Paintable Textured Wallpaper- How and Where to Use Them


Source Lowe's


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


Source: Design Sponge


I have had a love affair with paintable textured wallpaper for many years now.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s a thick wallpaper that you hang like wallpaper, paint on a coat of primer and then paint it in your desired color.  Paintable wallpaper comes in a variety of unique thick textures and patterns and once primed, you can give it virtually any paint treatment under the sun.


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


Source: Unknown


Source: Graham and Brown


Source: Design Your Wall


Source: Design Your Wall


Paintable wallpaper is an excellent design solution for a small or narrow space and is a gorgeous technique to do on a ceilings.  I recently used paintable wallpaper in my small guest bathroom and I am thrilled with the end result:





{If you’re interested in any of the details/paint colors of my guest bath revamp, you can find the revamp post here.}

I used a flat chalky gray/blue paint on my paintable wallpaper, which gave the wall such a beautiful finish.  Now, the pattern in the paper really stands out, making this small space really pop when you walk in.  It turned out to be the perfect solution to have a unique and bold wall treatment to make this small space stand out, but still giving it an elegant and calming feel.

The paintable paper that I used is made by Architectural Inspirations and I purchased it online at American Blind and Wallpaper:



There are some absolutely gorgeous paintable papers on the market today.  Here are some of my favorites that I have found. Keep in mind that some of the papers are only displayed in white so you have to use your imagination in how they would look painted:


Source: American Wallpaper and Blinds


Source: American Blind and Wallpaper


Source: Design Your Wall


Source: Design Your Walls


Source: Designer Wallpaper and Fabrics


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


You can also find some unique textured papers that can give a look of wood:


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


or for a look of an smooth plastered wall with dandelion impression:


Source: Design Your Wall


If you want a rustic plaster look without spending a fortune on the wall treatment, you may be interested in this plaster embossed paintable paper:


Source: Design Your Wall


Lastly, there are so many beautiful paintable textured borders available as well.  Done in the right space with the right color, I think they are so beautiful and elegant:


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


There are so many unique ways to utilize these papers in a home. My favorite way is to see them used in small spaces such as a small powder room or on one accent wall:


Source: Design Sponge


If you have a narrow hallway somewhere in your home, textured paintable paper looks gorgeous used as wainscoting, covering the lower part of the hallway wall:


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


Source: Designer Wall Coverings


I also love to see these papers used on the ceiling, giving an old tin ceiling look:


Source: Frugal Farmhouse


So now that you have a taste of what kind of fabulous paintable papers are out there,  I wanted to talk about how easy these papers are to work with and how best to work with them.

If you decide to order a paintable wallpaper, be sure and follow the directions on the wallpaper website for measuring for wallpaper.  You can find great selections of these papers at American Blind and Wallpaper, Designer Wall Coverings, Graham and Brown and Design Your Wall. The prices can really vary. I have seen rolls as inexpensive as $10.00 per single roll all the way up to $50.00 per roll.

When I got ready to order the paper for my bathroom, I measured my bathroom twice. I was lucky that my paper only has a small square pattern repeated, so my repeat wasn’t too bad. Some of these textured patterns are large, so checking the repeat is really important. I ordered extra just to be sure.  Also, most of these paintable papers are already pre-pasted but there are a few that are not, so you’ll want to be sure and check for that as well.

I hung the wallpaper myself. It didn’t take me long at all. Because the paper is so much thicker than standard thin wallpaper, it was so much easier to work with it.  It was a breeze hanging it and pushing it around to line it up while it was on the wall. After the paper dried, I used an exacto knife to trim it.  The paper looks yellowish while it is still wet on the wall and as it dries, it will eventually turn back to white. It took about 12-18 hours to fully dry for me.

The directions on my paintable paper said that the paper may be primed.  Because I wanted a chalky flat look, I went ahead and primed it.  I did a small area where I did not prime, just to see what happens and it works fine but it gives the painted finish a little bit more of a sheen.  So if you’re going for a more glossy look, you may want to skip the prime. This was what my paper looked like after the paper dried and I primed it:



As far as paint finishes go, I personally think these papers look best when used with either a flat paint or a very soft egg shell finish.  Although, my paper instructions said that the texture will stand out more with a pearl or glossier paint application, I’m not sure I completely agree.

There was a time in the 1990’s where people used these papers a lot, painted them and then swiped over the top of the textured pattern with antiquing glaze or a pearl glaze. Maybe that’s what the wallpaper instruction people were trying to say.  Yes, that technique will definitely make the texture stand out more, but I personally think it’s a dated look to layer these papers with dark or metallic glazes, unless it’s more of a subtle layer. I could see maybe ever so lightly swiping the tops of the texture with almost dry brush of one, or two shades up of the base color.  However, if you have a contemporary home or space, using a higher gloss (without layers of glazes) on a contemporary textured pattern could be fabulous as well:


Source: Graham and Brown


You don’t have to seal or finish the paint with anything.  I did have to do two heavy coats to cover and really get into every intricacy of my pattern.  I do have to say though that the chalky flat paint is really incredible. I know it’s not practical though.  My bathroom is a high traffic area and I bought a quart size of my paint and if something gets on the wall and I can’t get it off, I’ll just give a quick swipe to the area with paint.

Well friends, I didn’t mean to write a dissertation but I guess I did.  I hope that the information, sources and pictures will help you if you’re interested in trying out a fun new paintable wallpaper.  Yep, it takes some work, but it was worth it in the end for my little bathroom project.

If you are interested in seeing more pictures of some great paintable wallpaper, you can check out my Pinterest Board called “Wallpaper Love” here.  I will be adding more of these fun papers to the board as I hope to do a few more walls in my home in the next few months. By the way, if the wallpaper people are reading this, please, please, please figure out a way to make a thick embossed paintable wallpaper with the look of some of the decorative geographic wall molding treatments that are super hot right now like these looks:


Source: Timbarbelt tld.


Source: Wheeler Three Blog


You can look at my Pinterest “Molding” Board for more inspiration here if you too are obsessed with decorative molding like I am.

I have several projects that I have finished and will be posting later this week.  I hope you guys have a FABULOUS week as we close out February.  Spring is almost here!



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28 Responses to Paintable Textured Wallpaper- How and Where to Use Them

  1. Maggie Moore says:

    Wow! You have made me reconsider these textured papers. I’ve always thought of them as so old fashioned. Thanks, Maggie

  2. Denise says:

    LOVE! Especially the borders that look like decorative moulding and the ceiling idea. I need that TODAY.

    My heart skipped a beat when I saw the moulding wall and thought it was wallpaper. Don’t do that to a girl. I agree; someone needs to invent that ASAP.

  3. Megan says:

    I live in Australia and we are building a house at the moment. I thought I’d wallpaper a room to give it a different effect. I requested a free sample of a white paper that had a pretty pattern. The lady who sent it to me told me that it was textured wallpaper and I could paint over it. I’m thinking of wallpapering the toilet ceiling just to give it a bit of life especially as toilets can be boring.

    Thanks for the details about the textured wallpaper.

  4. Joyce says:

    Great ideas. I saw an article in BH&G using a tiled pattern as an inexpensive backsplash. I rent and hate the worn out Formica wall behind my sink. your information and product links will be so helpful to me to shop and install a new look for my dated kitchen.

  5. Pat James says:

    I have heard that you can paint the embossed wallpaper border first and then hanging the paper after the paints has dried completely. Is that true? I am a little concerned that the painted paper will be ruined after it has gotten wet .

    Thanks for your help.

    • Cyndy says:

      I am not sure if painting the border first and then hanging would work. I would think it would be easier to paint and flatter for painting after the paper goes up. It would be nice as far as keeping paint off of the ceiling though! I think you should give it a try if you have some border to spare. I would love to know if it works! Thanks for stopping by Pat!

      • bobby says:

        Hi wanted to know if the pain table wall paper can be used in a bath room with a shower? Or will it peel off can u wash it thanx

  6. Steve Abrams says:

    Thank you for the kind links. If we can be of any assistance on any wallpaper project please do not hesitate to contact us. – Steve

  7. Leanne says:

    I’m a renter, I was thinking about putting this wall paper up as a backsplash in kitchen with a high gloss paint. How do you think it would stand up against that? Thank you Leanne

    • Cyndy says:

      I think if you’re going to do it Leanne, high gloss paint would be the way to go because it be more durable than any other paint. I think it would look amazing! Thanks so much for stopping by and good luck with the project Leanne!

  8. Valarie Moffett says:

    I am using a textured prepainted paper from Lowes and my concern is that I will be able to see the seam so is there a secret that you can share on how to make it less apparent? Thanks so much.

    • Cyndy says:

      Yes Valarie there is a trick! I run a finger of lightweight spackle over the seam! Works like a charm. I just smooth it out with my finger! Good luck and thank you for stopping by!

  9. LW says:

    I’ve got some old, ugly wallpaper in my new house. Do you think it would be possible to (or have experience with) putting paintable wallpaper over old wallpaper?

  10. Anne says:

    does this work in steamy bathrooms?

  11. Judy says:

    I was wondering if you can give painted wallpaper a faux effect. My friend purchased the paper which has a tuscany look and would like to keep that type of effect. Any suggestions…

  12. Great Job. Thank a lot for taking the time. I will definitely come back to see what’s new and tell my friends about this site.

  13. Bill Webb says:

    We sell a lot of paintable wallpaper the most common complaint is “it shrunk and the seams separated” – the main reason for this is not letting the paper rest, when the vinyl gets wet it will expand and then contract. If you do not allow that to happen you will have a gap. Cyndy great idea with the spackle that’s one I will remember.

    • R Rafferty says:

      What do you mean by, “Let the wallpaper rest”?

      • Bill Webb says:

        Resting or booking the wallpaper: Depending on type, wallpaper can expand its width up to 1/4 inch. To avoid expansion on the wall, which can cause bubbling and wrinkles, it is necessary to “book” the paper before hanging. “Booking” means folding the paper onto itself for several minutes, “paste-to-paste,” to allow the paper to relax before applying to the wall. Book un-pasted paper immediately after applying paste; book pre-pasted paper immediately after dipping in water. This allows the paper to fully expand, relaxing its curl, and in the case of a pre-pasted paper, it allows the pre-paste to fully activate.

  14. Fran Simon says:

    I am interested in the squares pattern, and I want to keep a lot of it white and just paint inside some of the squares and the frames in others with a white background. Do you think that will work? Would it work to just leave it white, or should I paint the white areas white?

    • Bill Webb says:

      Your idea sounds great. Lot’s of time to detail but worth it in the end. You do not need to paint most of the paintable wallpapers as they are a blown vinyl and washable. The more expensive brands like some Anaglypta patterns or Lincrusta must be painted. Good luck.

  15. Yolanda says:

    I want to use textured wallpaper as back splash in my kitchen
    I will use a gloss silver paint. Can use a paint seal over the textured wallpaper?

  16. Bill Webb says:

    I would not use a textured paintable wallpaper as a back splash in a kitchen. Remember water is used to remove wallpaper so constant splashing of water on it could cause the paper to loosen. If there is no other choice and you must use it then get some vinyl over vinyl adhesive. This type of adhesive is very resistant to water removal but remember if you ever do decide to take it off it’s much more difficult to remove.
    Bill Webb recently posted..Papermywalls offers Over 100 different styles of paintable wallpaperMy Profile

  17. Jan Hayes says:

    Photo: Book Stairs
    Pin on Pinterest:
    I have an old 1920s bungalow with a stairway that goes to a balcony library. I woudl ike to use this idea and though using paintable wall paper woul be the best way to paint the design and then apply the wallpaper to the stairfronts. How would I apply it without ruining the painted design?

  18. Bonnie says:

    Was needing advice. We bought a Lakehouse and it has a trailer on it. We are wanting to do something with all the walls which are the typical trailer paneling. I hate it. What would you suggest? Thanks

  19. Norma Jean Newman says:

    Have you ever used this wallpaper as a cover for drop ceiling tiles?

  20. Janet says:

    I recently put up and painted a beautiful beadboard wall paper pattern, but had a problem I’ve never had with other paintable wallpapers and I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I used a Valspar paint with primer and even after a month’s time, the wallpaper has a slightly sticky feel. The paint does not rub off, but does feel sticky. I wondered if maybe the primer in the paint had that affect or something else?? Any ideas what could have happened? It still looks great but feels rather weird. Thanks!

  21. Marianne says:

    We recently used paintable wallpaper from Lowe’s in our bathroom. We love the look but are disappointed with how easily the paper ‘nicks’. We painted two coats of paint on it and this is still an issue. It is a real problem next to the sink where we have a hand towel hanging. There are several cut marks caused by fingernails in this area already. Is there anything you can recommend to make this wallpaper more durable and less likely to get marked up? Thanks for any advise you can give!

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