DIY Maven: Painting Over Wallpaper

The DIY Maven shares her opinions about wallpaper! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; wallpaper should be outlawed. It’s not that there aren’t some lovely patterns out there (the new Jonathan Adler designs are to die for!) however, when you start to hate it, and chances are very high you will eventually start to hate it, you’re going to have to either remove it or put something over it.

Taking it down is a pain and you never know what kind of hell you’re going to find behind it. In one house we owned we removed a very hideous green stripped paper using a steamer. As things got soggy, a part of the wall started to disintegrate. It turned out a previous homeowner had patched a very large hole with drywall mud, versus patching it with drywall. Knowing what lay in wait, we might have been better off painting the wallpaper.
I’ve seen it done on a variety of those t.v. home make over shows, and it seems to work in some cases. According to, with some preparation, painting wallpaper is a viable alternative. The process, according to them, includes ‘repairing damaged areas, applying joint compound, sanding, drying, applying sealant (for dark colored wallpapers)’ and then painting. For the full tutorial, visit PainterClick.

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  • Reply
    Jennifer Bonwell
    March 20, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Scraping is no fun! I always wondered about painting over but I always thought it was a faux pas.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    The newer generation wallpapers come off much easier and those wall decals are also a good option.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    first try skim-coating over the wallpaper with drywall compound…it leaves a perfectly smooth wall for painting! if i can do it, anyone can!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I agree that wallpaper should be banned. Here’s an article that makes the case for using it to uncover the history of your house. Interesting stuff. Our house had wallpaper from around 1900 — not nice enough to keep, but adds great nostalgia as you’re ripping it off!

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