Your walls are begging for colour. What's best, paint or wallpaper?

By Agency

You can paint a wall many times before you basically have to redecorate. Photo: Markus Scholz/dpa

Redecorating the house can work miracles on your mood, especially if you are stuck at home every day because of the pandemic. It doesn’t even have to be a complete makeover; just repainting one wall will give out a new look.

But what’s better – painting or using wallpaper? Both methods have advantages – and reverent fans.

Rooms that have been painted, are usually painted again, trained painter Karl-August Siepelmeyer says. And when wallpaper was used, this will probably happen again.

But what are the real differences?

Why painting might be for you

A big plus for using paint is its practicability and price. Especially if you are renting, this might be a decisive factor. “On a smooth surface, you can easily repaint the first coat 10 to 15 times, ” Siepelmeyer says.

In most cases, painting is also cheaper than using wallpaper and easier to apply. But this also depends on personal skill: "There are people who get on better with painting. Others prefer wallpapering," says Siepelmeyer.In most cases, painting is cheaper than wallpapering – and easier to do. Photo: Christin Klose/dpaIn most cases, painting is cheaper than wallpapering – and easier to do. Photo: Christin Klose/dpa

When painting, make sure that the surface is smooth and not damaged by cracks or drill holes. Otherwise the wall might have to be replastered before you can repaint it.

But even though this sounds like an awful lot of work, careful preparation is definitely worth it. “A carefully prepared surface of clay plaster or cement is enormously enhanced visually by a beautiful wall paint with the appropriate product,” interior designer Ines Wrusch from Hamburg says.

“Simply sticking wallpaper over it would destroy this effect.”

The perks of wallpaper

The main advantages of wall paper are variety and design possibilities. Wallpaper comes in patterns that you can't get on the wall otherwise. It’s even possible to design your own by using photos. Ever fancied a living room wall featuring your latest holiday snapshots?

Such colours and patterns entirely change the atmosphere in the room, says interior designer Wrusch. "You can hardly do that with paint."

Plant patterns, especially jungle motifs, are particularly popular these days, according to the German Wallpaper Institute. Unless you are a gifted artist, there’s really no other way of getting such elaborate, sometimes very detailed and imaginative motifs on the wall.

Siepelmeyer recommends you ask for pattern samples when shopping for wallpaper. "You can find the most exciting patterns and surfaces. This goes all the way to beads or natural products applied to fleece or paper," says the master painter. "It's a lot of fun to work with such creative ideas."

Wallpaper patterns also help to visually change a room. "A pattern striped on edge makes low rooms seem higher," Wrusch explains, recommending to use small patterns in small rooms.

These days, wallpaper mostly comes in non-woven models, which are easier to apply than the previously common paper wallpaper. The material is glued to the pasted wall and can be pulled off again in whole strips without having to be moistened beforehand. "That's how easy a wallpaper change can work today," says Siepelmeyer.

Using wallpaper therefore doesn’t have to take much longer than applying a new coat of paint. – dpa

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wall design , interior design , home decor


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