Peel-and-Stick vs. Traditional Wallpaper: Which Is Right for Your Space? (2023)


  • Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a less-permanent alternative to traditional wallpaper.

  • Traditional wallpaper has a longer lifespan than the self-adhesive version.

  • Self-adhesive wallpaper is easier to apply for the casual DIYer.

  • Traditional wallpaper may require hiring a pro for installation and removal.

  • The ultimate decision boils down to the permanence of your living situation.

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Wallpaper can completely transform the vibe of a space, whether you’re adding it to a small powder room that packs a big punch or are going for a wallpaper accent wall in an open-format living room. Finding the right kind of wallpaper for your skill level, however, can be a bit more of a challenge.

Here’s a look at peel and stick versus traditional wallpaper to see which one is the right fit for your home design project.

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper Pros

Peel-and-Stick vs. Traditional Wallpaper: Which Is Right for Your Space? (1)

Photo: Plan Shooting 2 / Imazins / ImaZinS / Getty Images

The use of peel-and-stick wallpaper is on the rise as more homeowners attempt impermanent DIY projects to fix up their spaces. There are many reasons a homeowner might opt for a self-adhering and removable wallpaper over regular wallpaper, each of which is important to explore before you make your final choice.

1. It’s Easy to Install

The biggest selling point of peel-and-stick wallpaper is ease of installation. Anyone can apply peel-and-stick wallpaper regardless of experience, as it was designed with the novice DIYer in mind.

Adding wallpaper to your home is a bigger commitment than, say, painting the walls, which can easily be covered with a new coat of paint if you don’t like the end result. Peel-and-stick wallpaper presents a more temporary solution for those who like to change their aesthetic regularly, and it’s also a go-to for renters.

The entire concept of peel-and-stick wallpaper is that you can remove it cleanly when you’re tired of the look. It shouldn’t leave any residue behind, meaning you can immediately repaint the surface or add new wallpaper if you choose.

2. It’s Affordable

Changing out fixtures and other cosmetic upgrades to your home are often costly. Traditional wallpaper can start as little as $10 a roll and quickly go up into the hundreds depending on how fancy you go. Peel-and-stick wallpaper, on the other hand, tends to average just a few dollars per square foot.

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper Cons

Peel-and-stick wallpaper may be easy to install, but there are downsides you need to know about, too.

1. Wall Surface Matters

Self-adhesive wallpaper works best on flat, smooth walls with few bumps, aberrations, or texture. You’ll want to smooth the surface then prime it with the right paint sheen—in this case, satin or semi-gloss—before applying.

2. It’s Temporary

While peel-and-stick wallpaper should last for years in the right conditions, the nature of its self-adhesive application means that it’s meant to be removable and not intended to stick to walls for decades.

Traditional Wallpaper Pros

Peel-and-Stick vs. Traditional Wallpaper: Which Is Right for Your Space? (2)

Photo: Fancy/Veer/Corbis / Corbis / Getty Images

Traditional wallpaper goes on differently than peel-and-stick: You’ll first need a smooth primed or painted wall, then will spread the adhesive on the wall with a roller or a brush. The last step is laying the wallpaper, beginning in a corner, and overlapping each piece so the pattern aligns perfectly before you cut the edges in a clean line.

While self-adhesive wallpaper may seem like an instant winner thanks to ease of application, there are a few reasons you’d want to use traditional wallpaper instead.

1. It’s Versatile

Traditional wallpaper offers a seemingly endless array of textures, colors, and patterns. For the homeowner who wants variety or has a very specific idea in mind, regular wallpaper is the way to go as it’s more ubiquitous than peel-and-stick.

2. It’s Long-Lasting

One reason homeowners may opt for traditional wallpaper over paint is that it lasts 10 to 15 years, whereas with paint, you’ll find yourself needing to touch up the walls every three to five.

Traditional Wallpaper Cons

Before you go buying traditional wallpaper by the roll, it’s also important to look at its flaws first.

1. It’s Trickier to Install

Installing wallpaper in your home may not be as clunky as it once was, but it still requires using a paste or adhesive to install, which adds to both the time and skill level involved in installing wallpaper. It also can be messy.

2. It’s Difficult to Remove

Traditional wallpaper carries a stigma, and that’s primarily that wallpaper removal is a headache. If you’ve ever purchased a home that was wallpapered from top to bottom in what looked like your great-grandmother’s old china pattern, you can relate: The traditional style of wallpaper was built for durability and not to change out regularly. Removing it is tricky as you don’t want to damage the drywall beneath.

That said, the wallpaper industry has tweaked the product with the consumer in mind, and the newer style of traditional wallpapers do remove easier than the older vinyl styles. It’s still not reusable, though; once you remove regular wallpaper, it goes straight in the trash.

3. It’s Costly

The cost to hang wallpaper is another checkmark in the con column for regular wallpaper. If you’re dealing with a space that already has old wallpaper, the cost to hire a pro to remove old wallpaper runs $500 to $700 per room. New wallpaper on top of that is an additional $510 per room, on average.

Peel-and-Stick vs. Regular Wallpaper

Still mulling over choosing peel-and-stick vs. traditional wallpaper? Consider consulting a local interior designer and using this breakdown to make your final decision.

Options and Customizations​

No matter if you choose peel-and-stick wallpaper or traditional wallpaper, you won’t be hurting for patterns to suit your style. While both kinds of wallpapers come in hundreds of colors, patterns, and textures, though, traditional wallpaper is still the gold standard with many more options available.

Most visually appealing: Traditional wallpaper

Lifespan and Durability

One plus for any kind of wallpaper is that it has a shelf life of up to 15 years with very little maintenance. Due to the application method of regular wallpaper, it will last longer than peel-and-stick, which doesn’t utilize a strong adhesive and could start peeling back at the corners over time.

Most durable: Traditional wallpaper


Peel-and-stick wallpaper is typically cheaper than traditional wallpaper. Self-adhesive wallpaper is also intended for the DIYer, whereas with regular wallpaper you might need to hire a professional to install it, which adds to the overall cost.

Best price: Peel-and-stick wallpaper

Ease of Installation

Peel-and-Stick vs. Traditional Wallpaper: Which Is Right for Your Space? (3)

Photo: Flashpop / Stone / Getty Images

Peel-and-stick wallpaper comes in a couple different forms: pre-cut panels and rolls. Due to the DIY-friendly nature of peel-and-stick wallpaper, it’s easier to install in the sense that, once cut, it doesn’t require the use of a paste or other tools. However, once you put peel-and-stick paper on the wall, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to straighten it. With regular wallpaper, you have a buffer until the adhesive dries to get it just right.

Easiest to install: Tie

Ease of Removal

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a popular decor tool for renters who may not have the authority from their landlord to make more permanent changes to their space. Once it’s time to move out, all it takes is peeling the wallpaper off and you’re ready to go—no cumbersome removal of adhesive required.

Easiest to remove: Peel-and-stick wallpaper


Wallpaper, in general, doesn’t perform well in high-moisture areas; however, a lot of homeowners use it in small bathrooms for design impact. If you’re installing wallpaper in a room that is humid, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-ventilated.

Easiest to maintain: Peel-and-stick wallpaper

Resale Value​

Buying a home that is wallpapered with traditional wallpaper in a busy pattern can be a headache for the homeowner who doesn’t intend to keep it. The process of removing traditional wallpaper alone might be a con for those looking to buy your house. However, if your home has peel-and-stick wallpaper that can easily be removed, it will likely be more attractive from a buyer’s standpoint as they can decide to keep it or remove it on their own with little hassle and no added cost.

Less impact on resale value: Peel-and-stick wallpaper

Overall, there’s no clear winner in peel-and-stick wallpaper vs. traditional wallpaper as the decision comes down to your situation. The casual DIYer may want to use peel-and-stick wallpaper simply because of its versatility and ease of removal, while an experienced home renovator could likely handle the application of regular wallpaper on their own.

If you aren’t in your forever home and plan to sell your house, peel-and-stick wallpaper is better as it’s a more temporary design solution; however, if you want the wallpaper to hold up for a decade or more, then regular wallpaper is the victor.

If you do opt for traditional wallpaper, you may want to hire a local wallpaper installer to avoid the headache of doing it yourself.


Is peel and stick or traditional wallpaper better? ›

Traditional wallpaper is more forgiving if you need to readjust the placement of your paper or remove a few air bubbles. However, applying the adhesive can be a timely process and usually makes quite the mess. On the other hand, peel and stick wallpaper has a simple and quicker application process.

What is the downside to peel and stick wallpaper? ›

Sometimes, peel and stick wallpaper doesn't adhere well to walls. This can leave bubbles and air pockets. It can also be difficult to remove without tearing the paper or leaving residue behind. This requires additional treatments in order to prepare your walls for a new look.

Is peel and stick wallpaper tacky? ›

Peel and stick wallpaper is definitely sticky, and works well on walls. It's made of PVC so will maintain it's color over time, and is extremely durable. Mine has not fallen off and it's been over 6 months.

Does traditional wallpaper ruin walls? ›

Does removable wallpaper damage walls or paint? Self-adhesive wallpaper should not damage your surfaces as long as you follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Any leftover residue can easily be cleaned with soap and water or gentle adhesive remover.

What kind of wallpaper is trending? ›

Bold designs and large motifs backed by soft tones and muted backgrounds are what essentially define this trend. These types of designs are especially useful for functional uses, like zoning a room with wallpaper or hiding an unsightly wall.

What type of wallpaper do professionals use? ›

Vinyl Wallpaper

It is the most commonly used type of wallpaper, currently, because of its high durability. The thicker the vinyl coating layer is, the more durable the wallpaper will be.

Is Peel & Stick a good option? ›

Peel and stick flooring can be a cost-effective, low-hassle way to add an updated look to your space. It's particularly ideal for areas that don't receive a ton of traffic, and can even serve as a temporary solution while you save up for more expensive options.

Does peel and stick wallpaper last long? ›

With proper application techniques, peel-and-stick wallpaper can last five years or longer. That being said, it does not last nearly as long if applied incorrectly or removed and reapplied more than once.

Is peel and stick wallpaper actually renter friendly? ›

There are a few different types of apartment-friendly wallpapers out there these days, but peel-and-stick wallpaper is the number one choice for renters. It is almost ridiculously easy to install and remove without damaging the surface in any way.

Will peel and stick wallpaper hold up in a bathroom? ›

“Much like traditional wallpaper, the peel-and-stick wallpaper should hold up in a bathroom as long as there is a window that can be opened or a fan to turn on in order to minimize excessive humidity.” She adds that if it does start peeling, that 10 to 15 percent overage that you ordered could come in handy.

What type of wallpaper is best? ›

The most popular types of wallpapers are pre-pasted vinyl and vinyl-coated papers, which offer effortless application, are resistant to tears, can be adjusted before the paper hardens and are easy to clean and care for.

Does humidity affect peel and stick wallpaper? ›

Do not install your wallpaper in areas without temperature regulation or behind a heater. Humidity exposure: Humidity changes do affect peel and stick removable wallpapers, installations of removable materials inside bathrooms can lead to the paper lifting.

Does wallpaper decrease home value? ›

It might be hard to believe, but having wallpaper in your house actually decreases the value of your home. This is because wallpaper is one of the top five things that will keep people from buying a home.

Should you wallpaper all walls in a room? ›

You should cover all walls if you want a striking color or pattern in a tiny area. However, installing wallpaper on one wall doesn't always make the space appear smaller. If you select a color and pattern with a lower contrast to the painted wall color, the visual transition is smoother.

What is the wallpaper trend for 2023? ›

Wavy stripes, 70s style, and wallpaper in unexpected places (from the ceiling to bookcases) are among the most popular wallpaper trends for 2023.

What is the popular wall paper for 2023? ›

Wallpaper Trends For 2023 include earthy tones that range from terracottas to chocolate browns. They include bold outrageous prints and classic chinoiserie designs. They also range from minimal gradients to all-encompassing scene-scapes.

What is the most popular wallpaper for 2022? ›

Tropical and botanical prints are the leading trend for 2022 wallpaper designs. They are attention-getting and striking in any interior. As with other similar patterns, they can bring a sense of nature into the home that truly extends your living environment.

What type of wallpaper is best for living room? ›

We recommend soft hues like off-white, blues, and greens as the best wallpaper colour. These colours not only look good aesthetically but also make rooms appear bigger and more inviting.

What wallpaper does Joanna Gaines use? ›

Magnolia Wallpaper On Sale And In Stock Today

“I love the statement they make,” says Joanna Gaines. “They can be bold or subtle, but no matter which print you choose, it will reflect you.

What is the most popular wallpaper of all time? ›

Originally designed in 1945 by Flora Scalamandré (Franco Scalamandré's wife) for the then newly-opened Gino of Capri restaurant on New York City's Upper East Side, Zebras by Scalamandré is arguably the most recognizable wallpaper pattern of all time.

Is it cheaper to paint or peel and stick wallpaper? ›

Expense. Wallpaper and paint can range in price from the low end to the high end of the cost spectrum. Wallpaper on average is more expensive to purchase the rolls, supplies and to have it installed. Paint on average is cheaper and requires very few supplies, and an amateur can apply it.

How long can peel and stick be exposed? ›

Plystick Plus, our peel-and-stick underlayment, can be left exposed for up to six months. Why Choose Underlayment with Longer Exposure Ratings? There are lots of reasons why you'd want that six months to a year's worth of exposure time.

How do you prepare a wall for peel and stick wallpaper? ›

Clean, smooth surfaces are the best. A peel and stick wallpaper will properly attach itself to your wall only if its surface is smooth and clean. Before proceeding with the installation, spend a few minutes getting rid of dust and dirt. Use a microfiber cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the entire surface.

What type of wallpaper is best for bathrooms? ›

If you're looking to buy wallpaper for your bathroom, then look for waterproof and water-resistant wallpaper. You'll find a variety of these types of wallpapers on the market. Waterproof wallpaper can be installed absolutely anywhere in the bathroom, even directly in the shower, in a steam room, or behind a bath.

What do I need to know about peel and stick wallpaper? ›

It's wallpaper with a self-adhesive back. A liner backing protects the adhesive until it's ready to go on the wall. Just peel off the backing and apply. Some people might call it removable or repositionable wallpaper, but it's usually marketed as peel-and-stick, Shaw says.

How do you get air bubbles out of peel and stick wallpaper? ›

The CORRECT thing to do is to gently pull up the wallpaper panel until the trapped air is released, then smooth the panel back down. Remember to peel up the panel slowly and gently so as not to stretch the material. You'll do this every time you see an air bubble.

Which type of wallpaper is best? ›

Vinyl. Vinyl wallpaper is one of the most versatile wallcoverings on the market today, so it's a great option for growing families. It is easy to install and can be cleaned with a damp sponge. Made from PVC, vinyl wallpaper is extremely durable making it a great choice for kid's rooms, bathrooms and even kitchens.

Which quality wallpaper is best? ›

Featuring classic designs, ornate prints and offering high-quality wallpapers, these brands are truly worth shopping from.
  • Freedom Tree. Available Online. ...
  • Jaypore. Available Online. ...
  • Nilaya By Asian Paints. Available Online. ...
  • India Circus By Krsnaa Mehta. Available Online. ...
  • Life N Colors. ...
  • Marshalls. ...
  • Paper Plane Design. ...
  • Nicobar.

Can peel and stick wallpaper be removed and reused? ›

Peel and Stick Wallpaper is reusable. Use on walls. Peel off and reuse for another project. Sticky residue is not left behind on surface when removed.

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