How to Paint Over Wallpaper

13 Materials
2 Days

Get on the list for all the DIY updates like this project and more! I'm helping my sister update her kitchen and dining room - it was stuck in the 1980s. One of the biggest issues was the decades old wallpaper full of ducks. It had to go but I didn't want to try and remove it and risk having to repair the sheetrock. So I found out it's possible to paint right over that old wallpaper and it worked like a charm!

Here's what we started with:

You can see all those lovely ducks below. Not to mention the border at the top. I know this was in style at one time, but it just wasn't working for my sister.

Here's what I learned and how to paint over wallpaper:

  • You need a good quality primer. This wouldn't have been possible without it. I needed to make sure those ducks were hidden completely.
  • Using a quality brush and rollers, paint two coats of primer on the walls. Use the brush to cut in around doorways/windows and trim and then the roller for the big areas.
  • I used oil based primer so if you use this, make sure to use in a ventilated area. This stuff smells!
  • Then I painted two coats of paint on the walls, letting the first coat dry completely first. I did this over the course of several days.
  • Here's the first coat of primer below:

I didn't worry too much about the border. It's very hard to tell now that it's done. You can see it and the seams if you inspect the walls carefully, but it's not a deal breaker and it's certainly easier than removing the paper first.

Wait a few days before hanging anything on the walls or pushing furniture up against it so you don't mess up your paint.

This is a project that turned out better than I expected. You can see the full details over on the blog - here!

And here's what we ended up with!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Renae Dennis Smith
    on Mar 14, 2019

    My wallpaper is starting to come loose at the corners in my hall & peel back at seams. Should I just remove it or glue it down to paint over it.

    • Sandi Morris
      on Mar 15, 2020

      When we moved from our old place I needed to repair a couple of places on the dry wall where the wall paper had been scratched all the way off by my cat. I used a quick dry filler, sanded to the wall board and then 2 coats of primer. I painted over the primer and wall paper with 2 coats of latex satin paint in a light blue and it was beautiful. Could not tell any damage had been done or wall paper was there. First time I ever did that and I have no special skills...

  • Bucko2000
    on Mar 13, 2020

    Can you paint over oil based primer with latex paint and have no adhesion problems?

  • Nancy Bentley
    on Mar 13, 2020

    How about textured wallpaper? Can that be painted?

Join the conversation

2 of 49 comments
  • Kathrine Anderson
    on Mar 14, 2020

    I painted over wallpaper in a house that was built right after WWII when building supplies were limited. The walls were basically thick particle board with a plaster skim. When I tried to remove the wallpaper parts of the wall were actually coming off so I chose to paint over it. It turned out great and I really think it was the best thing to do for that situation.

  • Susanroy36
    on Mar 26, 2020

    I painted over wallpaper AND wood paneling in my mobile home! First, remove the strips that are between the wallpaper panels, fill with joint compound or spackle. Let dry, Then wash the walls with a good cleaner. Next, prime with Benjamin Moore Aqua Grip -- Since I did all my walls in my home. I wanted the best primer. Then I lightly sprayed canned texture onto my walls. If you want cottage-look design, dont use the texture on the lined paneling. It's very good on the wallpaper tho because it hides seams, tears, etc. Let dry and paint! Voila.

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