Asked on Dec 19, 2016

Covering up old wallpaper

Lisa Goodwill
by Lisa Goodwill
we are trying to sell our house and have out dated wallpaper on 2 walls of our living room. How can we cover it up without ripping it off . Any ideas?
  46 answers
  • Karen Rae Lvine Karen Rae Lvine on Dec 19, 2016

    I have the same problem. I think the wallpaper is holding up the plaster wall! I was thinking of painting it, starting with a good primer. I know it will take at least three coats. Stripping it will take a lot of elbow grease, you never know what you'll find behind it, and you'll have to paint anyway. Good luck!

    PS Maybe you can hang a big mirror on it to distract from the design

  • Mandy Smith Mandy Smith on Dec 19, 2016

    I have painted over the wall paper in two rooms & had great results. I tried to remove wall paper in a bathroom & had to replace the drywall, it was a lot of work with terrible results.

  • Lisa Goodwill Lisa Goodwill on Dec 19, 2016

    we took wallpaper off our bathroom also and had a terrible time. That's y don't want to take off in living room. Is there a certain kind paint or any paint work?

  • William William on Dec 19, 2016

    Prime with a stain blocking primer like Kilz, Bin, or Zinsser. Then paint with your color.

    • See 1 previous
    • William William on Dec 19, 2016

      I have tried paint with primer and still took two or more coats for good coverage. Wasn't too happy with the results. It really just has more paint solids in it. Even watching the TV commercials claiming one coat coverage. I noticed they really load the roller with a lot of paint and lay it on thick. Especially trying to cover wallpaper it may take a few coats to cover. Regular primer will also cover any imperfections and your final color will be more true and vibrant.

  • Jim L Jim L on Dec 20, 2016

    Call a professional wall paper person to have it taken down. You will do the next owners any favors by painting over it...quite often the latex paint soaks into the paper and causes it to "buckle" and eventually fall...please do this the right way and seek professional help with me on this!

  • Ginger Ginger on Dec 20, 2016

    Have you considered using Sheet Rock compound and just creating a new wall look with it? Home Depot or Lowes use to have classes on Saturday's to teach how, but I just taught myself. The Sheet Rock Compound is only $10 for a 5 gallon bucket that goes a long way and you can either put paint in it and mix for color, or paint it afterward with a semi enamel.

    • Ginger Ginger on Dec 20, 2016

      I put it on the wall with a spatula, then used a big scrub brush to make circles and designs in it. Both my bathroom walls are done in this and I get compliments all the time. Beats wall paper anytime!!

  • Lisa Falkenthal Lisa Falkenthal on Dec 20, 2016

    Try covering with thin sheetrock and painting it.

  • Dixie Dixie on Dec 20, 2016

    I had some wallpaper with flocked designs which I painted in 1991. It was still good when I decided to install new sheetrock because the old wouldn't hold even a mirror - it was so weak. That means it was 25 years old. No one ever knew the paint was over wallpaper. I like the idea of using some texture over it too.

  • Lgr9562247 Lgr9562247 on Dec 21, 2016

    I think your best bet if you have vinyl wallpaper is to make your own chalk type paint. I do this for a lot of projects. Buy cheap latex or acrylic paint [I use a recycled product we get in Ontario] add 1/3 plaster of paris and mix with electric paint mixer that attaches to a drill to get out all the little lumps. This paint will cover anything without priming and will resist scratches.

  • Kim9309079 Kim9309079 on Dec 21, 2016

    I covered the ugly wallpaper in our rental with fabric! Use liquid starch (sold at Walmart). Fill a spray bottle with liquid starch. Measure and press the fabric to the wall (dampened with water), spraying with the liquid starch. Use push pins (lots of them) to hold the fabric on as it dries. The fabric can be removed later with NO evidence it was there. Good luck!

  • Pat11183342 Pat11183342 on Dec 21, 2016

    Most of the big box stores sell wall paper that looks like breadboard.

    Buy a roll or two and apply it from floor up but only 3'-4', up and top with a chair rail. This thickness of wall paper covers any imperfections well. It will say up dated timeless style, instead of last updated in the 70's.

    This same wallpaper company also makes different textured wall paper, like swirls, popcorn , tin etc.

    If you go with wall paper, spend the money to buy the extra glue rather than soaking the paper in water trying to activate the prepared glue. The thicker glue will hold better at installation, not soften the paper as much and since no water has soaked the paper less chance of the preexisting paper becoming loose due to excessive water soaking through. You may not need to paint it, it's very nice looking on its own, and seem lines are easy to match.

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Dec 21, 2016

    When looking for another house I walked into a bedroom where they had painted over an instant, it was the first thing I saw and it made me wonder what else they were trying to hide. If it won't come off, replace the drywall.

  • Barbara Barbara on Dec 21, 2016

    Previous owners of my house painted over 80yr old wallpaper at my house...The whole mess basically started peeling off after I bought the house. Had to take all this mess off only to discover layers of mold....all good now but you should just take it off, then paint. Not that much work if you do it right.

  • Carol Carol on Dec 21, 2016

    I vote to take it down. Rent a steamer to remove the paper then clean with tsp and make any repairs. Then paint the whole room. The paint will not match the old paint otherwise. You will be much happier with the results and so will the new buyer.

  • MadameRã MadameRã on Dec 21, 2016

    ARTIST WORK... the paper isn't that bad; the flower area isn't wonderful.. I would mask tape(using a product specifically to just do that so it can be removed),& cover the patterned areas... then with a multi reflector light indigo spray matt paint, lightly spray moving the spray can downwards,& around 25cm away (you don't want drips even though the paper ought to absorb,& for this reason you will not use a lot of paint...if you want some light pattern to remain keep it very light,as this to will look new & beautiful, if you don't then make it darker.)

    After drying take off tape & check out your new look, that no one will have...& you didn't have to do any messy removing of wallpaper & best of all you waste nothing but create beauty in a new way.

    Happy Crafting


  • Pam Caudy Pam Caudy on Dec 21, 2016

    Your best bet is to remove the wallpaper and paint. I had to have a skim coat put on my walls, but not everyone needs that. Once the walls were dry, I painted them.

  • Blueheavenfla Blueheavenfla on Dec 22, 2016

    Bite the bullet and just remove it. Paint is easy for the new homeowner to change. Wallpaper isn't!!!!! Especially if it is painted over, or a specialty paper (flocked, embossed, etc.) or worse yet, poorly applied. If you have a realtor, listen to her or him IF you have looked at other of their listings and like how they are staged.

  • Sal10822870 Sal10822870 on Dec 22, 2016

    i agree with the people who say remove it. however, i will say if i found the perfect casa i would overlook the wallpaper, i did when i just moved into my condo, and removed it myself. wallpaper on a wall is not a deal breaker to me. it should also not be to a home buyer. on the positive side, for you, it would be to your advantage to remove. good luck. sallie newman

  • Donna Marie Ledington Donna Marie Ledington on Dec 22, 2016

    When painting over wallpaper you need to drywall mud the seams (and sand smooth) then prime with a good quality primer.. By the time you've done these steps you have as much time invested as you would have removing the wallpaper.. I'd just remove the paper in the first place and paint. You want the best foot forward to get the most money for your house.. Don't skimp on anything. People will be going over it with a fine tooth comb. If they aren't then their own agent is..

  • Kb Kb on Dec 22, 2016

    People on this site tend to look for ways to adjust what is THERE...but as you can read, the majority of people commenting this time are saying the right thing: TAKE IT the style of the floral design, it's been there for um, about 40 years.

  • Maggie Maggie on Dec 22, 2016

    Love some of the ideas but in our house, 60 yrs old, my Father painted over the wall paper. My sister thinks the only thing to do is replace the drywall. This seems drastic to me. Scraping a little and sanding might help. She screams, "you can't wash the walls!" I guess she thinks mold will form or something else.

    What about stiff board with a wallpaper look that can just be glued or nailed over it? I'm thinking of the stuff they sell using the pink panther cartoon character. Can't think of the name. They make insulation and wall covering - - now.

  • Karen Walker Karen Walker on Dec 22, 2016

    Can you post another picture of your entire living room? Not sure the style of your home but if it's possible consider using reclaimed wood to cover both walls. then put a clear coat to give it a finished look.

  • Melisa Melisa on Dec 22, 2016

    I have two solutions. You can lightly sand the seams and prime the walls with a stain blocking primer before painting. You can also get some wallpaper paste and brown craft paper (or grocery sacks) and create a leather look by tearing the brown paper into random pieces, wadding them up, smoothing them out, and pasting them to the wall (overlapping as you go. It gives the wall a leather look. I have used both techniques successfully when I had wallpaper placed directly over drywall.

  • Kim Rudisel Kim Rudisel on Dec 22, 2016

    Use dry wall mud, mix silica sand ito stir well make a big batch at a time .Use a troll (or cement tool to spread over wall to give a stucco look. VERY textured use sweeping movements, & swirls to created a stucco look. Then paint....AWESOME LOOK!

  • Karen Walker Karen Walker on Dec 22, 2016

    I'd definitely consider the reclaimed wood/pallet wall if you have time, tools and access to reclaimed wood. The only problem with that much wall being covered in reclaimed wood is that it might be appealing to only a certain consumer group.

    Perhaps you should consider renting the steam machine and remove the wall paper then repaint.

  • Judy Malle Judy Malle on Dec 23, 2016

    I needed to cover wallpaper in the kitchen of the house I just bought and used bead board which gave it a completely new look and wasn't expensive. Mine was only on one wall so it was very easy to do.

  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Dec 23, 2016

    If the walls unerneath are like mine were, I bought the 'puffy wallpaper' from Home Depot online and put it up. I ordered extra to use in another room, but I did my whole living room in a very old house. If I had known how badly the wals were....Anyway, the puffy wallpaper is great . In the housemy husband built, we have remodeled it for the past 3 years and unfortunately we wont be abale to move into it due to his health. I painted over the horrible wallpaper in the one bedroom with Home Depot paint and it's the prettiest orchid shade and it covered in one coat and you can barely see the seams. I would check the corners behind something to see what the wall are like. Don't strip the paper if you don't have to. It might be covering up wall you don't want to deal with!

  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Dec 23, 2016

    Here's the before pic of that corner

  • Shirley Kalinosky Shirley Kalinosky on Dec 23, 2016

    The other house with the wall paer and one wall finished with one coat!

  • Alwaysbeinspired Alwaysbeinspired on Dec 23, 2016

    I've been in this same situation. Covering up wallpaper with wallpaper works, but then the next owner has to deal with a tough removal if they want to take it down. I think covering up walls with bead board or similar would be a shame if your walls are in good shape. Just an unnecessary expense and a waste of resources. If you're going to paint over it you're taking a big risk of bubbling. Definitely use an oil based primer first. With a little bit of work I'd remove the wallpaper.

  • Mary Ann Niemczycki Mary Ann Niemczycki on Dec 23, 2016

    Just sand the seams and paint it. You don't want to make problems for the new home owners. As a buyer I'd rather deal with old wallpaper that has been painted vs. more glop put over it to hide it.

  • Cheryl Cheryl on Dec 23, 2016

    You've been given quite a selection of improvements. From personal experience; I would sand the seams, paint with a good primer then a top coat. It's easy for the buyers to deal with when they decide they need a change of decor.

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Dec 23, 2016

    Just put in description of home that you have priced home accordingly due to this and if you really want to sell be prepared to lower price or offer a compromise of footing half the cost. Get a few quotes on paper and offer the middle one as the one you would pay half for quote for paint, removing and just primer. Why waste money on trying to do something even painting it when you can't hide it from buyers better to negotiate.

  • Annie Annie on Dec 24, 2016

    I'd either scrape it off or leave it alone. The wallpaper isn't really that bad. I've removed painted over wall paper and it was really difficult. The paint made it much harder to wet the paper. Unless your competition is brand new houses, buyers expect to deal with cosmetic/ taste issues.

  • Rita Stein Schwartz Rita Stein Schwartz on Dec 24, 2016

    Assuming the wallpaper isn't ripped or peeling, just leave it alone. In a real estate transaction paint color changes and wallpaper removal are the responsibility of the buyer. If you paint over the paper you make work for yourself and removal more difficult for the new owner. Bead board and paneling were previously suggested as a way to cover it. For either one materials and labor are costly

    and might be a "turn off" to a potential buyer.

    If it were my house I'd just leave it alone.

  • Sheryl Sumpter Sheryl Sumpter on Dec 24, 2016

    I bought my house 2 years ago and while house shopping I rejected many homes because of bead board and batten walls and ceilings. The issue for me? First, what kind of mess was behind there and the labor involved to take down/repair. Second, you may like country, rustic, etc. My home is modern. I would much rather deal with wallpaper and as already mentioned there are gorgeous textured wallpapers available. I used a corduroy paper in my laundry room and the attached leafy paper in the guest bath because the walls were too bad to paint.

  • V Valencia V Valencia on Dec 24, 2016

    I would paint over it. If it is done correctly, it looks fine and holds up well.

  • Elaine Elaine on Dec 24, 2016

    While I initially thought of suggesting to paint over it, I neglected to think of the new owners being faced with the task of removing the paper underneath the newly applied paint. New buyers, no matter how nice a house, always want to change things and if they love your house, some wallpaper is NOT going to dissuade them from making an offer!

  • Elaine Elaine on Dec 24, 2016

    PS: you may find that some buyers find your wallpaper quite charming! May I make a suggestion re listing your house? Many realtors say to have scented candles, simmering potpourri on the stove, etc. I have moved MANY times and when I walk into a home that is "scented" for the viewer, I immediately think "what are they trying to cover up?" Pet odors, perhaps, or an unclean home, mold, mildew, smokers? A clean and well maintained home needs no artificial scents of any kind!

  • Chrissy Chrissy on Dec 25, 2016

    I would look at the seams. If they are still together and not peeling, I would prime the wallpaper and then paint. If the seams are lifting them glue them down and proceed with priming.

  • Pat Croley Pat Croley on Dec 25, 2016

    We have just painted old, old wallpaper that was not peeling. Primed it and used two coats of good paint. You cannot tell it was paper.

  • Swinnen Lisette Swinnen Lisette on Dec 26, 2016

    I can't imagine that people will not buy a house because of 2 walls with ugly paper on it. I would leave it alone if it isn't ripped or damaged. Otherwise, paint it like suggested above. You better can have a plain white wall instead of a damaged one. White is a good colour because the new owners will have it easier to put another colour on top of it, if wished..

  • Polly Fuller Polly Fuller on Dec 29, 2016

    If you paint and the wallpaper bubbles, leave it alone. drying will shrink the bubbles. do not apply the first coat to thickly so as to get the paper wet. Thin first coat and reg. second.

  • Janet Guillot Janet Guillot on Dec 30, 2016

    Easy peasy. Just glue down if there's a seam sticking up. Use KILZ first if you're using a light color of paint. Just get that paint on there. Won't take long, and it will hold up. Let your buyer decide what they want later.

  • Brenda Rodriguez Brenda Rodriguez on Jan 13, 2017

    I have painted 4 wallpapered rooms in my home, looks great.