How to Paint Over Wallpaper for a Fresh Look

Are you tired of the outdated wallpaper in your home? Painting over wallpaper can be a great solution to give your walls a fresh, new look. However, it’s important to follow the right steps to ensure a successful and long-lasting paint job. In this article, we will guide you through the process of painting over wallpaper, from preparation to finishing touches. Let’s get started!

Why Paint Over Wallpaper?

Before we delve into the steps, let’s understand why painting over wallpaper can be a viable option. Here are a few reasons why you might consider this approach:

  1. Cost-effective: Removing wallpaper can be a time-consuming and costly project. Painting over it allows you to save money on wallpaper removal supplies and professional help.

  2. Time-saving: Painting over wallpaper can be quicker than removing it and preparing the wall for paint. It eliminates the need for stripping and sanding the wall.

  3. Hides imperfections: Wallpaper can hide cracks, uneven surfaces, or other imperfections on the wall. Painting over it helps to conceal these flaws and provides a smooth canvas for your new coat of paint.

  4. Design flexibility: By painting over wallpaper, you can easily change the color and pattern of the wall without the hassle of redecorating from scratch.


To achieve a flawless paint job over wallpaper, thorough preparation is key. Follow these steps to ensure your walls are ready for paint:

  1. Clean the wallpaper: Before you begin painting, clean the wallpapered walls with a mild detergent and warm water. This removes any dirt, grease, or stains that could interfere with the adhesion of the paint.

  2. Repair any damages: Inspect the wallpaper for any loose edges, tears, or holes. Use wallpaper adhesive to secure loose areas and patch any damages with spackling compound. Smooth the compound with sandpaper for a level surface.

  3. Prime the wallpaper: Applying a primer is essential to enhance the adhesion of the paint. Use a high-quality primer that is specifically designed for wallpapered surfaces. Apply a thin coat evenly using a roller or brush, and allow it to dry thoroughly before proceeding to the next step.


Now that your walls are properly prepped, it’s time to start painting over the wallpaper. Follow these steps for a seamless painting process:

  1. Choose the right paint: Select a paint product that is suitable for your wallpapered surface. Opt for a high-quality latex paint as it offers excellent coverage and durability. Consider using a satin or semi-gloss finish, as they are easier to clean and resist moisture.

  2. Test the paint: Before painting the entire wall, it’s essential to conduct a test patch. Apply a small amount of paint in an inconspicuous area and observe how it adheres and dries. This will help ensure that the paint does not cause any bubbling or peeling on your wallpaper.

  3. Use the right technique: When painting over wallpaper, it’s best to use a horizontal or vertical brush stroke. Be gentle and avoid pressing too hard, as excessive pressure can lead to damage or peeling of the wallpaper. Apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat to achieve an even finish.

  4. Allow ample drying time: After each coat of paint, allow sufficient drying time as mentioned on the paint can. Avoid touching or applying pressure on the walls until the paint is completely dry to prevent smudges or marks.

Finishing Touches

To ensure a professional-looking finish, pay attention to the final touches of your painted wallpapered walls. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove excess paint: Carefully remove any paint splatters or drips on the wallpaper using a damp cloth or a sponge. Promptly removing these unwanted marks will help maintain a neat and clean appearance.

  2. Inspect and touch-up: Once the walls are completely dry, inspect them for any areas that require touch-ups. Address any inconsistencies or missed spots with additional paint and a small brush.

  3. Seal the paint: To protect your newly painted wallpaper, apply a clear coat sealer suitable for painted surfaces. This will provide an extra layer of protection and make the wall easier to clean.


Q: Can I paint over textured wallpaper?
A: Yes, you can paint over textured wallpaper. However, it’s important to consider that the texture may show through the paint to some extent. Test out a small area before proceeding with the entire wall.

Q: Can I remove the wallpaper after painting over it?
A: It is possible to remove the wallpaper later, but it may require additional effort as the paint can make the removal process more challenging.

Q: Should I apply a second coat of primer over the wallpaper?
A: One coat of primer should be sufficient if it provides good coverage. However, if you notice any bleed-through or require extra coverage, applying a second coat of primer is recommended.

Q: Can I use wallpaper adhesive as a substitute for primer?
A: While wallpaper adhesive can help with adhesion, it is not a substitute for primer. Primer is specially formulated to ensure proper paint adhesion and to provide a uniform surface for painting.


Painting over wallpaper offers a cost-effective and time-saving solution to update the look of your walls. By following the proper steps and techniques outlined in this guide, you can achieve a beautifully painted finish while preserving the integrity of your wallpaper. Remember to prepare the walls adequately, choose the right paint and tools, and pay attention to finishing touches for a successful project.

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