Wallpaper in a bathroom

I am frequently asked ‘can I use this in my bathroom?’. There is no easy answer to this question. Actually there is – ‘no’.

But as more and more of those glossy magazines feature pretty bathrooms with walls adorned with colour and design my inbox gets fuller. I gotta say…they do look great. But they are put together by stylists who often don’t know the ins and outs and specifications of the product they are promoting. Its a bit ridiculous really.

I would love to say ‘yes’. Because I know that probably in a high steam area, a non specific bathroom wallpaper will probably last two years by which time the warranty will have expired anyway. But I cant. Its not fair. And so I get asked and then either ignored or because a customer really wants it they ask around and buy the paper off somebody who tells them ‘yes you can’. 

Firstly, let me say two words…paper + water.

Paper is capable of absorbing moisture and moisture creates mould (not to mention that most modern wallpapers are actually designed to come off with steam).

Now let me contradict myself and tell you about the amount of people who have bought ordinary wallpaper and used it in a high steam area and had no problems. Its true. I have had quite a few customers putting up wallpaper in bathrooms. While I know that normal wallpaper can look good for a little while, after about two years it will probably begin to peel. But hey, some people like to regularly change the look and feel of their bathroom, so if two years is enough then go for it!

I always start my rant (I mean my advice) like this –

If your really determined to put wallpaper in a bathroom or kitchen, ask yourself the following questions:

How many people use the bathroom? If its more than one or two people a day then your asking for trouble.

Is the room well ventilated? With a window?

Is it sunny?

Will you use a good size and mould killer upon application? If your determined to go ahead use a mildew proof wallpaper primer and adhesive. Mould can cause an unimaginable amount of health problems so do it right.

And lastly I ask, 

Your not going to install it in the actual shower are you? (You’d be surprised about the amount of people who actually contemplate it). The shower itself should be tiled or have some kind of ‘walls’. If the wallpaper is going to meet the tiles in a shower or ‘wall’ then apply a small layer of waterproof filler and sealant where it meets up to prevent the wallpaper from curling up. In any area around a shower or bath use extra wallpaper paste to really make it stick.

(Anyway some bathrooms are ‘occasional rooms’, meaning they are only used when guests come. In that case your probably going to get away with it). 

If after all this interrogation the customer still wants to go ahead then I advise to use a clear acrylic varnish over the top of the paper (something like polyvine or a clear glaze emulsion) to protect it from the heat and steam (before application spot test a section as some lighter wallpapers can dis-colour with varnish). But i’m not sure anybody has actually ever taken my advice. 

A word of warning (another one!) if you do decide on going with a normal wallpaper in a high steam area then your warranty and guarantee is void as you are not using the product for what it was designed for.

I don’t really know why anybody would insist on using a non-specifically designed wallpaper when there are actually quite a few wallpapers specifically designed for bathrooms and kitchens. Mostly vinyl coated or blown vinyl they used to be really daggy. But over the last few years manufacturers have really put some thought into their designs and there are some great products out there. There are even wallpapers now that look like tiles (much cheaper than tiling and you can change it or repaper when you get sick of the design).

Below are some of our current bathroom wallpapers (even some photos from customers actual bathrooms)atomic_bathroom_wallpaper_grande atomic_bathroom_wallpaper2_grande Goldfish_wallpaper_mediumsubway_tiles_wallpaper_medium. It is an ever changing selection so if you do find something you love don’t hang around. Or check out our website’s bathroom and kitchen section for some more great bathroom ideas http://www.theinside.co.nz/search?page=1&q=bathroom

teal_bathroom_wallpaper_nz teal_tile_kitchen_wallpaper_new_zealand cream_mosaic_bathroom_wallpaper_new_zealand silver_black_bathroom_wallpaper mosaic_bathroom_wallpaper_nz black_mosaic_wallpaper_NZ bathroom_mosaic_wallpaper_new_zealand cream_bathroom_wallpaper+New_zealand green_geometric_bathroom_wallpaper_NZ bathroom_wallpapers_new_zealand tile_looking_wallpaper_new_zealand Florida_flamings_wallpaper_large kitchen_tile_wallpaper_large white_silver_bathroom_wallpaper_large goldfish_wallpaper_white_large goldfish_bathroom_wallpaper subway_tiles_white_brick_wallpaper_New_zealand_large time_out_wallpaper_new_zealand_large

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Categories: Uncategorized | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Wallpaper in a bathroom

  1. What if you were to use a wallpaper on the wall in the kitchen/laundry for a small area, and then have a clear glass splashback over the top – would this provide sufficient protection for it to last?

    • Hi, sorry for the late reply. I have only just noticed this. Yes that is enough protection. Technically you are supposed to silicone it to stop all the gunk getting in BUT I have friends who have just screwed theirs in and its been like that since they bought the house at least three years ago and its fine. Im going to do the same thing in my new kitchen. I will use screws so I can change it every few years.

  2. Very useful article. There are a lot of people who put wallpapers in the bathroom. It is strange for me, though. I found one kind which was designed only for bathrooms. I suppose it was waterproof. Thank you for sharing. Greetings!

    • Hi, oh there are tons of bathroom wallpapers. And to be honest I have a non bathroom wallpaper in my bathroom (I know what a hypocrite right). BUT I waited a month after moving in, testing the bathroom everyday for how much steam there was, how good the extraction system was and how sunny it was. When I was satisfied that the bathroom would be ok (its five metres long so hardly any steam) I wallpapered it. Looks great, no mould residue and it stays up. I say it stays up as modern wallpapers are designed to be strippable so steam can be a bit of a worry.

  3. Hi, its good article on the topic of media print, we all be familiar with media is a great source of information.|

  4. mary Muniz

    Hi, I love the wallpaper patterns your’ve featured here. Where can I find these? Thanks. Mary

  5. Cindy Lowry

    We just papered in our bathroom. Have great ventilation but still feel like I should coat the seams with something to keep out moisture. Want to use a product that won’t show on the paper once it dries. Suggestions?

    • Hi, its been a while since this was posted so I wander how its all going? Putting some kind of coating can be a good idea but be warned you should do some investigating before use. Some products will remove colour. So if possible buy a tester first or take a sample of the wallpaper in to the shop and see if theyc an apply a tester for you. If yous till have the instructions check them and see what the guide says. Some products will state not to use a sealer on them as they are not colour fast. Some people just repaste the edges with wallpaper paste if it starts to peel off. I guess its case of wait and see.

  6. Thank you for a very good article. I have a bit of an odd question and wonder if you can help? I have bought an old house (1803) and we’re installing a bathroom on the first floor. The intended room is west facing and gets lots of sunlight every afternoon and evening directly onto the back wall. Which incidentally has a fantastic wallpaper on it. Unfortunately this is the wall where I intend to place a shower. Is there any chance I good get a transparent shower panel and put it over the existing wallpaper instead of a coloured panel?

    • Hi sorry, my replies are getting longer and longer as we get busier and busier. I like your question and I wish there was an easy answer. I think steam and shower gunk would eventually get beneath the glass. I have a friend who has wallpaper under her kitchen splashback. It is unsiliconed and pressed up hard. They still somehow manage to get bugs and dust behind the glass. So perhaps if you got shatterproof (toughened) glass and used silicone it might do the trick. I am not sure where you are from but in NZ where everything like this is expensive it cost us $900 just for a door in toughened glass so the cost might outweigh the benefits unless you are totally in love with the wallpaper. The other thing that may work is using a sealant on the wallpaper and creating a barrier that way. Maybe tile to half way and use wallpaper on the top half and seal it. This of course is trial and error also as different sealers work differently on different papers. I used a sealer once on a bone coloured wallpaper and it discoloured but was fine on another wallpaper. So this is a difficult question to answer. If you loved the wallpaper that much you might consider having us print it for you (which we cna now do) and using it somewhere else?

      • Thank you for such a considered response. I live in the UK and am repairing an old house, I am trying to keep the good stuff and memories from the house as well as turn it into my home. I think maybe I was too ambitious. I might take some of your tips for above the sink.

  7. Hi, I know. Renovating is such a tough process as all the glossy magazines show us what we want but often not what is achievable. I would try and peel it off and frame it or put some kind of lacquer layer on it or get it reproduced. Nothing is impossible 🙂

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