating labor costs.

Affordability of Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Peel and stick wallpaper, including vinyl wallpaper, is often chosen for its lower cost compared to traditional wallpaper. It’s a cost-effective option for DIY enthusiasts and renters, with lower material costs.

Plus, updating a room using peel and stick wallpaper can be more economical, offering a quick and clean alternative that aligns with budget constraints.

Investing in Traditional Wallpaper

On the other hand, due to the complexity of installation and potential for long-term durability, traditional wallpaper may require a greater initial investment, including professional installation fees. However, its long-term durability can provide better value over time compared to less durable alternatives.

Moreover, investing in high-quality traditional wallpaper can potentially increase the resale value of a home by enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

When to Choose Which Wallpaper Type

Now that we’ve compared peel and stick and traditional wallpaper across various aspects, let’s see when to choose each type. The right choice depends on your specific needs and circumstances. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you.

Best Scenarios for Peel and Stick Wallpaper

If you’re looking to spruce up your space temporarily or if you’re a renter, peel and stick wallpaper is a great choice. It allows for quick decor changes without the commitment. Plus, it’s ideal for creating a decorative accent wall or for use in various DIY projects.

Situations Favoring Traditional Wallpaper

On the other hand, if you’re planning a long-term living situation or have a permanent residence, traditional wallpaper is the way to go. However, for those seeking a more flexible option, temporary wallpaper can be a suitable alternative. Its lasting adherence and the ability to contribute to specific aesthetic goals make traditional wallpaper a great choice for homeowners who prefer a consistently enduring decor.


In conclusion, both peel and stick and traditional wallpapers have their unique advantages and potential challenges. Peel and stick wallpaper is a great choice for temporary decor changes and DIY projects, while traditional wallpaper is perfect for long-term commitments and has a wider range of designs. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to your specific needs, preferences, and circumstances. So, whether you’re a renter looking for a temporary decor solution or a homeowner seeking a long-lasting aesthetic, there’s a wallpaper out there that’s just right for you!

Work With a JC Licht Consultant to Find Your Pattern Today!

Complete the form below, or visit a store with a wallpaper library today! We have the largest wallpaper offering in the midwest. Looking at patterns online does not showcase the true beauty of a paper, which is why we encourage our customers to visit our stores and browse our large wallpaper selection.

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