Can You Paint Over Wallpaper? Advice From the Experts

paint over wallpaper -- yellow paint

Not really feeling the vibes from the current wallpaper covering your walls? Wondering if you could paint over wallpaper? Wallpaper that’s overly decorative or reminiscent of a decade (or three) gone by can instantly drag the whole feel of a room down. 

Modern interiors favour clean and simple wall colour so you can dress your room more creatively using fabric and décor, so why put up with wallpaper that stops you doing this? But before you dig out your scraper, let’s talk about whether you can, in fact, paint over wallpaper instead.

Can I actually paint over wallpaper?

The answer is – sometimes. Before you head out to buy paint, you need to check a couple of things:

  1. What do the wallpaper seams look like – are they flat, or lifting? If they’re lifting but look repairable, glue them back down with wallpaper glue. Otherwise, the paint will get under the seams and make them look even worse. 
  2. Are there any parts of the wallpaper that are peeling? If so, scraping the wallpaper off rather than painting directly over it is the better option - painting over peeled wallpaper won’t give you a finish that looks tidy or attractive. 
  3. Does the wallpaper have any bubbles in it? Adding a coat of paint in this case won’t do you many favours.
  4. Is the wall even? If the wallpaper features a heavy design, it may actually be concealing the fact that the wall isn’t overly flat. Adding a plain coat of paint over it will show imperfections in the walls much more clearly.

If your wallpaper isn’t in great shape, painting over it will only really be a temporary fix. But, if this is preferred over what’s there currently, then it’s time to do some painting prep.

How do I prep my wallpapered walls for paint?

  • Glue down any seams or corners that are lifting with some wallpaper glue, 
  • Wipe or vacuum off any dust or grime that’s built up over time. If your wallpaper is uncoated, use a dry cloth. If it's coated, you can use a damp sponge. 
  • Make sure the wall is completely dry before adding any paint! 
  • Next, mask your doorways and skirting boards (and the edges where the walls meet the ceilings, if you aren’t confident of cutting in finely) to avoid getting paint on them, and place some drop sheets to protect the carpet from paint splatters.

Where do I start painting?

Start with a less obvious area first, to see how the paint will look over the wallpaper, and how many coats it will need. We’d suggest applying a primer coat first, then at least two coats of paint over it. If you’re happy with how it looks, carry on with the rest of the wall. 

Help! I’m having second thoughts

If you’ve painted over your wallpaper already and don’t love the finish, or are thinking about putting a coat of paint over the wallpaper and aren’t sure if it’s a good idea or not, it’s time to get some advice. 

A lot of the time paint over wallpaper will only be a quick fix to get a room looking marginally better than it was. 

It’s not a long-term solution because the finish won’t be as good as paint on a wallpaper-free wall that’s been properly prepped. Stripping wallpaper, sanding and plastering walls for painting is a big job, so it’s no wonder people often try to paint over wallpaper instead.

removing wallpaper paint over wallpaper

Save yourself time, money and effort by calling the experts instead. Not only do we remove wallpaper, we’ll prep your walls properly, and work with you to achieve the painted wall finish you really want, with minimal disruption. Your home is your castle, and one of the biggest and most important investments you’ll ever make – so let our team of Brisbane painters help you get it right with a quality interior paint job that’ll bring your room to life.

If you're looking for quality house painters in Brisbane, then be sure to give us a call.

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About Louise Kraudelt

Meet Louise Kraudelt, a knowledgeable and insightful author in the field of house painting. With a passion for sharing her expertise, Louise provides valuable information and tips on all aspects of commercial and house painting in this blog.

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