Wall paper or paint : how do I decide?

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally
Clean Design Modern living room
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When it’s time to finish the interior walls, most home owners face a dilemma. Should they paint the walls or coat them with wall paper? Painting is the easy option for a basic look, but for more complicated finishes, such as stucco or textured walls, the result may not always turn out as expected unless you use an experienced and skilled professional.

Wall paper is quicker to fix, but needs an experienced hand to avoid bubbling or misaligned patterns. Additionally, the cost per square meter of wall paper is usually more expensive than that of paint.

Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, budget and the overall look that is envisaged have roles to play in making the decision. To simplify things for you, we’ve put together this ideabook to help you decide whether paint or wall paper is the better option for your home.

Texture and shimmer

Wall Highlight with Wallpaper Navmiti Designs Modern walls & floors
Navmiti Designs

Wall Highlight with Wallpaper

Navmiti Designs

For a feature wall in the living room, instead of trying to create texture with cement and paint, using textured wall paper in gold or silver can instantly bring glamour to the room.

Striking contrast

Living Room Clean Design Modern living room
Clean Design

Living Room

Clean Design

When a room calls for dramatic contrast to lift the ambiance, wall paint works better than wall paper, like in this home, where the bright-red walls bring in energy and warmth into a plain white room with light toned furnishings.

Bringing life to a dead space

While a bright colour can add life to a plain wall along the staircase, wall paper with elegant motifs brings an interesting element, creating a refreshing feel in the area.

Dreamy background

Lily Pond homify Scandinavian style walls & floors

Lily Pond


Adding a splash of colour and design to a background wall can completely transform the mood of a room. In this bedroom, the lily pond effect that infuses a dreamy quality to the area can be achieved with either paint or wall paper. However, creating a wall mural with paint is more time-consuming than pasting printed wall paper.

Colourful combination

Jungle Half Wall Wallpaper Funwall

Jungle Half Wall Wallpaper


Wall paper and paint can be creatively combined in a room to achieve a unique look. In this kid’s room, the upper half of the wall is painted in bright green, while the lower section has a jungle-themed wall paper that doubles up as an activity board for colouring.

Room with a theme

Text graphic wallpaper designs using custom wallpaper maker for modern wall decor ideas. Walls and Murals wallsandmurals

Text graphic wallpaper designs using custom wallpaper maker for modern wall decor ideas. Walls and Murals


When a room is designed to a theme, whether it’s to showcase one’s love for music or nature, decorating the walls with wall paper that suits the theme enhances the mood in the area. The music-themed graphic printed wall paper in this room effortlessly achieves the desired ambiance.

Wall art

If you aren’t a fan of having a wall paper pattern overpower the room, using bright paint with a simple wall decal to break the monotony is a suitable option.

Creating an illusion

In a room with a low ceiling or one that is narrow, striped walls help to create an optical illusion to make the room look larger than it is. The vertical striped wall paper in this living room works with the cleverly proportioned miniature fireplace to enhance the sense of height in this room. While this effect can be achieved by painstakingly painting stripes on the wall, using wall paper is easier.

Customized spaces

Kids Room by Neeras homify Nursery/kid's room

Kids Room by Neeras


Although printed wall paper comes in a wide range of options, it may not be available in a theme that you desire. For example, in this children’s bedroom, the walls are custom painted in a Spiderman theme complete with the masked hero and skyscrapers in the background.

Faux texture

If you love leather, brick or wood on the walls, but don’t want the hassle of maintenance to keep it looking fresh, wall paper with faux texture provides a simple solution. Additionally, it allows you to introduce a splash of colour without taking away from the textural quality.

Classic beauty

In a classic-themed home, with gorgeous wall panels, paint is the best option for creating a beautiful contrast, while retaining the overall look of the room.

For more interesting options for decorating your walls, see this ideabook.

Which do you prefer - paint or wall paper? Let us know the reason in the comments.

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