Paint Vs. Wallpaper

Sep 3, 12 • DecorNo Comments

Yes, I know at first glance your first reaction may be “yawn, what a snore of a topic” but ah! ah! don’t sigh just yet, stick with me a minute and this may well be one of those reads that will furnish you with just that bit of information that will make all the difference next time you decide to re-decorate.

We live in a society where paint rules, yep! we indulge in its various available colours, textures and finishes. We love the clichéd blue for boys and pink for girls and are glad with the range of hues and shades that were completely uncommon in the market just a few short couple of decades ago. With the now very common application of wall screeds to achieve an also previously uncommon smoothness, people are now more than happy with the effect of a freshly applied coat of paint.

Wallpaper is for the most part ignored, except by the occasional wallpaper fan.

But let’s do a brief comparison and perhaps putting the two wall treatments side by side will put us in a better position to make more creatively successful home improvement decisions.

Paint: This medium remains the cheapest and quickest wall treatment method. Its light and airy feel makes it an easy first choice, adding to the fact that its initial installation is reasonably less expensive than wallpaper. Paint can easily be re-painted over paint as opposed to over wallpaper where the joints can show if care isn’t taken. Paint can also be applied in such a way that imperfections in the walls are concealed, whereas these imperfections are exaggerated with wallpaper. A more versatile medium, paint can be water and oil based. Water-based paints are washable and dry quickly while oil based paints take longer to dry but are quite rich in colour in addition to being durable. Both oil and water based paints are available in a range of finishes from matte to very high gloss.

On the other hand, paint does have its demerits, as it, especially oil paint can be very difficult to apply because of its tendency to be runny. Water soluble paint may not be the best idea for a space where children live as it easily gets dirty with finger prints and other stains which cannot be wiped off without the paint coming off, although magic eraser may help a bit. Unfortunately, this medium has quite a short live-span, as good home maintenance culture requires repainting one’s home every 2 years.

Wallpaper: With the pricey initial cost of installation, it may come as a surprise to know that in the long run, modern wallpaper is actually a lot more economical than paint, as it is found to be more durable and can last as much as 5 times longer than paint which translates to about 10 – 15years in normal condition. It adds to the warmth, character and beauty of a room in a way unparalleled by paint with its rich variation of textures and patterns. With wallpaper, one can get so many more finish options from the warmth of leather or fabric to a much cooler metallic look, a more traditional look to an edgy ultra-modern look.

Family pictures can be made into custom wallpaper and with paint-it-yourself wallpaper, the possibilities seem almost endless and these effects can simply not be replicated with paint. While wallpaper may not be suitable with rooms with high humidity like kitchens and bathrooms, they could create a stunning effect in any suitable space. Wallpaper is no longer the headache to remove as in the past, thanks to modern removal systems meaning that it is possible to remove the paper from the wall in long strips. Taking the time to apply the wallpaper properly and using a good primer will also make removal easier in the long run.

Unfortunately humidity is the undoing for wallpaper as in too high a humidity the glue can gradually weaken and cause the wallpaper to peal off. This wall treatment can be easily damaged which damage for the most part is irreparable with the only option being to replace that particular sheet of wallpaper. This can also be a challenge as it may be difficult to find that particular wallpaper in the market again and even if you do, it will most likely look newer than your existing wallpaper which will have faded some over time.

So there you have it, a brief comparison of paint and wallpaper and I’m sure one or two facts came as somewhat of a surprise. So next time you stand musing, in your living room, bedroom, dinning room, half bath, study even your gym wondering what colour of paint to use, remember the very dramatic effect that can be achieved by wallpaper. Think of combining it with a matching paint colour to achieve a room where anyone who walks in is bound to go “wow, I love what you’ve done with your walls!”

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"When you want to transform a room into an entirely different animal, change the color"... Billy Baldwin

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