Peel and stick wallpaper is one of the latest innovations to hit the wallpapering world. Brands tout peel and stick wallpaper as completely removable, repositionable, and reusable. Sounds pretty good, right? While a little less intimidating, especially to wallpaper virgins, peel and stick isn’t right for every situation. Let’s take a look at some of the features of P&S wallpaper.
If you’ve ever used contact paper to line kitchen drawers and cabinets, you’ll know what P&S wallpaper is like. For those who haven’t, it’s basically one giant sticker. The wallpaper is backed by a sheet that covers the adhesive. When you peel that sheet away, the backside of the wallpaper is sticky just like a sticker.
During the installation process, P&S wallpaper goes up fairly quickly. All you have to do is peel the backing off—no liquids needed. The process is much cleaner than installing standard wallpaper, but not necessarily easier. Unlike standard wallpaper, which you can slide around on the wall to get the positioning correct and line up the pattern, the sticker-like backing of P&S wallpaper does not provide any wriggle room once you get it up on the wall. So you need to take extra time and effort to get it perfectly straight and lined up.
Another factor to keep in mind when considering P&S wallpaper: Because it does not adhere and behave the same as standard wallpaper, many professional wallpaper hangers will not take a P&S job. Plan on doing it yourself.
Texture (or lack thereof)
P&S wallpapers are digitally printed rather than block-printed or screen-printed. What that means to you is that the paper is completely smooth. If you want textured wallpaper, one that has a raised print or looks like it’s hand-painted, P&S is not the best option.
In my experience of working with several P&S lines, the paper tends to be on the thinner side. This thinness paired with the lack of texture means that whatever shape your wall is in will affect the final result. If your walls have a slight orange peel texture, nail holes, or even a bold paint color underneath, these features will show through the wallpaper. For this reason, you must repair any holes or cracks and prime the wall a neutral color if you want a clean final look.
While I prefer the look of standard wallpaper over P&S, there are certain places where P&S makes sense to use. Although it is thin, it is typically highly durable. Most are washable, meaning they can withstand moisture and can be cleaned with a wet cloth. So P&S wallpaper works well in bathrooms and kitchens, even as a kitchen backsplash.
It’s so durable I even suggested a P&S wallpaper in a commercial space to cover an unsightly, plain door. My client had the wallpaper up for over a year with the door being opened at least a hundred times per day, and the wallpaper never showed any signs of wear and tear.
Pricing on P&S wallpaper is surprisingly all over the board. There are some brands that price their P&S products similarly to their standard wallpapers. For example, Brewster carries this standard paper for $89.98 per double roll, while an equivalent amount in the P&S version is $99.98.
However, there are other brands that sell P&S wallpaper by the kit or sheet rather than by the roll. Chasing Paper has all of their offerings listed at an approachable $40. However, that is $40 for a panel that measures 2 feet x 4 feet. To get the equivalent square footage to the Brewster example above, you would need 8 panels for a total of $320.
While that range is price is quite large, I would never outright say no to the more expensive option just because it’s more expensive. The beauty of P&S wallpaper is that, because it’s less permanent, you aren’t under the same pressure as standard wallpaper to make the “right” choice. If you don’t love it, simply take it down and put up a different print.
Many of my clients who are new to wallpaper begin their wallpaper relationship with P&S. It allows them to live with a patterned wall or room for a while to see how it makes them feel. This usually leads to them wanting to commit a little more and take the next step to standard wallpaper. And then there are some who just love to change up their decor frequently, making the ease of removing P&S perfect for them.
Fortunately we are living in a P&S wallpaper boom. I’ve compiled some of my favorite prints from a few P&S wallpaper brands to get you started.