Solved! Can You Put Wallpaper on Textured Walls?

Looking to give a textured wall a whole new look? Read on for some tips and tricks for using wallpaper on textured walls. 

By Jasmine Harding | Published May 20, 2022 5:11 PM

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can you put wallpaper on textured walls

Q: I’ve found the perfect wallpaper for my guest bedroom, but I’m not sure if I can put it over the room’s orange peel wall texture. Can you put wallpaper on textured walls?

A: Putting up wallpaper is a highly transformative way to add character to a room, but things can get a bit complicated if you have textured walls. The honest answer is that it depends on the wall, and it’s important to know the best way to wallpaper over textured walls for ideal results.

Generally, the smoother and flatter the wall, the easier it will be for wallpapering. And while it is possible to stick new wallpaper on textured walls, it’s likely that the texture will show through.

When deciding to go ahead with wallpapering textured walls, consider the wall texture, wallpaper type, and adhesive type. It may also be worth the effort to smooth out a wall before wallpapering. Keep reading for more details on how to wallpaper textured walls.

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What type of wall texture are you working with?

The depth of a wall’s texture matters. The more texture a wall has, the more you may be able to see bumps, grooves, cracks, and wrinkles through wallpaper. In the worst-case scenarios, wallpaper might not even stick to the wall.

A smooth surface is best, so consider removing or flattening out wall texture by scraping it down, filling it in with joint compound, and/or using sandpaper for a smoother finish.

When evaluating a wall for wallpapering, consider its texture type. Common wall textures include:

Orange peel: Orange peel walls have a light texture that resembles the surface of an orange peel. This texture is often minor and may or may not show through some wallpapers.

can you put wallpaper on textured walls

Knockdown: Knockdown walls look similar to orange peel walls, but have a slightly flatter texture for a stucco-like look. Wallpaper may be able to adhere to knockdown walls, but the texture will likely be visible.

can you put wallpaper on textured walls

Slap brush: Slap brush wall texture is characterized by many slim lines that resemble floral patterns. If a slap brush texture has wide, flat lines, wallpaper can likely adhere to it, but the pattern may cause it to wrinkle.

can you put wallpaper on textured walls

Popcorn: Popcorn texture is often used on ceilings rather than walls and involves adhering the popcorn texture (a mix of drywall and polystyrene) to the surface. Since it’s very textured and made up of stuck-on bits, it will look rough underneath wallpaper and can even damage some wallpapers. Homeowners are usually better off removing the popcorn texture before applying wallpaper.

can you put wallpaper on textured walls

What type of wallpaper adhesive are you using?

There are a few types of wallpaper adhesive to consider when wallpapering a room, including peel-and-stick wallpaper, pre-pasted wallpaper, and non-pasted wallpaper. Each type will likely still show the wall texture through the wallpaper, but certain adhesive types are easier to apply or longer lasting.

Peel-and-stick wallpaper: Peel-and-stick wallpaper like this example available at Amazon has a self-adhesive backing that makes it easy to apply without the need for soaking or pasting. It’s commonly chosen by renters since it’s simple to install and remove. Check with the wallpaper manufacturer to see if they recommend their brand of peel-and-stick wallpaper on textured walls.

Pre-pasted wallpaper: Pre-pasted wallpaper like this option available at Lowe’s comes with the paste already on the wallpaper—just add water and apply it onto the walls. It’s more fuss-free compared to applying the paste yourself but often won’t last as long as non-pasted wallpaper.

Non-pasted wallpaper: Non-pasted wallpaper like this one available at Lowe’s does not come with any adhesive, so it requires a paste such as this one available at The Home Depot to stick to the wall. Although the process can be finicky and messy, it tends to stick the best and last the longest, which may be especially advantageous for textured walls.

Apply test samples of wallpaper over textured walls first.

Even between walls with the same texture type (for example, two homes with orange peel walls), the thickness of the texture can vary. A test sample can help you determine if a wall is suitable for your chosen wallpaper. Make sure to clean and prepare a small section of wall for testing, and then apply the chosen wallpaper. The sample can help you determine if the wallpaper adheres well and if the texture looks to your liking.

If the wallpaper doesn’t stick to a textured wall or doesn’t look quite right, there are some helpful fixes. If working with standard wallpaper, test another patch with lining paper like this option available at The Home Depot, which goes in between the wall and wallpaper to help smooth and cover imperfections in the wall. If all else fails, it’s time to consider removing the texture or skim coating the walls to create a smoother surface.

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can you put wallpaper on textured walls

Can you apply peel-and-stick wallpaper on textured walls?

Most peel-and-stick wallpapers can stick to textured walls, but how well they stick and how much texture will show through is dependent on a few factors.

To start, look for a peel-and-stick wallpaper suitable for use on textured walls. Some peel-and-stick wallpaper brands will specify if a product works on textured walls and recommend suitable texture types. Removable wallpaper for textured walls will have a more durable and heavy-duty adhesive to help them stick long-term to rougher surfaces. If you’re unsure, ask the manufacturer.

Regardless of the type of wall texture, using a sample test to see how the wallpaper applies and looks is still a good idea. Applying a test patch is the only way to truly see if you’ll like the finished product.

Can you apply standard pasted wallpaper on textured walls?

Yes, standard pasted wallpaper can be applied on many types of textured walls. The final look depends on the wallpaper and the severity of the wall texture, though.

One benefit of using standard wallpapers instead of peel-and-stick types is the option to use lining paper. Lining paper is applied to the wall with a paste (similar to regular wallpaper) before applying the actual wallpaper. This extra layer can help reduce the appearance of texture showing through the wallpaper, and even prevent wallpaper peeling and shrinkage.

Once again, it’s best to do a sample patch to see exactly how the standard wallpaper looks on your wall.

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Top Tips for Successfully Wallpapering Textured Walls

can you put wallpaper on textured walls

Perhaps the best advice on how to wallpaper textured walls is that smoothing out the wall texture will most always result in a better finish. However, this process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive—not to mention it’s not an option for renters.

Wallpapering over textured walls is definitely possible. It can look beautiful in the right conditions, especially if you know how to apply wallpaper on textured walls and select an ideal wallpaper for the situation. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing a wallpaper for textured walls:

  • Darker wallpaper colors like this example available at Wayfair tend to show less wall texture than lighter colors.
  • Small patterns and lively designs can distract from the appearance of wall texture underneath.
  • Textured wallpaper like this option available at The Home Depot, and thicker wallpaper in general, may also help cover up the wall texture.
  • Non-pasted wallpaper may adhere better to textured walls and last longer than other wallpaper types.
  • Wallpaper and textured walls may not mix well in high-humidity rooms, as the empty air pockets caused by the texture can trap moisture and encourage mold and mildew growth. Consider smoothing out the textured walls first when applying wallpaper in rooms with high moisture levels, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, and basements.