Painting Vs Wallpaper – Understanding the Difference

Wondering what is better — paint or wallpaper for your home? Both options have their own set of pros and cons. We list them out so you can make an ...

4 min read

Wondering what is better — paint or wallpaper for your home? Both options have their own set of pros and cons. We list them out so you can make an informed choice

When you’re faced with the conundrum of picking paint vs wallpaper, we know the struggle is real. Before you make up your mind, it is vital to consider the benefits and limitations of both options to decide which one is best suited for your walls. In this tug-of-war between wallpaper vs painting, we help you find the winning side that’s right for you. 

What are the advantages of wall paint?

Even though it might not necessarily appear that way, wall paint has its own advantages, making it a popular choice among most people.

1. Painting can be budget-friendly

Paint is often available in several ranges. So you can pick one as per your budget. Depending on the brand and the type of paint you pick, you can control the cost, making it a cheaper option than wallpaper. You can also choose the same colour for the entire home, reducing costs further. 

2. Painting can be DIY

Painting requires a few simple tools that are easily available. And if your walls don’t have to be prepped too much, you can potentially take this up yourself. The good thing is you can rectify the mistake with a fresh lick of paint. 

3. Wall paint offers a plethora of options

Wall paint offers several options: from a large colour palette covering every hue available to creating a shade you prefer and swatching it on your walls. Over the years, brands have evolved to offer different textures, sheen and look, giving customers more reasons to pick paint over wallpapers. 

What are the disadvantages of wall paint?

The advantages notwithstanding, wall painting also offers a unique set of challenges.

1. Wall painting can be time-consuming

No matter how many rooms you want to paint, wall painting can be time-consuming. Unless it is a quick touch-up of the same paint, the walls must be primed and the older paint removed before the fresh coat is applied. Each step requires some downtime, making it more lengthy than a wallpaper fix-up. While summer is a good time to paint the house, monsoon is often avoided as paint takes even longer to dry, restricting your plans. 

2. Wall paint can cause skin and health issues

Paints take time to dry and, when applied, release VOCs or volatile organic compounds in their surroundings. Depending on exposure and sensitivity to these toxic substances, these fumes can lead to issues like skin irritation, cough, runny nose, etc.. This is also why you should avoid sleeping in a freshly painted room for two to three days until it dries completely. 

3. Wall paint can stain easily

Paints, especially light-coloured ones, are likely to get stained through spills, natural oils and smudges that often happen in the long run. While many paints these days are washable using soap and water, deeper stains may require professional help. If you have growing children who may use these walls as their canvas, opting for wallpaper or a darker paint tone might be a better idea to keep the walls as good as new for years. 

What are the advantages of a wallpaper?

The trusty old wallpaper is often seen as a great alternative to wall paint. Over the years, wallpaper designs have become much more interesting, making them a preferred choice for many people.

1. Wallpapers are a quick and easy alternative to wall paint

Applying wallpaper isn’t as time-consuming as painting a wall. This makes it an excellent option for those who do not have the luxury of time. It is also less messy, which means the surroundings are not disturbed much, unlike paint, which requires you to clear out most furniture. Wallpapers also do not cause spills or take much time to dry, making them convenient and quick.

2. Wallpapers tend to last longer

The durability of a good quality wallpaper is higher, likely to last longer than paint without any retouching. A wallpaper from a trusted brand can stay put for up to 10 years or more, making it a great option than paint which requires a fresh coat every few years. And if you change your mind, replacing it is also quicker.

3. Wallpapers come in several designs and patterns

Wallpapers are usually chosen for their patterns to add a personality to one’s walls. Therefore, they have several options –geometric, floral, stripes or something else. You can also customise a wallpaper with a design you like, personalising your walls further. 

What are the disadvantages of a wallpaper?

As it turns out, wallpapering your walls also has a downside.

1. Wallpapers are more expensive than paint

Wallpapers are generally more expensive. And as with paints, you can get something within your budget. But with wallpapers, the cost is calculated on the number of sheets required for a certain area. This makes it costlier than painting the walls.

2. Wallpapers are not suitable for all homes

While wallpapers are convenient to apply, they depend on the adhesive that prevents them from peeling and coming off. The wallpaper could peel off sooner than expected in regions with high humidity or dampness and may require maintenance. Even high moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens are not the best-suited for wallpapers. 

3. You can’t wallpaper your entire home

Unlike paint, which can be neutral and used across rooms, wallpaper is usually selected for its noticeable print, meaning not all walls can be covered in the same design. Unless it is a light tone with a subtle design, you will likely pick only one or a few walls to cover with a bold pattern. This means no matter what, you will have to paint the remaining walls. This can further increase the cost and time. 

The right answer to wall paint vs wallpaper really comes down to your budget, aesthetic sense and the time you have for the process. If you are more about letting your walls shine, wallpaper works perfectly. If you prefer hanging artwork, neutral wall paint does the trick. So pick wisely. 

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