The debate of wallpaper vs paint is a longstanding topic among home renovators and homeowners alike. Is one option inherently better than the other? Like most choices, it comes down largely to personal preferences, though one selection may have some advantage in one area or another. Here’s a comparison between wallpaper and paint in the areas most relevant to homeowners.
The average house remodel costs between $20,000 and $100,000, according to a 2023 Home Guide report. Naturally, budgeting is going to be a major factor for the typical homeowner. Paint tends to be the more cost-effective option.
According to Home Inspection Insider, professional painting costs $320 to $1,920 per room, versus $960 to $3,520 per room for professionally installed wallpaper. Wallpaper is also more expensive to replace. The removal process requires multiple steps, including stripping and steaming. Estimates range between 80 cents and $3.00 per square foot.
Which one better withstands the test of time? Under low humidity conditions, wallpaper can last for about 15 years before some fading and peeling begins to manifest. An interior paint job’s longevity varies greatly depending on paint quality, climate, and indoor air quality. Latex and acrylic-latex paint, for instance, lasts between two and 10 years. Oil-based paint has a much longer lifespan provided the room is well-ventilated.
Once installed, wallpaper doesn’t require much maintenance beyond wiping away scuffs and stains. Paint can fade with time, and professional contractors recommend repainting every three to five years. Without maintenance, moisture can penetrate the paint and get into the drywall, leading to warping and even mold growth.
While customized wallpaper is available, it can be pricey. Most contractors also acquire wallpaper from a whole supplier or even a nearby Home Depot or Lowes, so options may be limited to what’s locally available. With paint, options are nearly unlimited due to the diverse range of color combinations. Specific appearances can also be achieved using certain painting techniques, such as rolling, sponging, or splattering.
Whenever you’re ready for a new appearance and ambiance, paint provides diverse options with its endless color shades and combinations. However, the same goes for wallpaper with its plethora of designs. Popular options include floral, mosaic, and wood texture designs.
Read also: 6 Interior Paint Color Mistakes to Avoid
More homebuyers gravitate towards paint. Even if they don’t like the existing paint job, they can simply repaint at a relatively low cost. If a prospective homebuyer doesn’t like an existing wallpaper design, they may be less inclined to purchase the home due to the cost and time-intensive process of removal.
For this reason, paint may be preferable if you plan to sell the home at some point. Wallpaper works well if you plan to reside in your home long-term.
Both wallpaper and paint create some degree of carbon footprint. When paint is exposed to sunlight, the volatile organic compounds (VOC) may react with the oxygen in the air, leading to a greenhouse effect. In addition, most paint manufacturers use titanium dioxide, a known environmental hazard.
Wallpaper can also have an adverse impact due to the use of paper, vinyl, and fabric. However, sustainable options are available. Examples include wallpaper free of plasticizers or low-volatile phthalates. This substance gradually evaporates into the air and can have a negative impact on the environment and human hormonal balance.
When it comes to home décor, both wallpaper and paint have their merits. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference, your long-term plan, and your budget. For guidance tailored to your unique needs, our design experts at Albarado’s Fine Furnishings offer complimentary design consultations.
Our knowledgeable team keeps up with the latest trends and can advise on paints, wallpapers, patterns, colors, and more to help you realize your interior design vision. Contact us today to schedule your design appointment and discover how we can help make your home as beautiful as you imagine.