Yes, you heard that right. Instead of steaming wallpaper on the walls, she leaves it in place and immediately dips in with a paintbrush. “I actually paint over wallpaper, which I’ve done a lot over the years and it usually works out perfectly well and saves a lot of time if you want to kind of change a wallpapered feature wall and go paint instead,” Kimberley told us EXCLUSIVELY.
“If it has any kind of texture, just lightly re-sand it but other than that, it seems to work well for us and saves a lot of time.”
The hack immediately intrigued us, with our first thought being, ‘But can you draw on wallpaper?’ Or more importantly, should you? So we talked to the experts to find out if we should try the Kimberley hack ourselves.
Can you draw on the wallpaper?
Depending on who you ask, there are situations where you can and cannot paint over the wallpaper. However, when consulting the experts, the simple answer is yes. Although, there are some caveats and occasions when painting over wallpaper may not be the best idea.
Basically, there is a lot of uncertainty about paint on wallpaper, however, as long as there is no damage to your walls, such as holes or chips, it is perfectly fine to freshen up your wallpaper with a lick of paint. Sarah Lloyd, paints and interiors specialist at Choose a couple.
“Wallpaper actually creates a smooth surface that’s perfect for coloring, so it’s sometimes a good idea to apply it before painting if you have uneven walls.”
Although, “When painting over wallpaper, you need to make sure the walls are well primed, just as if you were painting a wall,” Sarah adds.
How to paint on wallpaper
Painting over wallpaper can be a relatively quick and easy way to update a room or an entire wall. says Kathryn Sanders, Chief Creative Officer, Inc the earth.
So here’s our step-by-step guide to painting over wallpaper to ensure the smoothest, best finish possible.
What will you need
Step by Step
1. Clean up the background
Preparation is key when painting over wallpaper and that means taking some time to create a good canvas that the paint will adhere to.
You’ll want to remove any built-up dirt, dust, or grease before you even think about painting over your wallpaper. First, start by taking a duster or a dry cloth to clean off any dust. Then you will need a mild detergent solution or sugar soap and a sponge.
Sponging helps ensure that too much moisture does not transfer to the wallpaper. And be sure to let your wallpaper dry completely before moving on to the next step in the process.
2. Prepare the area
Next, you’ll want to check the wallpaper for any defects. suggests Olivia Hunter, decorator at so wallpapers. You’ll want to make sure any flaky edges are firmly stuck down before you start applying any paint, too.
Essentially, you want the smoothest possible surface to apply the paint to. If your existing wallpaper has a light texture to it, some sandpaper should enable you to buff away the surface texture to give you a smooth base. However, wallpapers that are too textured—even if you sand them—will not give you the same smooth canvas to paint on.
You will also need to prepare the area as you normally would for painting. In areas where your wallpaper meets areas such as baseboards, the ceiling, light switches, or adjacent walls, cover those joints with tape or masking tape. You can also put down dust sheets to protect your floor or large pieces of furniture.
3. Prime walls
“Primer application is essential to improve paint adhesion and provide a uniform finish,” says Isabel Williams, skilled arranger and home improvement expert with Fantastic Services.
Oil-based or shellac-based is recommended because it has better insulating properties and can prevent the wallpaper from absorbing moisture from the paint. Avoid using water-based primers as they can soak into the wallpaper and cause damage.
We tend to prefer applying two thin coats of something like primer — or paint — rather than one thick coat. This way you will get a more even and uniform distribution and finish.
4. Now paint
Most paints will work on wallpaper but many of our experts advise choosing latex or acrylic paint.
Experts say in CGC Interiors.
We also recommend doing a patch test by applying a small amount of paint to one area of wallpaper and allowing it to dry completely – before you start painting the entire wall or room – just to make sure you get the finish you want. Looking forward to achieving.
When you shouldn’t paint on the wallpaper
licksInterior design director and color psychologist Tash Bradley shares scenarios where you should avoid painting on wallpaper and instead start from scratch by removing it before you start painting.
If the existing wallpaper is damaged in any way, painting over this “will only emphasize any imperfections,” says Tash. The same can be said of moldy or water-damaged wallpaper.
You don’t want to paint over a dark background with a light paint color. Since the wallpaper will still be visible underneath, it will take several coats of paint to cover it. At this point, it makes sense to remove the dark wallpaper and then paint the lighter shade directly onto the wall.
Vinyl wallpapers can work well in rooms that need them to be particularly durable, such as bathroom wallpaper ideas or kitchen wallpaper ideas. However, paint does not stick to this slippery, often splash-resistant substance. Even using a primer before you go to paint over vinyl wallpaper can cause the paint to crack, so it’s not recommended that you even attempt to paint over vinyl wallpaper.
You also may not be able to use wallpaper that is textured or deeply textured enough to achieve this seamless look.
“Wallpaper can also hide a damaged underlying surface, like crumbling plaster, so if you paint over it, you could create problems for yourself in the future,” Tach reveals.