Peel and Stick Wallpaper Pros and Cons

A bedroom wall wallpapered with grey brick wallpaper.

My youngest son has been asking for a while to have a bedroom decor update. After a few years the wallpaper in his room was starting to look a little bit tired, so off we went to the shops to pick something new out, and the old wallpaper was removed. The wallpaper he chose was Wallpops Nuwallpaper self-adhesive peel and stick wallpaper in a white brick design. While I have used conventional wallpaper several times over the years, I have never used peel and stick wallpaper before and so I was curious to try it. So here is my peel and stick wallpaper pros and cons review!

Peel and Stick Wallpaper – Pros

First the positive bits:

Less Messy Than Conventional Wallpaper

A huge pro in my mind, of peel and stick wallpaper, is that it is much less messy than conventional wallpaper. There is no need for any wallpaper paste, so no risk of it spilling onto the floor while pasting the paper, or leaking out of the seams of the wallpaper and getting smeared across the wall. This is a big positive as particularly if you aren’t very practised at putting wallpaper up, getting wallpaper glue everywhere can ruin the wallpaper. Using too much wallpaper paste can also lead to the paper getting soggy and ripping – not a problem with peel and stick wallpaper.

No Special Equipment Needed

Another great pro of peel and stick wallpaper is that you don’t need any special equipment to apply it. With conventional paper, you need at a minimum a bucket and brush for the wallpaper paste, another brush for smoothing the paper on the wall, and probably a seam roller and a knife or wallpaper scissors. I was able to apply the peel and stick wall wallpaper using just a pair of normal craft scissors, and I used an old credit card to smooth and flatten the edges.

You Really Can Reposition the Peel and Stick Wallpaper Easily

I was quite dubious about being able to pull the peel and stick wallpaper back to reposition it, but you really can. While trying to make sure the pattern between sheets lined up, I had to pull back and reposition the wallpaper multiple times. This really wasn’t a problem, and the wallpaper still stuck down really well. It was important to smooth down the edges and make sure that they were really flat once the wallpaper was on the wall. It has been on the wall for a while now and no signs of any peeling edges – so a big thumbs up for that.

The peel and stick wallpaper separated from the backing paper quite easily too – as a person with very short nails I was a bit concerned about this! Similarly, the peel and stick wallpaper also was easy to unstick when it got stuck to itself too – no problems with it ripping, so another big pro there.

A closer view of the brick design peel and stick wallpaper.

Peel and Stick Wallpaper is Quicker to Apply

Because there is no need to mess around with wallpaper paste, I think the overall process of applying the peel and stick wallpaper was quicker – I was able to finish papering the wall in an afternoon. As I don’t use conventional wallpaper very often, the whole setup process and then trying to make sure the wallpaper is properly stuck, is not going to bubble up etc., can be quite time consuming.

Overall Peel and Stick Wallpaper is Easier to Use

For beginners or not very experienced wallpaper(ers)- is that a word?! , Peel and Stick wallpaper is probably overall easier to use than conventional wallpaper – it’s just less messy, requires less set-up of equipment and you can peel the paper off and re-stick it without worrying that the wallpaper paste is drying out! I have to say that the wallpaper now has a lovely smooth finish – really flat with no bubbles at all. It was also easier to cut around things like plug sockets as you could just leave the backing paper on the paper when you got to them and press around the socket to mark where to cut, without getting wallpaper stuck to the socket and wallpaper paste all over it.

All in all I have been very pleased with my first experience with peel and stick wallpaper. I can see that it would be particularly useful in situations where you might be looking for a fairly temporary effect – for example for renters where they need to be able to return the walls to the way they were when they moved in.

Peel and Stick Wallpaper – Cons

There were however also a few cons to using peel and stick wallpaper that you might want to consider:

You Can’t Slide the Wallpaper on the Wall

One con with peel and stick wallpaper compared to conventional wallpaper is that you can’t slide it around at all on the wall – when using wallpaper paste, you can usually slide the wallpaper around on the wall a little bit to help get a perfect pattern match between wallpaper sheets, without pulling the whole sheet off the wall. Peel and stick wallpaper firmly sticks in place and has no give at all, so you have to fully remove it to reposition it. This is fine, but it takes a bit of getting used to.

The Backing Paper Creates a lot of Waste

As you apply the peel and stick wallpaper to the wall, you are gradually removing the backing paper – which means that you end up with as much backing paper waste as you do wallpaper on the wall. This backing paper is waxed paper, so it’s not recyclable. For me this felt like a bit of an unnecessary waste as I felt like I was throwing a lot of paper in the bin and I only wallpapered one relatively small wall.

Peel and Stick Wallpaper is Relatively Expensive

Obviously wallpaper varies hugely in price – depending on the design and material it is made from. So I am not saying peel and stick wallpaper is really expensive but it might be. I was using a fairly common brick pattern wallpaper – there were several other pretty similar conventional wallpaper versions in the shops that we visited. The peel and stick wallpaper was approximately £22 per roll, where the conventional rolls were more around the £10 mark. Even with the cost of wallpaper paste, this is still considerably cheaper. Luckily I only needed 3 rolls, however if I was on a really tight budget or needing to wallpaper a very large space, I might think more about the additional cost and consider whether it is out-weighed by the convenience.

A Limited Choice of Wallpaper Designs

Perhaps the biggest peel and stick wallpaper con for me is that there is a much more limited choice of designs than for conventional wallpaper. While you can obtain peel and stick wallpaper from a range of sellers, such as Wallpops, also Etsy and Spoonflower, there just isn’t the choice of designs in all price brackets. Hopefully this may change as peel and stick wallpaper grows in popularity.

Peel and Stick Wallpaper – Pros and Cons Conclusion

Having used conventional wallpaper a number of times and now trying peel and stick wallpaper, I would definitely say that for some situations the pros definitely outweigh the cons. It was quicker and easier to apply and get a really good finish – especially for beginners. Overall I enjoyed working with it more than I normally enjoy working with wallpaper. However if I was looking for a particular type or style of wallpaper, there isn’t necessarily the choice of designs widely available at the moment. I would also probably prefer to use conventional wallpaper for a larger space due to the non-recyclable waste issue and possible cost issues too. Overall I would say if you have the right space and you fancy giving it a try – go for it!

If you fancy giving conventional wallpaper a go, you can get my complete beginner’s guide to installing wallpaper here!