Over the past few days I’ve been wallpapering the main bedroom in our new house. It’s coming along so well! The number one question I’ve been getting as I’ve shared then progress on Instagram is- can you wallpaper over textured walls?
can you wallpaper over textured walls?
Yes, you can wallpaper a textured wall. The wallpaper will stick to the majority of textures. Usually, the smoother the wall, the easier the wallpaper will be to install and the better it’ll look. But textured walls don’t mean you can’t have wallpaper. I’ll go through the textures I recommend wallpapering, the wallpaper that will work best, and tips to ensure your success.
The first time I wanted to wallpaper over a textured wall, I sanded the wall to get a smooth surface to adhere the paper to. It worked great! But it was a huge mess and took forever to do. Above is the wall after I removed the wallpaper a few years later.
However, the next time I wanted to wallpaper, I didn’t want to have to go to the trouble of sanding, so I just put the peel and stick wallpaper up over the texture and held my breath- would it stick?
It went up and stayed up nicely! This was a bathroom and it stuck even with the humidity of the shower. On the last photo, you can see the texture through the wallpaper a bit. It wasn’t super obvious, but you could see it.
So yes- you can put wallpaper over textured walls! I have lots of experience wallpapering textured walls and I’ll show exactly what works and what doesn’t. There are some stipulations though that I’ll go deeper into.
how smooth do walls need to be before wallpapering?
Before wallpapering over a textured wall, you need to assess it. For light texture, wallpaper will stick just fine! For thicker textures, they’ll be too rough and will show through the paper, the seams won’t lay flat or it possibly won’t stick. Here’s a breakdown of what will and won’t work.
Even with lightly textured walls, you still need to prep properly. Make sure to wash the wall really well to remove any dirt or grime. In my master bedroom, I’m papering above the chair rail and I made sure to clean it first before doing any papering.
Next, if there’s any large pieces of texture or drips, use a scraper to remove them. Those will show through and, especially if they land by a seam, can cause bubbling.
can you make textured walls smooth?
If your walls are too textured to work with wallpaper, you can smooth them out. To do so, use joint compound to skim coat the walls. Or you can sand down the texture like I did above. Before you do either of these two labor intensive alternatives, make sure to test a sample of wallpaper first to see how it looks and sticks. You might be pleasantly surprised!
P.s. I have a whole tutorial on how to get smooth walls if your walls are too textured.
what types of wallpaper work on textured walls?
In my master bedroom, I’m using traditional pasted wallpaper. My paper is from Milton & King- it’s the Kingdom Palm Wallpaper. I’m using Roman wallpaper adhesive to adhere it to the wall. I apply the wallpaper paste with a roller- here’s some more tips on how to install.
Below a close up image of the texture on my walls. This paper is super thick and you can’t see any texture through it.
I’ve tested both peel and stick and traditional wallpaper on lightly textured walls and they both work. However, the lighter in color the wallpaper and the thinner it is, the more the texture will be. So thin white paper will show the most texture while thick dark paper will show the least texture.
Personally, I’ve had success with Milton and King for traditional wallpaper and Anewall and Spoonflower for peel and stick wallpaper.
I’ve heard that the cheapest wallpaper from Target is super thin. I’ll show an example below. Tempaper wallpaper is also thin. Thin wallpaper is only a big deal if your texture is on the medium or heavy side and you use light colored wallpaper.
wallpaper fail on textured walls
My sister bought Target wallpaper that was super cute, but it showed every bit of texture in her powder bathroom. She didn’t love how wrinkly it looked because the wallpaper was so thin and showed every bit of texture. She ended up removing it. This shows how light colored thin paper really shows texture.
On those exact same textured walls, in the guest bedroom of my sister’s house, I used peel and stick wallpaper that was thicker (this was from Anewall) and the texture didn’t show at all.
peel and stick wallpaper on textured walls
bird and branches wallpaper / kitchen sources
In my kitchen renovation, I used peel and stick wallpaper from Muse Wall Studio. On the lightest parts of the paper, you can see a little bit of the texture. But it sticks really well.
If you try out a sample of peel and stick wallpaper on textured walls and it comes off, another option is to use wallpaper paste between the wallpaper and the wall. That’ll provide an extra adhesive that should keep the wallpaper on the wall.
why does the wallpaper website say to not use on textured walls?
Most websites where you buy wallpaper says to not apply peel and stick wallpaper on textured walls. Why? Because if it doesn’t work, they don’t want to have to issue a refund. And they want to ensure that their wallpaper sticks so they recommend to only put wallpaper on smooth surfaces. They want happy customers and to protect their company.
It’s totally understandable. But I still recommend buying a sample and trying it out. It’ll probably work! Really, I want everyone who wants wallpapered walls to have them because I love the look so much. So here’s a recap of my tips that you can do to avoid sanding or applying a skim coat to the walls to prep for paint-
- buy a sample and test it out on your texture
- choose thicker wallpaper
- don’t go with white or super light colored backgrounds on peel and stick wallpaper (they show texture more)
- traditional wallpaper made from paper will hide texture best
- the more texture your wall has, the less likely it’ll stick
- try using wallpaper paste with peel and stick wallpaper to get it to stick
wallpaper that works
tiger wallpaper / playroom sources
I have wallpapered over textured walls probably 20 times. Above is peel and stick wallpaper over a textured wall. I could keep showing you examples of it looking great, but hopefully you can see that if you follow the texture guidelines, choose a thicker or darker wallpaper on textured walls, it’ll be beautiful.
main bedroom wallpaper
I thought I would show you the progress on my main bedroom to finish up this blog post! The wallpaper is looking super cute. Especially as I layer on furniture and accessories! Isn’t that gold mirror gorgeous on the wallpaper?!
I’m using the desk for a vanity which is super nice since the bathroom is small and I can now store my makeup and hair tools here. A vanity is one of my favorite little luxuries to add to my spaces. The desk and mirror are from Grandin Road– I love how unique and special each piece feels!
Well, consider this your official sneak peek of the master bedroom! There’s so much potential in here- it’ll be really fun to keep adding personality. Have you ever wallpapered over a textured wall? How did it work for you?
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I just wallpapered our laundry room over textured walls. The texture is the first “yes” texture image of the “yes and no” list. The paper is super thick, so you can’t see or feel the texture. 😊
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Nice Heather!🙌 Thank you for sharing. I love when wallpapering goes how you want it to