Can You Paint Over a Wallpaper? 

Photo from Nippon Paint India

Painting over wallpaper is a big no-no when it comes to home improvements. It may be done by some but it is not acceptable considering how it is layering one material over another. Covering the wallpaper with paint may seem to be the ideal option to restore the beauty of the space but it is not something you should expect to work long-term. Well, situations vary, and sometimes, you are left with limited options helping you to decide whether or not painting over a wallpaper may seem to be a rational choice. We are with the majority recommending not to paint over the wallpaper but there are situations that it may seem to be the right course of action. Read on as we answer frequently asked questions that may help you decide. 

What Kind of Paint Can be Used?

Photo from Nippon Paint India

Since you are working over a surface finished with paper, any type of paint can be used. Regardless of whether they are water-based or oil-based, both work to make the walls look fresh and transformed. We highly recommend using an oil-based primer for the walls before layering the topcoat. This will help in making it last longer than its expected lifespan. Using a water-based primer will loosen up the adhesive of the wallpaper on the wall causing it to peel off over time and that is not something you would want for the walls. 

How Many Coats of Paint are Necessary?

Photo from Demiri Painting

Compared to painting over a plain blank surface, primer and three coats of paint are necessary. But, when you are working on a wall with wallpaper, two coats is already enough. You just have to be patient in waiting for the drying time since you are working with paper. As much as possible, we do not want to loosen the adhesive of the wallpaper to the wall. This will not do you good in making the task done faster. We highly recommend painting the entire wall then drying it before applying the second coat. It helps in preventing drips and overly wet wallpaper from dominating the space. Waiting time should always be considered if you prefer top-notch results. 

When Should it be Considered to Paint Over a Wallpaper?

Not all types and qualities of wallpaper can be painted over considering its ability to peel even without trying to. To save you time and energy, it would be best to know the condition and type of wallpaper in order to know whether or not it can be painted over. It may seem to be a convenient job but you must know when it is not a suggested task to work on. What makes the wallpaper a bad candidate for being coated with paint? Read on and check out the qualities or conditions you should look out for. 


Checking the health of the wallpaper would seem fit prior to painting the surface. Check crumpled corners and edges to see if it is already close to loosening up. Once the paper is already crumpled, it only means that it is only a matter of time before it withdraws from the surface. When the edges and corners are already crumpled, it is a sign not to push painting over wallpaper. Instead, it makes it easier to detach the wallpaper from the wall. It may take a huge amount of time but it establishes a longer lifespan for the paint on the wall. 

Loosened Adhesive

The best way to check if the wallpaper is still good to go, lay your hand on the wall to see if there are bubbles all over the surface. This is where loosened adhesive starts. They tend to start small but end up making a huge difference to the health of the wallpaper. Painting over wallpaper with a loosened adhesive means it would not be there for too long. Considering how damp the wallpaper be once it is painted, it can cause to loosen up more. This makes it a waste of time and money. When the adhesive is already loosened, it would be best to take it all down instead of painting it over. 

Wear and Tear

Another reason why you should not consider painting over wallpaper is when they already have tears and are already worn out. Painting over it will just cause the wallpaper to easily disintegrate from the wall. When there are tears already on the edges or the center of the wallpaper, it would not leave a clean and smooth surface to paint over. Check if the concrete or wooden wall is already seen because of the tears. This way, it will be easier to decide whether or not to paint the surface. This is a sign to scrape off the wallpaper before painting the wall. 


If the wallpaper has been there for years and you wanted to upgrade the aesthetic of the walls, painting over would seem to be the best solution. When in fact, it is not. Discoloration of the wallpaper is already a sign not to do it. The wallpaper is already not in its best condition to be painted over. It is a waste of paint and energy to paint over a wallpaper that is already not in its best state. When the wallpaper is already discolored, this is already a sign that the wallpaper can crumble at any time. It is often caused by being soaked in liquids that dried up over time. 

To Paint or Not to Paint

If you are looking for a validation to not paint over wallpaper, this is it. We highly recommend scraping off the wallpaper first prior to painting. As much as possible, it would serve the walls best to have them cleaned and prepped first. If you have the time to spare, do not paint over the wallpaper. But, if you are in a rush and have no options left, painting over would seem to be a decent thing to do considering that it is still in good condition.