Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Peel-and-stick wallpaper offers an easy, mess-free way to make your walls pop. Learn more about this product that's surging in popularity.
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Looking for a mess-free way to turn a plain wall into a statement piece? Look no further than removable wallpaper, also known as peel-and-stick wallpaper.
“Peel-and-stick is less intimidating for DIYers than traditional wallpaper because you don’t need many tools or materials to hang it,” says Gina Shaw, vice president of product development of York Wallcoverings, which makes the peel-and-stick brands York and RoomMates Decor. “They don’t have the mess with water and paste … You take it out of your package and put it on your wall.”
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a great choice when you want something simple, easy, fast, fun and affordable.
What Is Peel-and-Stick Removable Wallpaper?
It’s wallpaper with a self-adhesive back. A liner backing protects the adhesive until it’s ready to go on the wall. Just peel off the backing and apply. Some people might call it removable or repositionable wallpaper, but it’s usually marketed as peel-and-stick, Shaw says. Don’t forget to check out our collection of cheap peel and stick wallpapers.
What To Consider When Buying Removable Wallpaper
Pattern and color are the most fun parts of choosing a wallpaper. But considerations like cost, ease of installation and cleaning concerns should also factor into your decision.
Design: Looks drive everything in wallpaper selection, and peel-and-stick is no exception, Shaw says. Pick a color and design that speaks to you. If installation ease matters, find one with a random match, a design that doesn’t need to line up a particular way. Pick a random match or a small pattern if you’re trying to save money, because designs with smaller pattern repeats require you to trim off less excess as you line it up.
Material: Most peel-and-stick wallpapers are vinyl, but a few aren’t, like paper and non-woven natural fibers pressed together. At least one manufacturer makes peel-and-stick wallpapers out of fabric.
- Texture: Most are flat, but some vinyl wallpapers employ raised ink for texture. This often mimics other materials, like grass cloth or brick. Paper and non-woven peel-and-stick wallpapers feel more like traditional paper wallpaper, while fabric wallpapers offer more of a fibrous feel.
- Thickness: Thicker wallpaper stretches out less than thinner kinds as you pull off the backing to install it. Christer Bechtell, owner and installer at Macuna Wallpapering, says that makes the pattern look better once it’s on the wall.
- Is it washable?: Vinyl is typically the easiest material to wipe clean. However, if scrubbing off messes is a priority, seek out a wallpaper that’s described as washable.
- Cost: Vinyl wallpaper is cheaper than traditional non-pasted wallpaper and usually cheaper than pre-pasted. Textured vinyl peel-and-stick wallpapers are usually more expensive than flat vinyl.
- Installation instructions: Read these and know what you’re getting into before deciding which peel-and-stick wallpaper to buy. Prepping your space and installing the wallpaper according to the manufacturer’s instructions will help it last longer and come off more easily when you’re ready for a change. Peel-and-stick wallpapers all use adhesives that seem similar to consumers, but different companies use different chemistries and technologies for adhesives, Shaw says. That can mean slight differences in the types of paint finishes you can put peel-and-stick papers over, or how long you need to wait to install on a freshly-painted wall. Also, Bechtell says some peel-and-stick wallpapers hang side by side, while others require a slight overlap.
Where To Buy Peel-and-Stick Removable Wallpaper
Buying directly from the manufacturers gives you the largest variety of products and patterns . However, many major brands sell some through other retailers, where you may find them for less.
Here are a few of our favorite peel-and-stick wallpaper sellers:
Best selection: Wallshoppe offers more than 2,000 kinds, including multiple color options for many designs.
Best design variety: RoomMates Decor boasts design styles from vintage to tropical and abstract to popular character collaborations from movies, comic books and video games. Don’t want a full panel of peel-and-stick? They also have borders and decals.
- Most distinctive wallpapers: Tempaper’s peel-and-stick wallpapers come in various textures, with specialty surfaces like chalkboard and whiteboard. For something truly unique, upload your own design, or request one of their designs in a different color.
- Best murals: WallsNeedLove takes the dimensions and prints a peel-and stick mural specifically for your wall. Choose from one of their existing designs or upload your own art.
- Best artist-inspired: Spoonflower, known for printing independent artist’s designs on fabric, now prints those designs on peel-and-stick wallpaper.
- Best home improvement store peel-and-stick: Lowe’s offers multiple brands of peel-and-stick wallpapers in store and a bigger selection online. Many locations offer buy online/pickup in store options for in-stock brands, and ship-to-store or ship-to-home options. Their prices are often cheaper than buying from manufacturers.
- Best online-only store for peel-and-stick: You can find most major peel-and-stick brands on Amazon, often at cheaper prices than the manufacturer’s websites.
- Best peel-and-stick fabric: Chasing Paper sells peel-and-stick fabric, which offers another aesthetic beyond vinyl and paper wallpaper.
Peel-and-Stick Removable Wallpaper FAQs
How long does peel-and-stick wallpaper last?
“Peel-and-stick wallpaper is designed to last as long as you’d like to keep it up,” says Shaw. The brands Shaw works with may even be reused. Prepping the wall according to the manufacturer’s instructions and making sure it’s a flat, clean surface can affect how long it stays up.
Bechtell says he’s noticed the quality of peel-and-stick wallpapers has improved over time. He adds you shouldn’t have a problem as long as you go with a reputable brand.
Is peel-and-stick wallpaper easy to install?
It’s easy to remove peel-and-stick wallpaper backing and stick the wallpaper in place, and it’s not as messy as traditional wallpaper or painting. But that doesn’t mean the entire process is simple. It takes patience to line it up on the wall, and the backing should be peeled off slowly to avoid stretching.
Is peel-and-stick wallpaper easy to remove?
Yes — just pull it off. If you’ve kept the backing, it’s possible you can stick the backing back on and reuse it. Remember the importance of wall prep. Again, read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Does peel-and-stick wallpaper cause damage to walls?
No. The technology behind peel-and-stick wallpaper adhesive has improved and keeps getting better, Shaw says. “Modern peel-and-stick wallpaper doesn’t damage walls,” Shaw says.
How is peel-and-stick wallpaper different from traditional wallpaper?
“The backing is the biggest difference,” Shaw says. You need paste to put on traditional wallpaper, or activate the paste that’s already on the back of pre-pasted wallpaper. For peel-and-stick, just peel off the backing to adhere the wallpaper to the wall.
That backing also makes manipulating peel-and-stick wallpaper different from traditional wallpaper. You have to lift up and place down peel-and-stick wallpaper to position it, whereas you can slide traditional wallpaper a bit on the wall. Shaw says think of it like picking up and putting down a sticky note.
How much does peel-and-stick removable wallpaper cost?
They range from about $1.15 per square foot to $5 per square foot. Most rolls are between $35 and $45 for 28 to 31 square feet. Roll sizes vary, so as you shop around pay careful attention to length and width.