Bathroom wallpaper buying guide

Bathroom wallpaper buying guide

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

54 guides

It is absolutely possible to hang wallpaper in the bathroom – just as long you choose the right type! Special vinyl-based bathroom wallpaper is designed to be washable, splash-resistant and able to cope with humidity. You just need to make sure the room is well-ventilated to avoid peeling. Read on to find out more.

Important features

  • Technical specifications
  • Format
  • Design
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Hanging wallpaper in the bathroom


The bathroom has become a living space in its own right in recent years. It's a place you want to enjoy and relax in, and that means decorating! While bathrooms are, by nature, moist environments, some wallpapers are now specially designed to cope with these conditions.

Wallpaper has been back on the trend radar for a few years now and there's no reason why your bathroom should be left out! Whether you want to hang wallpaper on every wall or use it more sparingly (for example, a strip or two alongside other materials or paint) , it's entirely up to you.

The main advantage of wallpaper is that it covers up any unevenness or faults in your walls. In short, it's an option well worth considering, but you will have to ensure that your bathroom is aired out meticulously to avoid premature peeling.

Choosing a bathroom wallpaper

Before you even start to think about the pattern you want, you'll need to consider a few technical features.

Technical specifications


When purchasing wallpaper, check that the type you have chosen is compatible with bathroom use. Standard wallpaper will not be able to cope with water splashing or condensation, and will eventually start to peel.

Bathroom wallpaper is always vinyl-based. This construction gives the paper the waterproof properties it needs to deal with a damp environment. It will therefore be thicker than a traditional wallpaper.  Vinyl wallpaper is also washable, making it ideal for bathroom use. You can clean the wallpaper using a sponge or soft brush.

It is possible to wallpaper around a wash basin or bathtub. However, wallpaper won't do the same job as tiles so never attempt to hang it in a shower!

Wallpaper formats

Vinyl-based wallpaper will usually come in strips measuring 50 cm in width and around 10 metres in length. Wider strips are available but don't forget that bathrooms are generally smaller than most rooms. If you opt for a patterned design, be careful to match the pattern as you hang the wallpaper.

Wallpaper design


Wallpaper has really come a long way over the years. These days, it comes in all manner of colours and designs to match any space.And bathroom wallpaper is no exception! You'll be able to find any colour to match your painted surfaces: white, red, blue, yellow, green, grey... take your pick!

What's more, thanks to modern high-definition printing technology, almost anything is possible in terms of prints. Pretty much any surface can be replicated in wallpaper form: concrete, tiles, marble, wood, and so on. The only thing that can't be mimicked is the actual feel of the materials.

If wallpaper still makes you think of the flower prints of the 70s, don't worry: all manner of patterns are now possible! Wallpaper has moved with the times and now comes in countless contemporary designs. That said, vintage-style wallpapers are still very much in mode and manufacturers are still producing retro favourites.

Hanging bathroom wallpaper


Vinyl wallpapers are hung in exactly the same way as traditional wallpapers. You'll need to equip yourself with the right equipment: the right glue for your wallpaper, an appropriate brush and wallpapering table, and a good blade knife.

You'll then have to glue the paper and the surface according to the manufacturer's instructions. Pay close attention to the amount of glue required and the length of the soaking period. Some wallpapers, commonly non-woven varieties, can simply be stuck onto the wall.

Glue may come in powder form to be diluted with water. But you'll also find ready-to-use glue mixes. This option is more expensive but in a smaller space like a bathroom, this can be a wise investment.

You can really run wild when it comes to the wallpaper design but remember that the busier the decoration, the more pattern repeats there will be! If you plan to hang the wallpaper yourself, you need to be meticulous and all the more so given that you are probably working in a fairly small area; sadly, this also means that any mistakes in your pattern repeats will be more noticeable!

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Caring for your wallpaper


Bathroom wallpapers can be brushed and washed. But that doesn't mean you can keep them soaked through!

For day-to-day cleaning, you can wipe the wallpaper down with a sponge dipped in clean water and a mild soap. Avoid any harsh chemicals, such as limescale removers. For a deeper clean, use a small, soft-bristled brush.

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Guide written by:

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton, 54 guides

Tess, painting & decorating consultant, Brighton

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