27 June 2022
9 min read
A bathroom needs to be practical but you also want it to look great too. Wallpaper is a fantastic way of creating a point of difference in your bathroom, elevating it to something a little less ordinary. Unfortunately, many people don’t even ask "can wallpaper be used in the bathroom?" which is a real shame because the answer is of course “yes” by doing your research and following a few fundamentals.
While we are big fans of bathroom wallpaper, your bathroom conditions and the method of application need to be carefully considered before going forward. For instance, you may need to carry out prep work to make sure your bathroom is suitable for wallpaper.
When renovating your bathroom, you may only be able to wallpaper a feature wall or accent wall. Either way, there are several factors that you should consider to determine if it's worth doing.
One of the biggest considerations is humidity. Materials like wood and paper don't do well if they get too wet, so moisture in the air can cause problems with wallpaper. Baths and showers can cause a lot of humidity and sometimes makes wallpapering difficult.
In a small bathroom or powder room that doesn't have a bath or shower, this isn't so much of a problem. A bathroom with a bath and shower will need to be well-ventilated to make wallpapering a genuine, long-term option. If you do decide to decorate your bathroom with wallpaper, you will also need to make sure you properly prepare the wall and treat the wallpaper.
After application, it's important to manage the moisture as best you can. A powerful exhaust fan and infrared ceiling heater are both additions you could make to help with this. You can also wire the fan to come on with the light, so it's always running when the bathroom is in use.
Regardless of your bathroom design, splashes are almost impossible to avoid. Your shower, bath, and sink are all likely to cause splashes in the surrounding area, and too much of this can affect your wallpaper.
The best way to avoid this is with a buffer around the shower/bath covering any areas that are subject to splashes. Interior paint works and tiles are other popular choices.
Similarly, with a sink, you should have a backsplash that covers enough area to prevent the wallpaper from getting wet. The aerator in your faucet will affect the size of droplets, so make sure it's working properly to keep them to a minimum.
Heat, especially alongside moisture, can also damage the wallpaper. A bathroom will generally be warmest just after someone has had a shower, but the heat can vary a lot. The best thing to do to help with this is to ensure there is a way for the heat to escape.
A skylight or window is ideal for this and will also let in some natural light. A powerful extractor fan can also help cool your bathroom down after use.
So now that you're no longer asking "can I put wallpaper in the bathroom?" the next question is "how do I install wallpaper in the bathroom?". The process isn't too different from other rooms, but with a bathroom, there are a few important things you need to remember.
You should only apply wallpaper to smooth surfaces. You'll want to avoid:
Make sure the surface is flat and spotlessly clean.
Lightly cover the back of the wallpaper using a spray bottle. Make sure it's fully covered right to the edges. Booking the wallpaper will ensure the glue doesn't dry out. Booking essentially means folding the paper inwards on itself for around 5 minutes.
Apply the panels to the wall going from top to bottom. Use a laser line to ensure it's straight. Help it stick and get rid of any air bubbles with a wallpaper smoother.
Use decorator varnish to protect the wallpaper. You can use a brush or a roller for this. When applying varnish it will have a milky-white colour, but this will clear as it dries.
Once it's dried you can fill between the baseboards and wallpaper with silicone caulk. Do a final check around the edges - if you notice any lifting or curling seams you can fix them with seam sealant.
When thinking about the kind of wallpaper you want there are countless styles to choose from. There are, however, only two suitable types for bathrooms.
Paper wallpaper is a traditional wall covering. This type can be quite susceptible to water damage, so it must be coated after application otherwise it will quickly degrade. It's important to ensure all edges are sealed as even with coating damage can occur if water gets behind the paper.
Peel & stick wallpaper is designed to make things a bit easier, and still offers plenty of flexibility. It's also easier to remove when you decide to change it again. The main advantage is that the vinyl is far better suited to handle moisture than paper, so it's generally the better choice for a bathroom.
While it's great to know how to wallpaper your bathroom and the types, nothing beats having some designs and ideas to get inspired by.
In this bathroom, the detailed floral wallpaper provides a stunning focal point while cleverly meeting the demands of bathroom use. The high-quality print is specifically designed to resist moisture and steam, ensuring the pattern does not peel or fade over time, while also showcasing a vivid floral design. The quality of the paper ensures that the colours won't fade, and the surface can be easily wiped clean and cared for.
Step into a space that exemplifies the boldness of the Art Deco movement with this striking wallpaper featuring a sophisticated leopard and monstera leaf design. Its breathable material prevents mould and mildew, which is ideal for moisture-rich environments. The non-woven fabric is moisture-resistant, facilitating a straightforward paste-the-wall application with no expansion or contraction. The wallpaper is easy to clean with a damp cloth and is durable enough to resist wear and tear.
Infuse your bathroom with energy and brightness using bold patterns that transform the space. The 'Overgrown' wallpaper is a testament to this idea, with its lush and layered foliage pattern creating an immersive tropical atmosphere. The dark background is intentional, allowing the vivid colours to stand out and infuse the room with life, while the bold, overlapping leaves add a visual depth that can open up the space. This design choice makes a statement while injecting a sense of joy and vibrancy, perfect for starting the day on a bright note.
Fierce, elegant, and playful: The 'Pouncing Tigers' wallpaper in Blossom colourway is a daring choice for those looking to infuse their space with a sense of the wild. The dynamic pattern features tigers in mid-pounce, set against a delicate Blossom backdrop that offers a striking contrast between the beasts' ferocity and the hue's softness.
This sophisticated monochrome stripe wallpaper brings a sense of bold elegance to a bathroom. The alternating black and white stripes create a striking visual impact, offering an illusion of expanded depth and heightened ceilings. Perfectly suited for a bathroom setting, the wallpaper's premium paper construction and 180gsm weight ensure a lasting finish. Its free match pattern repeat allows for a seamless application, making it a stylish yet practical choice for both contemporary and traditional interiors.
When you've invested time and effort into wallpapering your bathroom, it's essential to know how to care for it properly, especially since the environment is prone to moisture and humidity. Here are some key tips for maintaining your wallpaper and ensuring it stays pristine for years to come.
The area around the bathroom sink is particularly vulnerable to splashes and spills. To protect your wallpaper, consider using a water-resistant wallpaper in this zone. This type of wallpaper is designed to withstand the occasional splash, making it ideal for use near the sink.
For all the walls in your bathroom, especially in a guest bathroom that might see frequent use, it's crucial to use an extra strong wallpaper adhesive. This ensures that the wallpaper adheres firmly to the walls, even in a high-moisture environment. A robust adhesive prevents peeling or bubbling, which can be common issues in wallpapered bathrooms.
To safeguard the entire room, it's advisable to apply decorators varnish over your wallpaper. This product adds an extra layer of protection against moisture and humidity. Choose a clear matt varnish for a dead flat finish that won't alter the appearance of your wallpaper but will provide a protective shield. This varnish helps in maintaining the integrity of the wallpaper throughout the whole room.
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your wallpaper in top condition. Gently wipe the walls with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dust or stains. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as these can damage the wallpaper's surface.
Good ventilation is crucial in a wallpapered bathroom. Ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated to prevent the build-up of excess moisture, which can damage the wallpaper over time. This can be achieved through an exhaust fan or by regularly opening windows to allow air circulation.
When planning your bathroom makeover or full renovation, wallpaper is something that should definitely be considered as a wall covering alternative. So long as you plan and prepare properly, you can add a stylish and unique feature that will make your bathroom stand out. With so many great colours, patterns and designs to choose from, it's an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.