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) . 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