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Interior Design Challenge: Wallpaper vs. Paint

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Let’s face it: Wallpaper is to paint what a European vacation is to a “staycation”: They’re both great, but one of them requires way more planning, money and time.

That’s not to say that interior house paint is cheap; it’s just that wallpaper is that much more expensive. So, let us begin with that in the comparison between house paint and wallpaper for your next interior design makeover.

Is paint cheaper than wallpaper?

Yes, it is, but there’s a little more to the story. You can find cheap wallpaper, but you’ve also got to buy the adhesive and the tools – if you plan on hanging it yourself. And, if you do, it’s a good to have had some experience.

Hanging wallpaper isn’t exactly easy, and making mistakes can get expensive, especially if you decide to go with the good stuff.

Price Award: Paint

Is wallpaper easy to hang?

Well, it’s not easier than painting, which is all that matters in this horse race. There’s a lot of planning, measuring, cutting and gluing involved, so if you’re into crafts that probably helps.

But, it’s not impossible, and it’s a good skill to have if you ever want to try your hand at it. The recommendation would be to start small and then work your way up to rooms that get more traffic.

Convenience Award: Paint

Is wallpaper more durable than paint?  

As counterintuitive as it may seem, wallpaper is definitely more durable than paint. A good wallpaper job can last up to 15 years, while paint usually has to be refreshed every one or two years.

This is where wallpaper starts to catch up to paint in the cost department. Less maintenance means lower cost over time, in terms of both time and money.

Durability Award: Wallpaper

Is wallpaper harder to maintain than paint?

This one depends on how you look at it. Paint is easy to maintain in that it’s easy to fix if something goes wrong (flaking, sagging, peeling, stains, etc.), while fixing peeling or ripped wallpaper is more of a chore.

But, as already noted, wallpaper is more durable over time if hung properly, so installation will be a determining factor for both choices.

Winner: Wallpaper (Probably)

Does wallpaper look better than paint?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Wallpaper comes in limitless patterns, many of which can’t be replicated in paint, but paint can be mixed to make limitless colors, so its got that going for it.

Plus, paint can be used to make patterns and striping with a little creativity and painter’s tape.

Winner: Tie

On paper, it might look like paint is the big winner here, and it is if you’re on a budget. But, if you can afford the initial investment, wallpaper will pay off big with a more luxurious look and easier maintenance over the long term, and you can even get help hanging it by a local pro through Porch.com.

Use painter''s tape like this fine-line striping tape from 3M to create unique designs and protect delicate edging during your painting project. 

The top-selling "Select Step" adjustable ladder from Little Giant Ladders comes in two sizes and features a specially designed platform for tools and paint. 

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