Wallpaper vs Paint: Insider Info You Need to Know

wallpaper vs paint

The debate on wallpaper versus paint has gone intense in the past decade. While some can’t stop talking about the many merits of the new-age wallpapers as the best option to adorn and protect walls, others vehemently oppose any questions posed on the goodness of the traditional paint. While it is entirely an individual choice which argument you side with, it is important to be objective when you are picking an option for your home. Your requirements must play the decisive role whether you pick wallpaper or wall paint to adorn your four walls.

Now, let us see what fits your needs the best.

Cost analysis

Everything, big or small, boils down to your budget. This makes it absolutely necessary to do a cost analysis beforehand, your preference for wallpaper to paint or the other way round notwithstanding.

Between the two, wallpapers are costlier.

In India, you could find wallpapers in standard 57 square foot (sqft) and 75 sqft rolls. The cost of one roll could be range anywhere between Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000, depending on the variety you choose. The installation charge could vary between Rs 200 to Rs 500 per role, depending on the contractor you are hiring to do the job.

If you decide to go for a paint job, the cost would reduce significantly.

Depending on the paint brand and the contractor one picks, it would cost the owners between Rs 10 and Rs 20 to get a square foot of space painted. This includes the putty and primer job, too. Even if you choose only the best of all materials, it should not cost you over Rs 35,000 to get a 1,000-sqft home painted.

Time tracker

Let us assume you are not going to do the job yourself, and a skilled worker would be hired to do it for you. Let us also assume you are starting on a bare wall.

It would not take more than a couple of days to get a room painted. Installing wallpapers on the other hand is a job that must be done extremely carefully for the product to give you the best results. It may take at least a week to get the job done in a similar room.

Do note here that if the wall is not bare and needs renovation or scraping of the old wallpaper, the process would extend much longer.


Paint can chip easily and will need a touch up every once in a while. In rooms with high moisture levels, use a waterproof paint to prevent damage. A room will generally need to be repainted every 3-5 years, sometimes more frequently in high traffic areas. There are new paints on the market that you allow you to scrub any marks off, so you won’t need to repaint the wall. The downside is the finish – it’s rough and less visually pleasing.

You might not think wallpaper would stand up to the wear-and-tear inflicted by children and pets, but modern wallpaper is durable and easy to clean. However, it’s better suited to rooms such as dining rooms and bedrooms where there is minimal moisture and less footfall as it can be difficult to make running repairs. If you do have pets or small children but want wallpaper, the wipe clean vinyl varieties are your best option.


There are as many varieties of paint available in the market today as you could conceive in your mind. They also come in different base types — water and oil base paints. They come in different finishes, too, including matte finish, semi-gloss & gloss finish, eggshell finish and satin finish. Sky is indeed the limit if you go for painting.

The same is true in case you pick wallpapers. Among the most popular types of wallpapers are vinyl, vinyl-coated fabric, solid-sheet vinyl, non-woven, pre-pasted, grasscloth, etc.

Area specific

Wallpapers are pasted on your walls using adhesive. Any exposure to moisture and humidity means the paper peels off. Similarly, exposure to heat could damage the wallpaper. This is why wallpapers are a strict no-no in areas such as bathroom, kitchen and exterior walls. These could only be used in specific locations such as bedrooms, sitting areas and dining areas. Paint, too, would not stay its usual course in areas where there is constant exposure to moisture and heat. It is for this reason that tiles are become a popular option to fix bathroom and kitchen walls in place of paint.


Paint has the tendency to chip and wallpaper has the tendency to peel off. If you invest in fine quality stuff, they would bear the wear and tear tolerably well. Depending on the quality, you may also be able to wipe them clean if you young one decided to use the wall for doodling purposes or you pet fancied jumping it up and down. However, to apply that quality of material, you will have to invest heavily, too. In this case, you strictly get what you pay for in the best-case scenario.

Other aspects

Now that we have a general idea, and may have made up your mind to pick one, let us look at what else you must consider before making a final decision.

It may not be advisable to do the job yourself if you are looking for perfection.

If wallpaper is damaged,  it is difficult to get a replacement as design and patterns keep changing,you will have to get the entire wallpaper changed.

In case you start having second thoughts about the design you pick, you will have to apply a good deal of muscle to do the scrapping.

It is a child’s play to pick the colour-schemes. Paint companies offer a million ready-made options to pick from.

In case you decide to do-it-yourself, you would find the painting job easy.


Do you really have to pick one?

Of course not! Most homebuyers these days are using wallpapers one wall to make it the highlight point while painting the remaining walls. Then, there are texture wallpapers that you could paint. In the world of wall-covering, you may go as far as your imagination takes you.

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