Here's What You Need to Know Before Committing to the Perfect Bathroom Wallpaper

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"Wallpaper? In the bathroom?" your grandmother exclaims after sharing the details of your washroom renovation with her. But, in her defense, the trend is a bit of a newfangled idea, since traditionally wallpaper in a hot and steamy environment has been known to bubble or even fall off the wall altogether. At least that was true of old-school products, but today, there are several styles and materials that will work in virtually any space.

And while we love a boldly painted accent wall or swoonworthy marble wainscoting, the magic of wallpaper can really make a space pop with personality and pizzazz — tying together the entire design with gorgeous colors and patterns. But before you fall in love with that vibrant abstract print or floral motif, you need to know the pros and cons of each type of bathroom wallpaper. Scroll on for the important takeaways and some of our favorite places to shop.

1. Paper Bathroom Wallpaper

Let's say you're totally smitten with a wallpaper print, only to discover that it's made of traditional paper, which isn't ideal for the bathroom. You can either put it up in a powder room (since it won't get steamy from a shower or be prone to splashes) or you can waterproof it yourself using a water-based varnish, emulsion glaze, or a primer. Use this handy-dandy tutorial as your guide.

Carissa and Mike of CC + Mike fell in love with this tropical palm print from Anthropologie and used it in a beachy pool bathroom.

2. Removable Bathroom Wallpaper

Removable, or peel-and-stick, wallpaper is all the rage these days and for good reason. They give homeowners the ability to live with it for a while and then take it down whenever they like without damaging the wall. Along with creative freedom, it's a material that holds up well in bathrooms and won't break the bank either. You can easily install removable wallpaper yourself, but keep in mind that it's often a fun, temporary fix in a space and not the most durable option on the market. This is due to the fact that it's designed to be removed, which means the adhesive isn't as strong as those used with more standard wallpapers.

When this bathroom needed some color and life, Charlotte of At Charlotte's House turned to this cheerful print from Spoonflower that brings a bit of the outdoors in.

3. Waterproof Bathroom Wallpaper

When searching for bathroom wallpaper, look for the words "waterproof," "washable," or "water-resistant." These include vinyl and can also represent fiberglass varieties or even PVC, a type of plastic polymer. These options are extremely hardy, easy to wipe down, and are resilient against damage and stains. They can be applied to most any surface, from concrete to paint, and many types of waterproof wallpaper are affordable. In our book, there aren't any cons when it comes to waterproof wallcoverings.

Kate Watson-Smyth of Mad About the House chose a vintage-inspired seascape print from West One Bathrooms Ltd. for this bath, and believe it or not, it's completely waterproof.

4. Vinyl Bathroom Wallpaper

Vinyl or vinyl-coated wallpaper tends to be the go-to option for strong, durable, and washable bathroom wallpaper. Since it's thick and resists water stains, it works best in a space with with a shower that tends to get hot and steamy, and it's a great choice if you want to really scrub down your walls. The only downside is that it can be a bit on the expensive side.

Vinyl wallpaper is known for its plethora of color and pattern options, even something as vibrant and artistic as the Pierre Frey print used to cover the walls in this bath designed by Amanda Louise Interiors.

Where to Shop for Bathroom Wallpaper:

Now that your bathroom wallpaper options are laid out before you, it's time to get shopping! Here are three of our very favorite destinations for the prettiest (and most durable) wallpaper around.

Spoonflower

Spoonflower is a cult destination for super-chic wallpapers available in several materials and varieties, which is ideal when shopping for a bathroom. Independent artists design the available patterns, or you can create your own design. Seriously, how cool is that?

Wayfair

If you search for "waterproof bathroom wallpaper" on Wayfair, you'll currently discover over 38,000 results. Affordably priced with near-limitless pattern options, this means you're pretty much guaranteed to find washable wallpaper that works for your bathroom.

West Elm

For peel-and-stick wallpaper (or decals or rolls), peruse West Elm. With designs oh-so-perfectly modern, like billowing clouds, abstract shapes, palm leaves, and splashes of watercolors.


Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.

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