If you’re currently debating between removable wallpaper or the traditional kind, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced the “other end” of hanging wallpaper. That is, taking it down to the end.

Removing wallpaper has historically been a royal pain-in-the-neck. It’s a multi-step process that usually involves scoring the paper, steaming it (or spraying it with wallpaper remover), and then scraping it off bit by bit.

Over the last ten years, a wide range of removable, peel-and-stick wallpaper options has cropped up on the market to solve the wallpaper removal problem. Plus, price-wise, even the best peel-and-stick wallpaper is comparable to traditional versions.

Defining Traditional Wallpaper and Removable Wallpaper

Defining traditional and removable wallpaper is the first step to understanding their differences. It will also provide you with a solid starting point on which to base your decision.

Traditional Wallpaper

When you think of defining traditional wallpaper, you may immediately get mental images of your grandmother’s kitchen walls. All traditional means when referring to wallpaper is that it is not self-adhesive.

Traditional wallpaper utilizes an adhesive you must apply before putting the paper on the wall. Some wallpaper pastes require the panels to be soaked before application; others allow the glue to be involved with a brush to the back of the paper or directly to the wall. Regardless, all of them require extra effort and may be messy depending on your skill.

While the modern non-woven backing of this type of wallpaper makes it easier to remove than its vinyl-backed predecessor, traditional wallpaper is not called removable for a reason. It was designed to stay put for decades to come and, thus, was not created to be easily removed.

Removable Wallpaper

Removable wallpaper, on the other hand, does have a self-adhesive backing. Often referred to as “Renter’s Wallpaper,” this wall covering was designed to be put up and taken down quickly and easily.

You can apply it like a sticker or decal, allowing you to put it up, take it down and move it to another area with little to no effort or mess. Removable wallpaper for kids room is the perfect interior design tool you can rely on.

Removable paper requires no soaking or special adhesives. Its unique pull-and-peel features can be put up in a few minutes and taken down just as quickly.

Situations that will help you make the choice

The decision between traditional and removable wallpaper boils down to your specific needs and personal choice. Traditional wallpaper takes more work but is more robust and lasts longer. Removable goes up and comes down quickly but is not made for longevity.

1.   For Renters:

Removable wallpaper is probably best if you change your decor often or are in a temporary living situation. Peel and stick wallpaper will remove cleanly off your walls, leaving no sticky or messy residue behind, making it an easy and affordable option for renters to love!

2.   For humid regions like bathrooms or laundry rooms:

The removable wallpaper for walls can peel, seemingly on its own, and you will have to stick it back on the wall. The adhesion is nowhere near as strong as a paste. It is more susceptible to heat, cold, and humidity, which makes it unworkable for humid bathrooms or hot laundry rooms. It may be a common issue that you’ll walk into a room and find the corner of your removable wallpaper hanging down or the entire panel on the floor. Its adhesive quality is affected by everything from the paint on your wall to direct sunlight, making its performance different for every environment. Traditional non-woven wallpaper works every time.

3.   For long-term usage

If you are looking for a high-end or specialty paper, you’ll almost exclusively find it in a traditional paste style. Moreover, if you will be staying for more than a year, traditional wallpaper is likely your best bet.

When and where to use removable wallpaper

  • If you’re renting and need a temporary solution
  • If you’re tackling a small project like the back of a bookcase or a powder room accent wall
  • If you want to try a trend without committing to it long-term
  • If you’re wallpapering a space that’ll evolve, like a nursery or kids’ room

When and where to use traditional wallpaper

If you own your home and:

  • Are installing a classic paper, like a grasscloth or toile
  • If you find a paper you know you’ll love enough to keep around for at least five years
  • If you don’t mind a few days or effort to take the paper down or are willing to pay a professional to take down the paper
  • If you’re doing a more significant job like an entire bedroom
  • If you live in an old home with walls that may not be exactly straight

Final thoughts

Deciding which wallpaper is best comes down to a personal choice. According to Lauren Watts from usedhouseofvintage.com removable may be something to consider if you have temporary tastes or a temporary living situation. However, if you’re going to stay for more than a year and want a quality product that you can count on, traditional non-woven wallpaper is the way to go. So, in the bottom line, choosing between removable wallpaper vs. traditional will largely depend on the type of project you’re doing, whether you own or rent your home, and how long you plan to live with your new patterned walls. Hope you will find this post interesting and informative!

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