Wallpaper vs Paint: Uncover the Best Choice for Your Walls | JC Licht


Wallpaper vs Paint: Uncover the Best Choice for Your Walls

  • 7 min read

Wallpaper vs Paint: Uncover the Best Choice for Your Walls

Wallpaper vs Paint: Uncover the Best Choice for Your Walls

When it comes to wall treatments, the wallpaper vs paint decision is a common dilemma. You might be wondering which is more cost-effective, easier to install, or better for long-term maintenance. This article cuts through the confusion, directly comparing both options to guide you toward the best choice for your home.

Key Takeaways

  • Paint is more DIY-friendly and requires less skill to apply than wallpaper, which can be a bit more complex to install correctly.
  • Despite its higher initial cost, wallpaper tends to last longer and may offer better long-term value, while paint may need more frequent touch-ups.
  • Wallpaper can add unique patterns and depth to a wall, while paint allows for a broad range of custom colors and easier changes.

Choosing Between Wallpaper and Paint: A Homeowner's Dilemma

Torn between the bespoke designs that modern wallpaper offers and the simplicity of painted walls? You’re not alone. Many homeowners grapple with this choice, each promising to transform walls from drab to fab.

Let’s delve into the DIY considerations, long-term cost implications, and aesthetic impact that these wall treatments bring to the table.

Ease of Application: DIY Considerations

Let’s face it, not everyone’s a DIY enthusiast. When it comes to applying your chosen wall treatment, the paint seems to be the more DIY-friendly option. Just roll on a fresh coat, and you’re good to go!

Wallpaper, on the other hand, requires a little more finesse. From removing existing wallpaper to applying the wallpaper adhesive and aligning the patterns, it’s a bit more of a project.

Long-Term Cost Implications

When it comes to cost, consider the following:

  • Wallpaper typically has a higher price tag up front.
  • However, it’s not just about the initial investment. Consider the long-term maintenance, too.
  • Paint might seem like the more cost-effective choice initially, but remember, it may require more frequent touch-ups and updates.

So, how much time and money are you willing to invest?

Visual Impact and Aesthetics

Now onto the fun part – aesthetics! Wallpaper offers a plethora of unique designs, adding visual depth beyond solid colors. Paint, on the other hand, provides a broad spectrum of colors, allowing for a custom palette unique to you.

So whether you’re looking for trendy designs or prefer to mix your own hues, both wallpaper and paint have got you covered.

The Lifespan Showdown: Durability of Wallpaper vs. Paint

After the initial charm wears off, it all boils down to how well your wall treatment can hold up over the years. Wallpaper generally has the upper hand, often outlasting paint by a good few years. But remember, painted walls in high-traffic areas might need a bit more TLC.

Let’s delve deeper into the durability of both these options.

Wallpaper Longevity

While wallpaper brings longevity to the table, it’s not a fan of extreme climates or high humidity. So if you live in a region with frequent climate changes or are considering wallpaper for your bathroom, you might want to rethink that decision.

A high-quality paint, on the other hand, can better withstand such conditions.

Paint Durability

Although a well-applied coat of paint can remain in good condition for up to five years, it isn’t completely maintenance-free. Over time, painted walls might require touch-ups to address wear and tear.

However, adding a fresh coat of paint is a relatively straightforward process compared to replacing wallpaper.

Installation Face-off: Hanging Wallpaper vs. Painting Walls

So, you’ve made up your mind to give your walls a makeover. Great! But the decision between wallpaper and paint isn’t just about aesthetics or durability. The installation process is a crucial part of the equation.

While painting can be a manageable DIY project, hanging wallpaper can be a bit more challenging.

Challenges in Installing Wallpaper

Installing wallpaper is not as simple as slapping on a fresh coat of paint. It requires skill and attention to detail. From avoiding streaks and air bubbles to ensuring that the patterns align perfectly, wallpaper installation can be a tricky process. We always recommend hiring a professional for this job.

Painting Process

On the flip side, painting proves to be a more accessible DIY project. The process involves ensuring a smooth wall surface, applying a primer, and then rolling on the paint. With the right technique, you can achieve a professional-looking finish.

And when it comes to touch-ups, it’s as simple as applying a fresh coat of the same color paint.

The Cost Factor: Wallpaper or Paint

Let’s talk numbers! It’s no secret that wallpaper installation can be more expensive than painting. But remember, investing in high-quality materials can result in better cost efficiency over time.

Let’s break down the costs associated with both options.

Expense of Wallpaper

Wallpaper installation costs can vary widely, depending on the brand and quality of the wallpaper. Professional installation can add to the overall cost. But while it might be tempting to cut costs by doing it yourself, remember that poorly installed wallpaper can end up costing more in the long run. That’s why it’s worth considering hiring wallpaper pros for a job well done.

Painting Costs

Painting costs, on the other hand, depend on factors such as the amount of paint needed and the size of the room. If you’re starting from scratch and need to buy all the equipment, costs can add up. However, if you already own the equipment, then a fresh coat of paint could be a more budget-friendly option.

Room-by-Room Guide: Best Surfaces for Wallpaper and Paint

Different rooms and surfaces may be better suited for wallpaper or paint. Factors such as humidity, traffic, and desired aesthetics play a role in determining the right choice.

Let’s explore some common scenarios.

Suitability for Bathrooms and Kitchens

High-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens are generally better suited for paint, specifically eggshell finish, due to its resistance to moisture. Wallpaper, especially if not vinyl-coated, might not fare too well in these conditions due to potential peeling.

Creating an Accent Wall

If you’re looking to make a statement, consider creating an accent wall. Some ideas for creating an accent wall include:

  • Using bold wallpaper patterns
  • Choosing complementary paint colors
  • Adding a mural or large-scale artwork
  • Installing reclaimed wood or brick panels

These options can make a unique design statement, adding a pop of personality to any room.

So, whether you’re into vibrant murals or prefer geometric wallpapers, there’s something for every design enthusiast seeking visual interest.

Maintenance and Upkeep: Wallpaper vs. Painted Walls

After the thrill of a fresh makeover fades, comes the reality of maintenance. Both new wallpaper and painted walls require regular upkeep to stay in top shape.

Let’s discuss what it takes to maintain each.

Caring for Wallpaper

Wallpaper maintenance involves regular cleaning and repairing minor tears to keep it looking fresh. Some wallpapers are even washable, making the cleaning process even easier. But remember, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines.

Touching Up Paint

Painted walls, on the other hand, might need touch-ups to address wear and tear. While standard paint isn’t typically washable, there are fully washable paint options available at an additional cost.

These might come in handy for areas of your home that experience frequent use.

The Resale Value Debate: Wallpaper and Paint Effect on Home Selling

Whether you’re sprucing up your home for yourself or with an eye on resale value, the choice between wallpaper and paint is crucial. Neutral colors and timeless designs are generally preferred, as they appeal to a wider range of potential buyers.

Let’s dive into the impact of wallpaper and paint on your home’s marketability.

Wallpaper's Influence on Buyers

While wallpaper can add a unique design element to your home, outdated or overly bold patterns can be a turn-off for potential buyers.

On the other hand, modern, neutral wallpaper designs that match the home’s style can have their own advantages and be an asset.

Paint's Appeal to Potential Homeowners

Paint, especially in neutral shades, can improve a property’s marketability. It creates a blank canvas for potential buyers, allowing them to easily envision themselves in the space.

So, if you’re planning to sell your home, it might be worth considering a fresh coat of paint.

Personal Preferences and Trends: Making the Final Decision

At the end of the day, the decision between wallpaper and paint boils down to personal preferences and trends. What’s your style? Do you prefer the smooth finish of paint or the textured allure of wallpaper?

Let’s delve into how your lifestyle and current trends can influence your choice.

Considering Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle plays a significant role in the wallpaper vs. paint debate. Families with children or pets might prefer a more durable and easy-to-clean option like paint or vinyl-coated wallpaper. And if you’re someone who enjoys updating your decor frequently, consider the ease of changing paint colors versus replacing wallpaper.

Keeping Up with Trends

Trends come and go, but your walls are here to stay. While it’s fun to experiment with bold geometric patterns in wallpaper or vibrant paint colors, remember to strike a balance with styles that will endure beyond the current trend cycle. After all, you don’t want to redo your walls every time the trends change.


In the end, the choice between wallpaper and paint comes down to your personal preference, lifestyle, and design vision. Consider the aesthetics, durability, cost, and maintenance of each option. And remember, whether you choose to go with the timeless charm of paint or the unique designs of wallpaper, your walls are a reflection of your personality. Make them count!

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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