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Can You Use Wallpaper in a Bathroom?

Small spaces such as bathrooms can be challenging to decorate. However, they’re a great place to have fun and experiment with wallpaper and wall murals! Wall decor can add instant color and impact to your bathroom and allow you to try the latest-and-greatest design trends. But do wall murals and wallpaper hold up in bathrooms? With careful considerations and planning, they are safe to install and will last for years. Here are some useful tips to help you successfully apply wallpaper in a bathroom.

Choosing A Spot

Like any other room in your home, you can choose to wallpaper the entire bathroom or just one for an accent wall. Nevertheless, you should ask yourself some questions before choosing one or the other.

  • Will the wallpaper be in close proximity to the sink, bathtub, or shower?
  • Will it regularly face water splashes?
  • Is the bathroom well-ventilated?

These factors all contribute to which walls or spots you can install a wall mural with confidence.

If you decide to wallpaper the entire bathroom, opt for “splash-proof” wallpaper. This type can stand up to high humidity and are wipeable, allowing it to be cleaned, wiped, or scrubbed. If you have poor ventilation or no fan in the bathroom, stick with one wall and apply wallpaper away from splash zones. That way, you can still have a pop of color or pattern and not worry about it peeling from the wall or facing water damage.

Another option is to apply wallpaper in a half-bath or powder room. Because they don’t have showers or bathtubs, these spaces have little to no humidity or moisture, making it more appropriate for wallpaper.

Likewise, wallpaper and wall murals are great for restrooms within businesses. You can create an oasis of a bathroom for office employees or create a fun, selfie-approved feature wall in a club or restaurant. Just keep in mind the above-mentioned tips, especially for hotel guest bathrooms where bathtubs and showers are present.

Choosing A Material

Because bathrooms are high-moisture environments, it’s best to choose a durable wallpaper material that can withstand humidity. Heavyweight, vinyl-based materials are a great choice for bathrooms due to their durability and being water-resistant and wipeable. Another option to ensure durability of your wall mural is the addition of a protective topcoat. Protective topcoat is a clear, matte, polyurethane finish that is applied to wall murals. Topcoat adds extra protection to the wallpaper surface, aiding against scratches, making cleaning much easier, and helping withstand against moisture.

Properly prepared walls are key when installing wallpaper in a bathroom, too. Applying a mildew-resistant wallpaper primer helps reduce the risk of moisture accumulating behind the wallcovering. Use mold and mildew-resistant adhesive such as universal wallpaper paste as an extra pre-caution when installing wallpaper or wall murals in a bathroom.

Potential Pitfalls

Since bathrooms are high-moisture environments and face a lot of traffic, there are some drawbacks of installing wallpaper in these spaces. Knowing what to expect and taking preventive measures when placing wall murals in a bathroom will help you work around these potential issues.

Moisture
Moisture and humidity can seep through paper-based wallcoverings, and weaken the adhesive that bonds the materal to the wall. When this occurs, the wall mural or wallpaper can begin to curl at the edges and begin to peel from the wall. Pick a material that can withstand moisture and high humidity, and opt for a protective topcoat to further prevent water from penetrating the wallcovering.

Plumbing Problems
At one point or another, homeowners face some sort of plumbing problem, whether it’s an overflowing toilet, burst pipe, or leaky faucet. Should these spillages come in contact with the wallpaper, it can leave behind a water stain. Choosing a durable, water-resistant wallcovering can prevent unsightly water stains from occurring.

Mold
Mold thrives in moist and dark environments, and wet bathroom wallpaper is a perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Mold often causes allergy-like symptoms, including water eyes, sneezing, and runny nose, but can also pose other health concerns. To prevent mold from ever developing, treat the walls with a mildew-resistant primer, such as KILZ, prior to wallpapering. Should mold or mildew form despite these efforts, the only way to eliminate it is to remove the wallpaper and sanitize the area.

Bathroom Wallpaper Ideas

The best thing about wallpaper is that it allows you to try something a bit different and be adventurous! Don’t be afraid to go with a bright and bold pattern or try out the hottest design trends. Not sure where to start? Consider a few of these ideas for wallpapering a bathroom.

Go Faux
Skip the cost and labor of materials like marble, shiplap, or exposed brick and go with wallpaper! Many wall murals offer designs that mimic these luxurious materials for a fraction of the cost without sacrificing style.

Tropical Getaway
Transform your bathroom into a retreat that evokes relaxation with a beach wall mural. Images featuring colorful sunset beaches, swaying palm trees, or rolling ocean waves provide a visual escape at any moment.

Pattern Play
There are endless designs and styles to choose from when it comes to patterned wallpaper. Want to add an air of elegance and sophistication to your bathroom? A damask pattern wallpaper mural offers a rich look. Want a pop of color? Freshen up your bathroom with a floral pattern wallpaper filled with bright blooms. Want to give your bathroom a timeless look? A black and white pattern wallpaper is a neutral option that allows you to bring in color with other décor and furnishings.

Like wallpapering any room, always make sure to check the guidelines of the wallpaper or wall mural material and adhesive you’re using. Thoroughly read the installation instructions, properly prepare the walls, go for it, and have fun! Wallpaper in a bathroom offers endless possibilities and transforms the space quickly and creatively.

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