Can You Wallpaper Textured Walls?
It’s a question I’ve gotten from quite a few readers in the wake of all my wallpaper-related posts over the last year: “Can You Wallpaper Textured Walls?” My answer has always been “I don’t see why not!” but I never had textured walls of my own to experiment on and say for sure. Then we moved into this house that has ONLY textured walls; and when I reached out to a removable wallpaper company (that will remain nameless) for a partnership, they required the walls not only be cleaned and primed, but also smooth and texture-free. “Hmmm…maybe wallpaper won’t work on textured walls?” I thought. So I decided to experiment myself! The short and quick answer is “Yes, wallpaper does work on textured walls!” (thank goodness!!!). But I’m guessing you might want some more details than that, huh? Read on to find out what you need to know when attempting to wallpaper textured walls!
When we moved out of our last house and I successfully peeled away our renter-friendly wallpaper installation in about 5 minutes, I proclaimed wallpaper as my new go-to for covering up unsightly walls and adding personality to a room without the hassle of paint. I think I may have even said to myself: “I may never paint again!” But then we moved into this house with all textured walls, and I started to panic a bit. Here is a good shot of what ALL of our walls look like (Note – they are also all painted with eggshell-finish paint):
Before assuming wallpaper wouldn’t work or investing in paper that might not, I decided to play with a bunch of scraps I had on-hand from previous projects. What I saw with the small scraps encouraged me enough to give both peel-and-stick wallpaper and traditional wallpaper a try on our textured walls! Here’s what I found…
Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper on Textured Walls
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is big right now, and I have successfully used in on a number of occasions. Below is some from Target around our fireplace in our Kansas house. (Note – these were perfectly smooth, clean walls.)
Before committing full sheets of this somewhat-expensive paper to our textured walls, I did a quick test. Below are samples from Spoonflower (1), Target (2) and Walls Need Love (3). All three stuck to the walls without any issue, but there are a few things I’d like to point out. The Spoonflower wallpaper (1), while very expensive, is also VERY thick and textured. As such, you can neither see nor feel the wall texture underneath; I also think the dark blue color helps hide the wall imperfections. The Target (2) wallpaper is the thinnest and “flimsiest” of the group, yet it too stuck to the wall without any issue. If you look closely however, you can see the wall texture under the paper. The Walls Need Love (3) paper is in between the two. It has a slightly heavier weight than the Target paper, and I don’t feel like the texture under the paper is AS noticeable.
After leaving the paper samples up for a few weeks, I felt confident enough the paper would stick and stay on the textured walls, and therefore decided to do a full application of the Target rolls I’ve had in my stash for a while.
Wallpaper shown: Red and White Striped Wallpaper from Target
I’m not going to show the full closet today (you can now see it here), but below is the Target peel-and-stick wallpaper applied to the textured walls inside of the nursery closet. Having applied a lot of peel-and-stick paper to walls, drawers, etc over the years, I can say that it went up exactly as it does on any other surface. The seams match up fine, and I had absolutely no issue with it sticking or staying.
If you look veeeery closely below, you can tell that the wall under the paper is indeed textured. However, it is hardly noticeable from a “normal” distance; the paper honestly does a great job camouflaging the ugly walls underneath it!
After success in the nursery closet with Target’s peel-and-stick wallpaper, I have since wallpapered a feature wall in a bathroom in the same house using the same product…achieving the same awesome results!
Wallpaper shown: Target’s Celestial Peel and Stick Wallpaper
I also successfully wallpapered the backsplash in our same house!
Wallpaper shown: Hex Pattern
In conclusion, yes indeed, peel-and-stick wallpaper can work on textured walls. I will caution you, however, to ALWAYS test your walls and the specific paper you want to use before doing a complete installation (you can order swatches and samples from most wallpaper companies). Peel-and-stick wallpaper is expensive (and not the easiest thing to put up), so apply a sample to your walls and allow it to stay for a few days before investing your time and money!
Psssst – Interested in peel and stick papers but can’t handle the cost? See my tips for getting it cheap(er)!
Traditional Wallpaper on Textured Walls
Peel-and-stick papers do have their advantages, but when it comes down to overall cost and ease of installation, I actually prefer regular wallpaper. In our last home, I installed non-pasted, normal wallpaper to our non-textured walls with liquid starch. It worked out so brilliantly and came down so quickly that I knew I’d be doing it again!
Unfortunately, my initial experiments using non-pasted wallpaper scraps and the process I detail in THIS post didn’t turn out so well. Traditional wallpaper can be a bit heavy, and I was having a hard time getting the paper to “grab” to the wall with all the rivets, dents, and bumps. Not to be deterred however, I changed my methods just a bit and eventually got it to work! First, let me show you traditional wallpaper on the textured walls and then I’ll reveal how I did it if you want to try it yourself!
First, here is a scrap of traditional, non-pasted wallpaper applied to our textured walls with liquid starch. Straight on from the front, all looks fine and dandy! It’s smooth, it’s secure…
Wallpaper shown: wallpapered a feature wall in a bathroom
…and it’s still a totally temporary installation. Here is the paper coming off the textured walls in a single sheet, leaving no paper behind!
However, below is a shot that perfectly details some of the “issues” I encountered with the textured walls. As you can see, this wallpaper is fairly lightweight (compared to what I used last time); and as such, the texture really, really shows through the paper (especially on the reflective, metallic areas). Note also that the seam between two sheets of paper isn’t perfect.
Here is what I mean. Because of all the bumps, ridges, and grooves of the textured walls, getting the sheets of wallpaper to line up perfectly and make a seamless transition is pretty tough. In fact, near impossible.
Even with super precise measuring and lining up the pattern, there will inevitably be bumps and gaps you just can’t prevent.
I had a strong suspicion that the “problems” I was having was more due to the white, light-weight texture of the paper rather than the walls, so I experimented with some heavier, darker, more textured paper. Using some leftover grasscloth wallpaper (from THIS project), I experimented again; and this time, I had absolutely no issue with the wall showing through or matching up the seems (since the paper was thicker).
Oh – and that one installation tip I wanted to mention? When I installed the paper in my office back in Kansas, I applied the liquid starch to the wall and put the dry sheets of paper onto the wet wall, making it a very quick and easy installation. That same method didn’t work this time around. To get the paper to stick on the textured walls, I had to apply starch to BOTH the paper and the walls. It took a bit more time (and a bit more starch); but it eventually yielded the same renter-friendly results! Phew!
So in conclusion, I will say this. Yes, you can apply traditional, non-pasted wallpaper to textured walls. Thicker, darker papers will do a better job at concealing the texture of the wall underneath, and you will likely need more starch to get the job done. That said, the lighter-color and -weight paper still worked pretty well. In fact, I found that the minor “imperfections” mentioned above (texture showing through, slight bumps in the seams) weren’t a deal-breaker at all – in fact, look at how great it turned out!
You can see the full nursery reveal here!
I realize this post isn’t full of the prettiest pictures, but I do hope it helps out those of you who are loving the wallpaper trend but have been hesitant to give it a try because of your textured walls. I can’t emphasize enough that you should always, always, always test a sample of the paper you want to use on your walls before doing a full installation. But based on my few experiments using both peel-and-stick and traditional wallpaper+liquid starch, you should be able to enjoy the wallpaper trend in your home too!
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