Are You a Peel and Stick Wallpaper Fan? Get Pros and Cons Now

Beautiful wall paper in living room

Want to add your own touch of color and style to your home? Try wallpaper. Before you give it a hard pass – either because it’s hard to hang or because it’s permanent – consider peel and stick wallpaper, the friend of homeowners and renters alike. And don’t forget traditional wallpaper, which comes pre-pasted making it easier and faster to hang.

Which Wallpaper Is Best for Your Space, Peel and Stick or Traditional?

Which wallpaper is best for your decorating project? If you want an easy way to customize your space without a permanent commitment, peel and stick is your answer. For those looking for a longer-term solution, take a look at traditional wallpaper. Here are some pros and cons of both.

Traditional wallpaper:

  • Has a backing that makes it easier to remove than older papers
  • Is breathable and less likely to mold*
  • Doesn’t expand or contract, which means it stays in place better
  • Can be cleaned with a damp cloth
  • Is moveable while it’s still wet, allowing you to perfect the application
  • Takes longer to install
  • Requires soaking and pasting
  • Can be hard to get a straight line, especially in rooms that aren’t plumb

Peel and stick wallpaper:

  • Requires no pasting or soaking
  • Attaches like a decal; just remove the backing and start hanging
  • Peels right off
  • Once it’s up, it doesn’t allow you to adjust the lie
  • Tends to bubble and peel
  • Is susceptible to heat and humidity (not good for bathrooms or laundry rooms)

What About Cost?

Both wallpapers start around the same price point, around $30 a roll, and go up from there. The real cost comes in installation, either in paying someone to do it for you or in the time you spend doing it.

Does Durability Matter?

Each type of wallpaper, traditional and peel and stick, takes durability into consideration during design. After all, wear and tear are a natural part of life. But of the two, traditional wallpaper wins the staying-power game.

That’s in part due to its installation – it actually becomes part of the wall rather than just sticking to the surface. When applied correctly, it’s also less likely to bubble and peel than peel and stick wallpaper. And it’s suited to any application, including humid rooms like bathrooms.

What’s the Verdict?

If you’re looking for a temporary, fun way to add a unique spin to your décor – and one that’s easy and cost-effective to apply – try peel and stick wallpaper. If you want a more durable, long-term solution, try traditional paper. It may take more work to install it, but you’ll have a décor solution that will last for years.

Since hanging traditional paper is tricky if you’ve never done it, you might consider hiring out this job, especially if you’re papering a large space or your paper has a large or intricate pattern. Our expert wallpaper installers can help. Or, if paint is more your speed, get free 8′ x 8′ color samples from our Color Consultants.

*Please refer to the product and safety data sheets for the wallpaper product you select.


Kelley Rebori

Kelley Rebori has written for national brands like Paintzen, HGTV, the DIY Network and Trulia for more than a decade. She loves home renovation projects, chocolate icing and small poodles. She and her husband split the year between their homes in Tennessee and Italy.