Wall Decor for Your New Home – Choosing Between Paint and Wallpaper

You are moving and buying a new home. Now, you are thinking of redecorating, and although your head is telling you “paint,” your heart is crying “wallpaper.” What are you going to do?

Wall decor

Few Things to Consider

You have a few things to consider, and not all of them involve aesthetics. So, ask yourself a few questions.

How Long Do I Plan to Be in This Home?

The reality is that when most people buy a home, they want to imprint their own taste on it. If you are planning on relocating again in a few years, then it may be better for you to go with the time-honored solution of painting your walls white or eggshell. It will get you a better return on your investment when the time comes to sell.

On the other hand, if you are buying your home with the intention of living in it until they take you out in a box, the sky’s the limit – go for that beautiful Victorian floral print paper if it is what pleases you.

Should I Worry About Allergies or Other Sensitivities?

If you have allergies, or if someone in your family has sensitivities to certain chemicals, then paint may again be your better solution. There are many “green” paints available that have few or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). With many types of wallpaper (particularly the vinyl kind), VOCs are very much present. Mold growing behind the paper can also be a concern over time. Mold needs two things in order to flourish – moisture, and air. So if your wallpaper begins to gap or peel, as it eventually will, mold can get in. If you paper, you will have to commit to replacing the wallpaper periodically.

Do I Have Pets or Kids?

We certainly hope that you can answer this question without having to think about it! Seriously, though, the presence of kids or pets in your home raises a few issues. Generally speaking, pets and young children are anathema to wallpaper, so you may not be able to make your wall décor choice based solely on aesthetics.

You are never going to be able to tell your pets, “Don’t rub up against the walls” and expect them to comply. Young children are notorious for writing on walls, and it can be difficult enough dealing with that if they are vandalizing your painted walls. If the walls are covered in paper, there is usually only one solution – take it down and replace it. You could get away with wallpaper if pets are your only companions, but it should be the vinyl-coated, scrubbable kind.

A good compromise, if you are dealing with both kids and pets, might be to use bead board or paneling as a type of wainscoting on the lower portion of the walls, and papering the upper portion. You could also use wallpaper in rooms where kids and pets are not allowed.

The Verdict

If you are reading this, it is probably because what you really, really love is wallpaper, and it is what will make you happy. So, there is little point in telling you about the versatility of paint, and how you can get literally thousands of colors and numerous different finishes. We will point out, though, that when you paint, you can choose from numerous “faux” finishes that will very much resemble wallpaper, and when you are ready to sell, you can easily paint over.

However, the heart wants what it wants. So if wallpaper is your passion, and you’re sure it’s right for your short- and long-term needs, go for it!


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