This wallcovering trend lets you create a custom look.

By Maria Sabella 

Published on February 17, 2023

Wallpaper has made a huge comeback in the past few years, and it’s no longer limited to floral prints of the past. While wallpaper is a great way to incorporate color and pattern into a room, a recently-popular wallcovering called paintable wallpaper takes it a step further by adding a textural element for a striking design statement.

Paintable wallpaper features a raised pattern that creates a unique finish that can be painted in your favorite shade. One of the best things about this rising design trend is its incredible versatility—you can paint it any color you choose to fit your space. If you’re looking for a way to add a personalized design feature to your home, learn more about the pros and cons of paintable wallpaper.

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What Is Paintable Wallpaper?

As its name suggests, paintable wallpaper is a thick white wallcovering that has a raised design that gives it dimension and texture. In addition to its embossed surface, this product can easily be painted with any color you choose. Paintable wallpaper is typically made from paper or vinyl and features a repeated pattern, such as a geometric design or an organic floral print.

paintable wallpaper

Things to Consider Before Applying Paintable Wallpaper


Similar to traditional wallpaper, paintable wallpaper comes in either pre-pasted or unpasted rolls and is applied to walls using the same technique. Application instructions may vary slightly from one product to another, so be sure to follow the specific manufacturer’s directions on your paintable wallpaper.

Paint Process

Once it’s on the walls, allow paintable wallpaper to cure for the recommended time (this is usually over 24 hours) before applying paint. There is no special pre-treatment necessary—you don’t need to prime or prep the wallpaper before painting. You also don’t need any special tools or materials; simply use the same brushes, rollers, and interior paint that you would use if you were painting a regular wall.

Paint Finish

When it comes to choosing a paint finish, go with the same finish you would use if you were painting a wall. “Unlike regular wallpaper, paintable wallpaper can be painted with any paint, but check your instructions first,” says interior designer Meghan McConellogue of The MK Method. “I would recommend eggshell or matte, as satin and semi-gloss show too many imperfections because of their sheen.” If you’re using paintable wallpaper to cover a ceiling where minor imperfections won’t be seen up close and you want to make a bold statement, go with a higher gloss finish.

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Benefits of Paintable Wallpaper

Paintable wallpaper has the power to completely transform a space. Versatility is one of its main benefits. Instead of trying to find the exact right shade of wallpaper to fit your space, paintable wallpaper gives you the option to customize its color. The same textured paper can have a totally different effect when painted with a soft neutral for a calming bedroom versus a deep jewel-tone for a dramatic statement.

Paintable wallpaper is also a good alternative to paint when it comes to creating an accent wall. The added dimension and texture take it to the next level, serving as a piece of art in and of itself. If you live in an older home with walls that have slight imperfections, paintable wallpaper is a clever solution for hiding small cracks and bumps.

Interior designer Michelle Martel of Michelle Martel Interiors has installed painted wallpaper in her own home as well as clients’ homes and says it’s an easy fix to update a wall. Martel also points out that it’s easier to install paintable wallpaper than it is a wallcovering such as beadboard. “I find the install to go rather quickly, and it’s far easier to install than traditional wallboard. This wallpaper is easier to paint as well; I find traditional wallboard has a higher chance of paint drips,” she says. In addition to its cost-effectiveness, Martel also notes its flexibility and ease of use.

paintable wallpaper

How to Use Paintable Wallpaper In Your Home

Thanks to its versatility, paintable wallpaper works in many areas around the home. Use it to cover walls from floor to ceiling, create an accent wall, update your ceiling, or even install it as a kitchen backsplash.

When decorating a home, we tend to focus on the walls and flooring but often overlook the fifth wall—the ceiling. One fun way to use paintable wallpaper is as an unexpected ceiling treatment. Bring home the old-world charm and timeless sophistication of historic houses by covering your ceiling with paintable wallpaper to create the illusion of an intricately tiled surface.

As for choosing the right wallpaper for your own space, McConellogue says needs will vary project by project. “Luckily, most paintable wallpapers are as easy to install as regular wallpaper,” she says. “There are different varieties you can choose from, depending on your skill set and how long you would like the wallpaper to last.”