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Self-Adhesive Wallpaper Vs Traditional: Which is Right for You?

April 23 2020

There are just so many patterns, colours and textures to choose from when considering wallpaper! This used to be your only dilemma when heading into a store or perusing online, but that’s not the case anymore: now you get to think about application types as well as the visual element!

We’re all familiar with traditional wallpaper. It comes with a slightly daunting, complicated and sticky process, which could lead to stunning decor or a total disaster. The first spin-off was pre-pasted, or ‘just add water’ wallpaper, but recent years have seen a new incarnation of the timeless wallpaper trend: self-adhesive, or ‘peel-and-stick’ wallpaper. This wonderful invention allows you to apply wallpaper quickly, cleanly, and temporarily! You won’t have to worry about covering your floors, your furniture, or your clothes, and if you get it wrong the first time, you can just peel-off and re-stick. 

So, faced with all of these options, how do you decide what’s best for you? Let’s talk you through the different options: 

Traditional Wallpaper, or ‘non-pasted.’

Traditional wallpaper doesn’t come prepared with adhesive, so you have to mix your own paste before you can hang it. Most non-pasted paper will come with a ‘Suggested Paste’ and instructions on how to make it. 

You can apply the paste to the wallpaper using a roller, then hang the paper on the walls. The glue creates a very strong bond between the two, so while traditional wallpaper may be slightly more tricky to apply, it’s highly durable. As long as you’ve prepared your walls and made sure you’re hanging the wallpaper straight, you’ll be fine! 

Pre-Pasted Wallpaper

This wallpaper already has an adhesive paste spread over the backing, so all you need to do is add water! While it’s not as messy as traditional paper, it’s also not as durable as traditional or self-adhesive paper. 

Self-Adhesive Wallpaper

Think of this as a very big sticker: simply peel off the back and smooth onto the surface of the wall. While it’s generally easier to remove than traditional wallpaper, especially if you steam it first, you can buy special ‘removable’ paper if you know you’ll need to take it down at some point. Most self-adhesive wallpaper also tends to be scruff- and scratch-resistant.  

If you redecorate often or you’re living in a rental, self-adhesive wallpaper can be removed cleanly without leaving any residue behind. It’s a lot more durable than pre-pasted wallpaper, but not quite as permanent as the traditional option. 

The Bottom Line

Choosing traditional or self-adhesive wallpaper depends totally on what you have in mind. Do you want your wallpaper to last through the ages, with archaeologists puzzling over it in the next millennium? Do you like to freshen up your living space every few years? Are you decorating a domestic or business space? 

If you’re looking for a highly durable finish and a more permanent design solution, then traditional wallpaper is probably the one for you. At this point, it also comes in many more styles and price ranges than self-adhesive paper. 

If you’re decorating a rental, or you enjoy changing up your interior design scheme on the regular, then self-adhesive wallpaper is your hassle-free, easy-on-easy-off best friend, and you’ve got heaps of fun ahead of you.