Paint vs. Paper? The Age Old Question in Home Decorating

Modern Wall Covering


One of the reoccurring questions in home decorating seems to be whether to paint the walls or paper them. With so many options, it is a wonder that an answer is ever found! Sure, it is less spendy find a gallon of paint, and throw it on the wall, but if the color is bland, it doesn’t matter how much you saved.

Over the last few years, the trend has been to forget wallpaper, and do a great finish on the walls instead. However, with some new innovations and a more creative public, some incredible new finds are out there and screaming to be up on your walls. Go straight to one of my favorite sources at This website offers unusual graphics, paintable papers, large scale prints, and trendy kids’ papers. Every item has its own personality, and their pictures give you a great sense of how it will look. They also give you tips on hanging it yourself. And, even better, they call themselves tree huggers, boasting that 50% of the average roll comes from post consumer use.

If bold colors aren’t your style, consider a textured paper, like a grasscloth. Again, these have come a long way from your grandma’s basement. Now a perennial favorite of interior designers, grasscloths are being touted for their natural beauty and subtly. You can find them in an array of colors, and with lovely patterns. Some have patterns printed on them, I’ve even seen some with an embroidered pattern. At, they show some of the prettiest embroidered papers I’ve ever seen – the pattern Pee Gee is magnificent


If you are still afraid to commit, then paint is still the best route for you – remember, you can always change it! If you crave a little more than a simple wall color, then look into faux painting styles – these have come a long way from the old rag or sponge techniques and will still give you a lot of look. Sherwinn Williams offers sueded finishes, that have a subtle texture and shading that does resemble a soft shade.

Doing a Venetian plaster finish requires a little more work for the DIY’er, but is well worth the results. Applied with a trowel or a spatula, it requires 2-3 coats, and then a light polish or wax. However, the results are tremendous, as you get a high-low light reflection not found in basic finishes. This is a great application for dining rooms, and even ceilings if you dare.

These are just a tip of the iceberg in terms of techniques and products you can find for the walls. Just open a home decorating magazine and you will find ideas all from all over. Wall treatment is just as important to the room as all the other elements in it.