How to Paint Wallpaper

How to Paint Wallpaper

The very idea of painting over wallpaper is likely to raise a few eyebrows. After all, isn’t one of the big reasons to opt for wallpaper in the first place because it doesn’t require painting?

That being said, there are plenty of reasons why you might wish to paint over your wallpaper. Maybe you’re moving, so you are selling your home, and you have decided that painting your wallpaper will make it more attractive to potential buyers. Maybe you’re staying put and are simply sick of the same stale wallpaper and are ready for a change.

Whatever your reason for wanting to paint your wallpaper, this guide can help you do so with ease and achieve superior results.

Getting Ready

First, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right tools on hand. In addition to any rollers or brushes you might be using to apply the paint itself, you’ll need to clean the wallpaper with soap and water as well as specialized cleaning agents such as trisodium phosphate. You’ll also want to make sure that you have primer on hand.

One additional word of caution before you proceed – be aware of any texturing on your wallpaper before you begin. Painting over the texturing almost certainly won’t eliminate it. If you don’t want that texture to show through your paint, it is best to remove the wallpaper altogether.

Painting Your Wallpaper

Now that you have everything in place, it’s time to start painting your wallpaper.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when painting wallpaper is that you need to be aware of every last corner and wrinkle. The last thing you want is to paint over one of these without realizing it. Painted wallpaper can look horrendous when it features a lot of wrinkles, bumps, tears, seams, or other obvious flaws which have been painted over. Whether you’re simply not aware of these flaws or you are and you think you can hide them under paint, the fact remains that they’ll show through the paint and look awful.

You’ll thus want to make sure that the wallpaper is completely smooth, clean, and intact before painting it. You’ll also want to make sure that you paint very smoothly, and that the paint doesn’t collect in any corners of the wallpaper.

Take your brushes, pick a corner and continue from there as you cut in along the perimeter.  Once you have cut in from the top corner toward the middle, take your roller and start filling in a section a few feet tall and across. Move the roller up and down the length of the section. Some painters prefer a straight up and down motion, while others prefer to make a series of overlapping filled-in “W’s.” 

Chances are one coat alone will not be enough to cover your wallpaper sufficiently, and is typically not enough for any home painting job anyway. You’ll thus want to be sure to add multiple layers of paint, allowing each one to dry before adding another.

With these tips, you’ll be able to transform your interior by successfully painting over wallpaper.

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