How to Buy Wallpaper Online & Your Wallpaper Questions Answered

Home decor

There are a few decor and DIY ‘themes’ that continuously pop up when I get reader questions. One of them is wallpaper. I’m certainly not a wallpaper expert, but I have done my fair share of papering and wallpaper removal and I definitely have some tried and true tips and tricks for how to buy wallpaper online. 

Today, I figured I’d share some of my favourite sources for wallpaper with you and give you a run down of the pros and cons of the products, plus my tips for making the purchase online. Plus – many of you had questions for me that I’ll answer throughout the post. Most of the questions were about removing wallpaper and the quality of some of the newer products on the market. So read on fine lovelies! I’ll get to all my thoughts and experiences below.

Let’s get to it!Tips for Buying Wallpaper Online |

I bought some wallpaper off Wayfair before Piper was born. You guys know I love Wayfair as a source for great home decor – but you do have to know your prices. Because it’s essentially an overstock online store, there are lots of wallpaper options available through Wayfair. But note, they aren’t the manufacturer, so the quality will vary and so will the price.

I was extremely happy with the paper I bought considering it was less than $30/roll and I was using it to line shelves and cabinets.

  • Tons of selection
  • No ability to order samples
  • Large variation in price
  • Great return policy
  • Free shipping on orders over $75
  • Lots of paper options – paste the wall, peel and stick, water activated
  • Great customer experience
    Wallpaper a Shelf

Things to consider with the lower cost options: The repeat patterns might not be super matchy-matchy. I’d shy away from wallpapering a giant flat wall with a cheaper paper in case the pattern match isn’t great. It’ll drive you nuts. Or at least it would drive me nuts.

As far as the water activated paper (which was a reader question) – it’s PERFECT for a beginner. But I have a few words of caution – don’t soak it. If you soak the paper, it’s gonna disintegrate no matter what. Just follow the manufacturers instructions and take your time. Also, have a few towels handy to sop up the splashes as you go.

In terms of removing the new water-activated papers, I have done it twice and I do find it MUCH easier than removing older pasted paper. It seems to come up faster with a hot, hot, towel or steam and a plain scraper. It’s still a pain in the butt – don’t get me wrong. But it’s not likely to leave you picking microscopic paper shreds off your walls with a toothpick.

Walls Republic

I’ve used this company twice for large wallpaper projects and I cannot say enough about the quality of the paper. Both types I ordered were ‘paste the wall’ which typically means a higher quality, thicker paper that has a bit of stretch to it. My first order from them was for the (no longer there) faux brick patterned paper in the basement rec room. It fooled EVERYONE who walked into the room. The pattern was easy to match and looked phenomenal. (PS. Check out this new reveal post of the playroom to see how this space looks now!)

The second order I placed was for the swoon-worthy, flowered paper in our guest room. I still love it. It is also paste the wall but the quality is top notch. Seriously. I loved it when I purchased it and loved it even more when it was up on the wall in a grand scale.

(PS. They ALWAYS have a sale!)

  • Fashion forward designs
  • Tons of selection
  • Great quality
  • Option to order large samples before making a big purchase
  • Measurement calculations
  • A bit pricey
  • Majority Paste the Wall and some Water Activated
How to wall paper

Things to consider with this type of paper: If you don’t put enough paste, it won’t stick. HAHA. Seriously. You can’t willy nilly with the paste. A few times, the guy at the hardware store has tried to convince me to size my wall prior to papering (it’s a smoothing compound you buy in the paint section), and I’ve never done it. I think that’s if you have really old plaster walls. If you’re papering drywall or gyp-roc, just go for it with the paste. Use a medium size synthetic brush and work quickly.

For removing this type of paper – ummm… you’ll need time and patience. This stuff is a commitment. I was almost in tears removing the basement brick pattern. A) because it was lovely and I was a bit sad to be evolving the space and B) because it was SO stuck on the wall.

My tricks for that are the hot steam and then an actual wall scraper. If you find the back of the paper is still stuck to the wall – wet it mercilessly with hot water and then scrub the crap out of it with a floor scrub brush in a circular motion. Then use another hot rag to wipe up the remnants and a scraper to loosen more bits. Also listen to podcasts or soothing music, because you’ll be there a while. Sorry guys. No magic tricks. Removing this stuff sucks. So think hard before installing it.

Walls Need Love

I think this is the paper I’m asked about most. I used Walls Need Love repositionable paper in our master bedroom last spring. To be honest, I picked it because I wanted something bold and I’d done so much traditional papering that I was eager to test a new type of product. The Walls Need Love products are a vinyl type material – it sort of feels like a thick fabric. It comes in strips with an adhesive back that you remove to reveal a sticky side which goes on the wall.

It is technically a big sticker. But don’t let that fool you. It’s still finnicky to install and requires just as much attention to detail as hanging normal wallpaper. The upside is that it’s definitely less messy because you aren’t using paste or water to stick it on the wall.

  • Great designs
  • Easy repeat patterns
  • Less mess than traditional paper
  • High price point (Full disclosure that they sent me my paper as a review product. My wall would retail for $1000+ which I realize is super expensive for most people)
  • Samples available before purchase
  • The murals are pretty cool

A few things to consider with the install: because it’s a big sticker, well, it’s ALL sticky at once. You want to make sure you’re strategically peeling back the sticker part so you don’t stick your sticker to your sticker – nomesayin’? Also, it is thick and so it’s a bit hard to move once it’s on the wall. You’ll want to more or less nail your placement on the first go, or you’ll have to peel it up and start again. Not a big deal and still WAY easier than the other two types – but something logistically to be aware of.

I haven’t removed this stuff yet. To be honest, I’m sorta scared. I’ve heard a few people say it pulled the top layer of drywall OFF the wall when they took it down. I’m not sure how that would happen, but that’s what I’ve heard. The products are all marketed as ‘renter-friendly’ though… soooooo. I will report back if/when we decide to take it down from the master bedroom.

One last thought on the removable paper – because it’s not cheap… like NOT cheap… and if you’re a commitment-phobe, you might want to seriously consider a great wall stencil instead. That way, if you move, it’s much easier to repaint one wall in a few hours than remove paper or potentially rip apart the wall. Just my humble, unsolicited advice.

I’ve got a fun wall stencil project coming up too! So feel free to hit me up with questions about that stuff too.

Have you ever purchased wallpaper online? What was your experience like? Any removal tips?


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