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Is It Ever Ok To Paint Over Wallpaper?

Image: Feathering Nest

If you move into a home with existing wallpaper that's not your style, in bad shape, or you're just looking for a change, can you just paint over it? Here's the 101:

Answer: You can, if you know how to do it correctly. Deciding whether painting over wallpaper is the right decision for you comes down to the amount of time and money you're willing to spend.

Some wallpaper comes off easily while others do not. First, test a small spot to see if it comes off. If it does, you can steam it off altogether. If not, it may have multiple layers (usually in older homes) and you'll really have to dig behind the paper to remove it which can damage the wall and take a long time. Painting over the wallpaper might be best in that situation.

Painting over wallpaper is best left to the professionals. However, if you're feeling up to the task, make sure to have the right gear to protect yourself from the strong chemicals:

  • long-sleeves and pants

  • disposable gloves

  • eye goggles

  • hat

  • mask

  • open windows for ventilation

1. Prep Your Space: Clean the walls to remove dust and dirt. Tape off trim and move/cover furniture.

2. Repair Problem Spots: Repair peeling/loose wallpaper and seal it off with primer.

3. Paint Over the Wallpaper: Once everything is cleaned, repaired, dried, and even, start painting!

Need help creating the home of your dreams? Call Adolfson Interior Design at (651) 468-6208 or email

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