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What are the Different Types of Wallpaper?

By Deborah Ng
Updated May 16, 2024
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If you're planning a redecorating project involving wallpaper, you might be interested to learn that there are several different types available. This is important to research because you want to choose the type that works best for its intended area. For instance, wallpaper that works best in the bathroom might not be the best candidate for the dining room.

Vinyl coated paper — As its name indicates, this wallpaper has been treated with acrylic vinyl or polyvinyl chloride. They are easy to clean and unaffected by longterm exposure to humidity or grease. Vinyl coated wallpaper is especially recommended for bathroom, kitchen and even basement walls for specifically this reason. This type is scrubbable and strippable.

Coated fabric — This type has an underlying layer of fabric also coated with a liquid form of vinyl. This is not a good candidate for humid rooms such as bathrooms or walls that will be exposed to grease, such as those in a kitchen. Coated fabric works best in low-humidity areas.

Paper backed vinyl or solid sheet vinyl — This type of wallpaper has a layer of paper or pulp backed to a decorative vinyl surface. Because of its vinyl surface, this is another good candidate for high humidity areas. In fact, this type is good for almost any climate. It's also easy to clean, scrubbable and peels off easily from the wall when it's time for removal.

Fabric backed vinyl — This wallpaper consists of a layer of fabric laminated to a layer of solid vinyl. There are two types included in this category. Solid vinyl is simply a layer of paper or fabric laminated to vinyl film. Since the applied vinyl is solid and not liquid, it is considered more durable than most other wallpapers. If you're looking for a material that cleans easily and lasts for a long time, this type of wallpaper is for you. Paper wallpaper consists of a layer of decorative paper that doesn't necessarily have a protective layer laminated to it. Before purchasing this type, check the manufacturer's instructions to be sure it works best for your situation.

As you can see, different areas of the home require different types of wallpaper. Always check the manufacturer's instructions before purchasing and installing any type in your home.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Oct 26, 2012

@bythewell - It's also important to make absolutely sure that your concrete walls are harboring any moisture, or the wallpaper won't stick properly and it might start growing mildew.

Concrete isn't the best surface for wallpaper, to be honest. You're better off just painting it rather than trying to put wallpaper on it.

But, if someone is absolutely determined (perhaps because they have some free or discount wallpaper handy?) then make sure you find a really good guide on putting wallpaper on concrete and follow it to the letter. Otherwise your wallpaper won't last for more than a couple of years.

By bythewell — On Oct 25, 2012

@anon38783 - It depends on how rough the walls are and what kind of surface it is. If you've got a lot of holes, you'll probably want to fill those in with some kind of plaster. If you've got a lot of bits standing out, you will need to sand those down (and electric sander is probably the best option).

Finally, I would put up some wallpaper liner underneath the wallpaper, as that will really smooth things out and give the paper a better surface to grip.

By Mykol — On Aug 18, 2012

I have chosen the perfect wallpaper for my kitchen. The color matches perfectly and it is easy to clean. This was one of the most important things for me because my kitchen gets a lot of grease splatters and stains.

My problem now is the best way to remove the wallpaper that is already there. Does anyone have any fast and easy suggestions on how to do this?

By golf07 — On Aug 18, 2012

@SarahSon-- I understand what you mean about applying wallpaper. I wanted to wallpaper my whole living room and my husband and I worked on this together.

By the time we were done, it is a wonder we were still speaking to each other. I chose a beautiful fabric backed wallpaper that was very durable. It looked beautiful in the store, but it wasn't the easiest when it came to lining it up right and making sure everything was straight.

There are some areas that aren't quite straight if you look at it very closely, but overall I have been happy with my purchase. This type of wallpaper will look great for a long time, which is a good thing, because I don't think we will be changing it any time soon!

By John57 — On Aug 17, 2012

I learned the hard way how important it is to choose the correct kind of wallpaper for your bathroom. This was the first time I had ever tried to wallpaper a room, and went more with the design that was on the wallpaper than the type.

The design looked nice, but it sure didn't stay on very well. Because there is such high humidity in the bathroom, after a few months, the edges started to curl away from the wall.

I fought this for a long time before I finally decided to remove it and go with something more appropriate for the bathroom.

By SarahSon — On Aug 17, 2012

When I saw the title of this article, the first thing that came to my mind was computer wallpaper. I must say this type of wallpaper is much easier and more convenient to use than traditional wallpaper.

Any time I want to change the look of my computer, with just a few clicks of the mouse, I can have a whole new look.

This is not nearly as easy when you are changing the wallpaper in your house. I have done this before, and have always found it to be somewhat of a frustrating experience. The last time I had it done, I said the only way I would ever do it again is if I hired someone else to do it for me.

By anon137623 — On Dec 28, 2010

It's important to find a durable bathroom wallpaper that can hold up to moisture and abuse.

By anon38783 — On Jul 28, 2009

How do I get rid of rough surfaces on a concrete wall before applying wallpapers? -- Kwabena Amfo

By anon38782 — On Jul 28, 2009

What type of wall is good for wall papers? In other words can you use it on concrete walls or cemented walls?

By anon646 — On May 01, 2007

What is warmlite wallpaper?

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