What Kind of Wallpaper Is Used in Bathrooms?

Written by ashley garay
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What Kind of Wallpaper Is Used in Bathrooms?
Wallpaper comes in a variety of colours, materials and patterns, so choose one that is appropriate for your bathroom. (wallpaper image by Svetlin Rusev from Fotolia.com)

Wallpaper is making a comeback in fashionable bathrooms for its array of colour and pattern choices and easier application than in previous years. Since bathrooms are high-moisture areas, be sure to choose wallpaper appropriate for a bathroom and avoid fabric and other absorbent materials that can become mouldy before they have time to dry. Run a bathroom exhaust fan after showering to minimise steam and moisture build-up.

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Material

Since some wallpapers absorb moisture, choosing the correct material for your bathroom decorating is vital to prolonging the life of your wallpaper. Vinyl wallpaper is usually the best choice for a bathroom because most of the moisture will bead off of the paper instead of being absorbed. Vinyl is also easy to wipe clean, always a plus in a high-traffic area like a bathroom. Most wallpaper readily available in stores is vinyl, so you should have lots of choices as to colour and pattern. Wallpaper is also available in vinyl-coated, another non-breathable option that will keep moisture away from your drywall.

Backing

Just as the surface of your wallpaper should be moisture-resistant, it is important for the backing to help keep moisture away from your walls as well. Look for vinyl wallpaper with canvas or scrim backing when papering a bathroom. Check the wallpaper package to be sure the backing is moisture-resistant.

Colour & Texture

Since most bathrooms are on the small side, you will generally want to choose a lighter-colour wallpaper to use in your bathroom to help open up the space. Wallpaper also comes in a variety of embossed textures, which can add drama to your bathroom decor. But remember that you will need to clean your bathroom walls frequently and tiny ridges can be a magnet for dirt and mould in a high-moisture area. Additionally, some wallpapers are advertised as "scrubbable" versus "washable," meaning they will hold up to repeated scrubbings instead of just spot cleaning. If you are considering a textured wallpaper for the bathroom, make sure it is a scrubbable paper so you can keep it clean.

Application

While some wallpapers are hung with paste, others come prepasted or in a stick-on variety, called paste-the-wall. Whichever method you choose for your wallpaper, be sure that your bathroom walls are entirely dry before hanging and avoid steaming up the bathroom while the paper is drying after application. Avoid hanging vinyl wallpaper over old vinyl wallpaper since moisture can build up between the two layers and breed mould. You should choose an appropriate primer to put over bare drywall before you apply wallpaper to create one more layer to protect your walls from mould.

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