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Can You Wallpaper Over Wallpaper?

Ah, the age-old question: Can you wallpaper over wallpaper? It’s a topic that often sparks lively debates among DIY enthusiasts and interior design enthusiasts alike. While some may argue for the convenience and time-saving aspect of wallpapering over existing wallpaper, others swear by the traditional method of removing the old wallpaper before applying the new one.

The Pros of Wallpapering Over Wallpaper

  • Time and Effort Saving

One of the main advantages of wallpapering over existing wallpaper is the time and effort it can save. Removing old wallpaper can be a tedious and labor-intensive task, especially if the original wallpaper is stubbornly clinging to the wall. By wallpapering over it, you can bypass the arduous process of stripping and scraping, making the whole project faster and more convenient.

  • Added Thickness and Concealment

Wallpapering over wallpaper can provide additional thickness to the wall surface. This can be beneficial when dealing with walls that have imperfections or minor damages. The extra layer of wallpaper helps conceal any underlying flaws, giving you a smoother and more even surface for the new wallpaper.

  • Potential for Creative Layering

Wallpapering over existing wallpaper opens up exciting opportunities for creative layering. By choosing complementary patterns, textures, or colours, you can achieve unique and visually stunning effects. It’s a chance to unleash your creativity and experiment with different design combinations.

  • Temporary Solution

If you’re looking for a temporary solution or a quick refresh, wallpapering over existing wallpaper can be a viable option. It allows you to change the look of a room without committing to a long-term design choice. When you’re ready for a change, simply remove the top layer of wallpaper, and the original wallpaper underneath remains intact.

The Cons of Wallpapering Over Wallpaper

  • Compromised Adhesion and Durability

One of the main concerns when wallpapering over existing wallpaper is compromised adhesion. The new layer of wallpaper may not adhere as well to the underlying wallpaper surface, leading to potential issues such as peeling, bubbling, or lifting. Over time, this can result in an unsightly and unstable wallpaper installation.

  • Textural and Pattern Interference

Wallpapering over wallpaper can result in textural and pattern interference. The texture, pattern, and colour of the original wallpaper may show through the new layer, affecting the overall appearance of the room. This is especially true if the original wallpaper has a strong or bold design.

  • Limited Wallpaper Removal Options

Wallpapering over wallpaper can limit your options for future updates or changes. If you decide to remove the top layer of wallpaper, you may find it challenging to remove the underlying layers. This can restrict your ability to fully refresh or alter the wall’s appearance.

  • Potential for Hidden Issues

Wallpapering over existing wallpaper may hide underlying issues that need attention. For example, if the original wallpaper has moisture damage or mould growth, covering it up with another layer can exacerbate the problem and compromise the integrity of the new wallpaper installation.

Considerations Before Wallpapering Over Wallpaper

Before deciding whether to wallpaper over existing wallpaper, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Wallpaper Condition

Assess the condition of the original wallpaper. If it’s in good shape, firmly adhered to the wall, and free from damage or mould, wallpapering over it may be a viable option. However, if the existing wallpaper is peeling, damaged, or showing signs of mould or moisture issues, it’s best to remove it before proceeding.

  • Preparation and Surface Evaluation

Proper preparation is crucial when wallpapering over wallpaper. Ensure that the existing wallpaper is clean, smooth, and free from loose edges or bubbles. Thoroughly clean the surface, and consider using a primer or sizing agent to improve adhesion.

  • Type of Wallpaper

The type of wallpaper you plan to apply over the existing wallpaper is essential. Some wallpapers, such as vinyl or textured options, may adhere better to existing wallpaper surfaces. Consult with the wallpaper manufacturer or a knowledgeable professional to ensure compatibility between the two layers.

  • Personal Preference and Design Goals

Ultimately, your personal preference and design goals play a significant role in the decision-making process. If you’re looking for a quick update or a temporary solution, wallpapering over wallpaper may suffice. However, if you strive for a flawless and long-lasting result, removing the existing wallpaper is recommended.


The choice to wallpaper over wallpaper depends on various factors, including the condition of the existing wallpaper, your design goals, and the desired level of durability. While wallpapering over wallpaper can be a time-saving solution with creative potential, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and limitations. Remember to carefully evaluate the condition of the original wallpaper and consider the long-term impact on your desired aesthetic.

If you need further assistance, consider reaching out to the experts at Martyn Clegg Painters and Decorators in Burnley, who can ensure the job is done correctly the first time thanks to their knowledge and expertise.