The Best Removable Wallpaper of 2022 | Tested by PEOPLE – PEOPLE

Madison Yauger is commerce writer at PEOPLE, covering beauty, home, travel, and other lifestyle topics. Her background includes news, lifestyle, and commerce journalism for publications like Food & Wine, Real Simple, Health, Martha Stewart, and more. Prior to writing for Dotdash Meredith, she worked for a human rights news agency in Cape Town, South Africa, reporting action around the city as it unfolded. When not working, Madison enjoys spending time with family and friends, voraciously reading thrillers, and befriending every dog in Manhattan.
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If you want to create personality in a space but don’t want to (or can’t) commit to traditional glued wallpaper, consider removable wallpaper (also known as peel-and-stick). Popular with celebrity designers like Joanna Gaines and Sabrina Soto, removable wallpaper gives you the opportunity to display bold wall prints and pops of color in a space with easy installation and damage-free removal.
We tested 28 different removable wallpapers to gauge how easy they were to install, peel off, reapply, and remove. After applying each to various sections of drywall, our testers scored the wallpaper on design and overall application. Though many wallpapers were visually appealing and easy to apply, we’re swooning over the BHG Organic Stripe for its satin finish and durable quality.
Of all the removable wallpaper that PEOPLE Tested, these were considered the best for premium design without the risk of wall damage.
Pros: BHG Organic Stripe is loved for its easy application, gorgeous contemporary design, and durable material.
Cons: It doesn't have gridlines, which would help with cutting sections.
Home design is a form of expression, and the BHG Organic Stripe removable wallpaper is a statement — it boasts neutral colors, modern flair, and plenty of texture. Our testers scored this wallpaper a perfect five in all categories because it offered a sophisticated design, high end materials, and was as easy to spread as butter on toast.
"It's very thick paper similar to really good wrapping paper," said one tester, adding that the material made it "easy to stick and squeegee" onto the drywall. For added whimsy, this wallpaper has a satin finish that catches the eye when you walk into a room. It didn't bubble, and despite the intricate pattern, there were no issues lining each sheet into place. Removal and reapplication were just as seamless, noted our tester.
"The only slight issue was cutting through the thick paper, [and] unfortunately, it did not have gridlines on the back, which would be helpful in making sure your patterns line up," our tester said.
We believe this is a high value wallpaper, and while it's easy to remove (by design!), it can last for many years if so desired. "It feels like it would hold up in the home," our tester concluded.
Pros: This budget-friendly wallpaper applies smoothly with minimal bubbles, and comes off without any damage.
Cons: It takes significant effort to keep the paper straight when cutting.
This geometric wallpaper was a tester favorite for its user-friendly application. Our tester joked that considering her impatience and not being a DIYer, installing this wallpaper "was a harmless, easy process."
There was minimal bubbling when smoothing out each panel, and it easily peeled off the wall when needing readjustment. Even after several attempts to line it up straight, our tester said this wallpaper kept its stickiness and reapplied beautifully. It didn't take any drywall off or leave residue behind once removed.
It did prove challenging to cut the paper, only because it didn't stay straight (kept curling up into the roll shape), so our tester suggested having a second hand available or using a weighted object to hold down the ends when cutting. She also thought the geometric design made the panels harder to line up.
Given the size of each roll, our tester said this wallpaper would be an "affordable option for someone who is living in an apartment or needs to decorate a small space, such as an entryway, hallway or a small accent wall."
Wallpaper can completely transform a space, but when deciding on which print to buy, you should consider the area you’re trying to cover. For instance, a large wall covered in a loud print might make your space feel smaller, so instead, use big bold prints on smaller accent walls, to bring life into a room without completely taking over. On large walls, a more muted or neutral pattern will add depth while blending in with other design elements. Rian Smith, interior designer in Manhattan, NY recommends the try-before-you-buy method: “Steer clear of anything that looks too digitally made or flat. Always request a sample if you can, that way you know exactly what you are getting!”
A little mental math is a necessary evil when determining how much removable wallpaper you'll need for a space. To find the surface area, you'll need to measure the length and width of each wall you want to cover, and then check the dimensions of the wallpaper roll to determine how many you should order for full coverage.
Not all walls were meant to be covered in removable wallpaper. Warns Smith, "You really don't want to be applying any type of wallpaper to a textured wall." Stucco, wood paneling, stone, textured plaster, etc. are all poor candidates for wallpaper. Stick to smooth, flat drywall if possible.
The trick to removable wallpaper is its adhesive backing, so when researching different wallpapers, make sure to look for that clarification because traditional wallpaper will not come off as easily. Traditional papers have woven and non-woven backings, so look for the language "peel-and-stick", as well as premium quality paper that won't easily tear when removed.
However, if you apply a panel and decide you want to move it, you still may have a bit of trouble at first. Says Smith, "Once you've applied peel-and-stick paper to a wall, it's pretty difficult to get off due to the adhesive, that's why the planning process is so crucial!" She recommends peeling off at an angle, working from top to bottom, rather than pulling straight back for better results. "If the wallpaper is being tricky, you can also apply steam to it — this will help make the paper softer and easier to peel off," Smith explains. "If there is any adhesive left over, simply add warm water and soap to the area and sponge off or gently scrape off."
Twelve home design enthusiasts — strapped with squeegees, utility knives, and tape — tested 28 removable wallpapers on slabs of drywall in our lab to see which were the best of the bunch. They considered the ease of application and removal for each, as well as the overall design and value.
Our testers applied two panels of wallpaper on the drywall, following the manufacturer's instructions for added guidance. They cut each section of paper to see what the material was like to work with, and noted the ease of repositioning once on the wall, smoothing out any bubbles and adjusting its placement. Looking at each panel, our testers considered the design, looking for how vibrant the patterns were (blinding! bold! whimsical!) when displayed on the wall. Scoring was based on the quality of material, finish of each paper, and its overall appearance. Then it was time to peel it off! Did removal damage the paper? The wall? Our top picks met all these criteria while also being a good value for the price.
Peel and stick style removable wallpaper can last for years if it is applied properly. This type of wallpaper will also last longer in rooms that are free of humidity, as opposed to bathrooms because they are difficult to keep dry.
As long as you apply peel and stick wallpaper to smooth (not textured) walls with no loose paint, drywall, or plaster, removable wallpaper should not cause any damage to walls. If you're trying to remove wallpaper after it's been on for a while, you may need to use steam to loosen it. Any areas of adhesive that remain after removing the wallpaper can be scraped off or wiped with a cloth soaked in soap and water.
Yes, walls should be primed or painted prior to applying peel and stick wallpaper. Make sure the primer or paint is allowed to dry for several days before hanging any wallpaper.
Make sure the walls are clean, smooth, dry, and dust-free. Use a smoothing tool to firmly press the wallpaper to the wall as you work for the best adhesion.
Unfortunately, no. Peel and stick wallpaper can only adhere to a smooth surface.
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