Wondering if removable wallpaper is a smart solution for covering that dark blue wall in your living space? Find out which ones are the very best.
It’s 2023. We can’t possibly be talking about wallpaper, but we are. Wallpaper is new and improved, and you won’t believe the options available for redesigning a space, especially if you’ve got a tight time or money budget.
Let’s talk about how wallpaper works, the benefits of removable wallpapers, and the best removable wallpapers we can’t stop raving about.
Maybe you remember the wallpaper your parents had in their kitchen or living room. That floral design, hallmarked with burgundy and forest green, or the pastel colors that adorned so many 1990s bathrooms, can still be found on Zillow listings across the country (ahem: one of our favorite accounts documents them here).
Today, wallpaper is back on trend and updated with features that make it more user-friendly. With upgraded materials and application methods, wallpaper is a bold, quick, and budget-friendly way to update your style and improve your space.
Updated materials allow you to add texture to your room without yet another throw pillow (no shade to accent pillows, of course). Today’s wallpaper is made with different textured vinyls and cloths to give you a completely different aesthetic depending on what you use.
Vinyl is the traditional wallpaper material that most peel-and-stick papers are made with. It’s versatile, durable, and long-lasting. You’ll find most of the prints you want in vinyl, which are available in various application methods.
For ease of care, nothing compares to vinyl. If it gets dirty, you can easily clean it with a damp sponge. If you have a stubborn stain, most patterns can tolerate a mild cleansing solution.
This type of material looks like natural fiber because it is made with them. From jute, cork, reed, sisel, and arrowroot to triangle grass, these textures have an earthy feel that’s natural yet unexpected.
Since grasscloth is made from natural fibers, it’s hand woven, usually overseas. This makes grasscloth paper pricier than vinyl, and it’s usually harder to find specific prints and patterns than it is with vinyl.
In addition, the grasscloth may damage during installation, but it’s durable once applied. It may need occasional dusting or even vacuuming to remove dust and lint that clings to it. You shouldn’t use water on it.
Flocked wallpaper has an embossed look that is made from synthetic fiber. It requires special installation because you can’t get glue on the front of the paper. Flocking is fragile and may crush from touch or from having furniture pushed against it.
Bottom line: If you choose to decorate with flocked paper, use it sparingly and only in low-traffic rooms. Flocked paper works best for the upper half of the room, too, so it would be a good solution for a wallpaper mural or an accent wall.
Why paint over wallpaper? To give your walls texture. For instance, if you hang a subway-tile patterned paper and paint it yellow, it would give the illusion of a yellow subway-tiled wall.
Paintable wallpaper is a nice option, but keep in mind that practically any design you can dream of has already been created in a ready-to-use, peel-and-stick pattern that will save you from painting your paper unless you just really want to.
There are essentially two ways to apply wallpaper: the old-fashioned way vs. the new peel-and-stick method.
This method is just what it sounds like: This wallpaper is like a sticker. To apply, simply peel off the backing and hang it where you want it. It can be removed and repositioned and generally won’t damage your walls, although it may remove paint in some areas. If you’re not quite sure what you’re doing or love how temporary wallpaper lets you redesign your bedroom every year, peel and stick will likely be one of your top picks.
The old-fashioned way of hanging wallpaper involves wallpaper rolls spread out on every conceivable space while you add glue and then painstakingly hang them on your walls. If you have pastable wallpaper, you can beat the system by pasting the walls instead of the paper, which is generally less messy.
The one advantage of paste wallpaper is that there are usually more style options for pastable papers than self-adhesive wallpaper.
If there’s no adhesive backing, you might have to make your own paste (or buy it pre-mixed) and proceed carefully. To hang the wallpaper, grab a screwdriver, level, chalk, brush/roller, putty knife, sponge, utility razor, smoothing brush, and a ladder. Home renovation professionals usually cite wallpapering as moderately difficult and estimate it’ll take about six to eight hours (if you generally know what you’re doing).
If you need to remove existing wallpaper before you begin, or if you’re looking down the channel of time and considering the removal of the paper you’re currently installing, remember that peel-and-stick wallpaper is much easier to remove than that wallpaper that requires stripping.
If your wallpaper has been applied on top of a wallpaper primer, that will help remove wallpaper that has been glued on, but it’ll still be a tedious process.
Removable wallpaper has definite benefits in certain situations. While the end result will likely not look as professional or permanent as traditional wallpaper, the differences are so minuscule you likely won’t notice.
Some of our favorite ways to use removable wallpaper include the following:
Off to college? Time to make that dorm room your own (without ruining campus property, of course). Many campuses have rules about what you can place on your walls. If they allow removable wallpaper, this is an easy way to add style to your side of the room that easily removes when the year is over.
Sure, you can paint your walls when you rent. The problem is, you have to paint them the original color before you move out. Removable vinyl wallpaper is your go-to if the thought of stripping and repainting your walls has you shaking your head.
The design of these types of papers should protect your walls while you rent without damaging them when you leave, ensuring you love every minute of your stay and get your deposit back.
It’s possible to use new wallpaper over existing wallpaper. While most peel-and-stick wallpapers will adhere better to your wall directly, existing wallpaper that has been cleaned and smoothed will hold most brands of removable paper.
Removable wallpaper may also be a faster home improvement project than repainting a wall. Navy blue and teal walls can be notoriously difficult to repaint, especially if you’d like a lighter shade to take their place. Instead, opt for a light color of peel-and-stick wallpaper.
Let’s be honest: It can be hard to commit to just one with so many color options and design styles. For those of us who are a little indecisive or who like to change color schemes quickly and frequently, removable wallpaper will be your BFF.
If spending a quiet weekend tucked away with your watercolor set and soft music isn’t your jam, you’re in luck. You can still enjoy a totally gorgeous wall mural handmade by you (talk about dinner party conversation points!). Instead, use a wallpaper pattern to do the work for you. Using a mix of multicolor patterns and solid designs, you can create a mural-like effect with very little effort.
Walls that are damaged or outdated need touching up before you decide to resell. Freshening up the walls with paint or neutral wallpaper is one of the best investments you can make to keep your home looking new and add an instant focal point.
Now, for the recommendations you’ve been waiting for! Elevate your interior design and renew your home decor with these five wallcovering options that will have you swooning over wallpaper in an entirely new light.
Don’t knock it until you rock it: retro floral wallpaper has made a comeback, and it’s perfect for adding charm to any space. Sometimes referred to as grandmillenial design, vintage wallpaper isn’t something you find at the thrift shop. Rather, it’s paper intentionally designed to look like your childhood bedroom or maybe your grandmother’s house. Under the umbrella of vintage prints, you’ll also find geometric wallpapers reminiscent of the 1970s and early 80s and blue and white toile designs.
How to make it current: If you’re using a busy floral print, consider only using your paper on an accent wall, or use it on a specific space that you’ve designated with a frame. Select two colors from the paper to use as accent colors in the room.
We could dissect this subheading into multiple other subheadings, like repeating patterns, drop patterns, and randomized patterns. Patterned wallpaper has a specific design that repeats, at some point, in the pattern of the wallpaper.
Favorite minimalist patterns include herringbone and chevron designs in natural, organic fibers with matte finishes. Other patterns may be brightly colored with high-definition inks. In this category, you’ll also find patterns that work for backsplashes in your kitchen, like subway tile or faux metal tile.
Just like luxury vinyl plank is taking the world by storm and making the beauty of wood flooring more accessible, wood grain paper is making it easier to shiplap (and dramatically reducing your commitment to a style that may be less popular with future homebuyers if resale is a concern).
High-quality wood grain paper is impossibly detailed and can update drab drywall easily. It’s also a breezy, no-stress way to add the look of wainscoting to a room.
For an understated, minimalist style that looks comfortable and inviting, try boho wallpaper. The neutral elements of boho paperwork are a snap to add to one wall or multiple walls when in removable form. Harness the power of floral peel-and-stick wallpaper without giving your home a dated look by choosing neutral colors in repeating patterns that are noticeable but not ostentatious.
It’s not just for backsplashes, although it definitely works for them. Faux tile and metal wallpapers work for bathrooms, laundry rooms, and utility rooms and give the appearance of wall coverings that are textured and upscale.
In addition to the fact that faux tile look wallpaper is a more cost-effective investment than actually tiling your bathroom, it’s also considerably less tricky to install. If you make a mistake, simply unstick and reposition. Making a mistake with actual tile placement involves tile removal, sanding, and regrouting.
Non-committal wallpaper is perfect for design lovers who enjoy changing their homes regularly or adding different elements of style to their home’s interiors.
At Spoak, we’ve got a design visualization tool that can help you decide how a patterned wall might look in your space. It even features a gallery wall customization tool that can help you decide the best placement of your wall art.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, using removable wallpaper can be a handy tool in your interior design toolbelt. Make sure you have a plan before embarking on a new design project, and let Spoak help inspire your ideas and help move you forward when you get stuck.
Photo Credit: (Left) Urban Outfitters
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