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Today we are talking about the best way to paint over wallpaper. If you dislike removing wallpaper as I do then you will be happy to know you can paint over wallpaper.

Paint over wallpaper with Sherwin Williams

So you are trying to decide if you should paint over or remove wallpaper. Let me assure you that you can paint over wallpaper and after working with Sherwin Williams I have great directions on the best way to paint over wallpaper.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission if you purchase using the links below at no extra cost to you. All opinions are all my own.

Best Way to Paint Over Wallpaper

Before we dive into the steps on how to paint over wallpaper lets see if your wallpaper is in a good place to be painted over.

Paint Over Wallpaper or Remove

There are a few important things to look for when considering painting over wallpaper. First is your paper good and secure to the wall?

Look over your wall covering carefully and see if it is glued down securely. Look at the joints to see if they are rolling back. If your paper is coming down then you might want to consider taking it down. Since it is coming down already it might very well come off easily.

Wallpapered bathroom

However, if your wallpaper is pretty secure and most the joints and edges are fastened then you are good to go on painting your wallpaper.

Second, is your wallpaper flat. Does it have an embossed or raised pattern? If your paper has a raised pattern then you will need to have it skimmed with sheetrock mud or remove the wallpaper otherwise you will see the pattern when you paint over it.

What is the Best Primer for Painting Over Wallpaper?

Oil-based is the best primer to paint over wallpaper. Oil-based primers are more durable and bond better for this type of project.

What kind of paint do you use to paint over wallpaper?

The best kind of paint to paint on wallpaper is an oil-based primer but once you have primed your wallpaper you can use pretty much use any kind of paint. I used Sherwin Williams Designer Edition interior latex to paint over the oil-based primer.

Emerald designer edition paint satin latex

Now that we have answered a few important questions let's look at what supplies you will need.

What you need to paint over Wallpaper

You will need some standard tools like what's in my paint crate and then a few extras.

Now that we have the ground work layed and you know what tools you will need to paint over wallpaper it is time to walk you through the steps.

Clean the Wallpaper

Grab a bucket and fill it with hot water from the tap then add about 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 part water. So if your bucket holds 9 cups of water then you need 3 cups of distilled vinegar.

Take a clean rag and start wiping down the walls. If you have any stains and they are not coming off the wall you may need a degreaser. I recommend Krud Kutter. It works great to clean areas where you have been using air fresheners that may have gotten on the wall or body spray that has oil in them.

Wash wallpaper with vinegar and water

The main thing is to make sure everything is clean so the primer will bond nicely.

Repair Wallpaper

Since you just washed down all the walls you probably got a close up look at where any wallpaper has peeled away on joints and edges. You will need to make sure these areas that are unraveling are glued back down and this is where the caulk comes in.

Caulking down wallpaper before painting over wallpaper

Take the Shermax caulk and squeeze it into a crack behind the wallpaper and press the joint back together or down to the wall. I had to hold my finger of the joint for a minute until it stuck down on its own.

Once all the wallpaper is repaired it is time to paint the first coat of paint but I have a little trick to hide those joints.

Lattice Trim over Wallpaper Joints

I love trim! If you are a lover of trim too then you will love this optional idea. If you don't want to add trim over the joints you will need to skim the wall covering joints with spackle and then sand it. But I prefer this method.

Take some lattice trim which is so thin you don't have to remove any baseboards and cover all your joints with it.

This easy DIY farmhouse style wainscot is perfect for a cottage look.

Isn't this awesome! You get a custom trim look and hide the fact that you have painted over wallpaper.

Adding lattice trim to the joints of wallpaper

Because I didn't have crown mold I ran one row of lattice trim along the top of the wall and then ran vertical lines of lattice trim over all the joints. There were some wallpaper joints where it was in an inconvenient place like under where the towel bar goes.

So I left that joint open and used spackle to cover the joint. Simply use a putty knife to swipe the spackle over the joint being as neat as possible. Let it dry and sand it smooth.

Primer Painting over Vinyl Wallpaper

Next on the paint on top of wallpaper project is your first coat of paint which is an oil-based ProBlock primer by Sherwin Williams paint. This is some good stuff.

Cut into corners and along edges with an angled paintbrush then come behind that step by rolling the paint onto the wall. Painting a room is simple.

Primer coat of paint over wallpaper

Oil-based paint has a bonding and blocking ability that is amazing but not all primers are equal which is why I recommend ProBlock primer oil-based. This is an important step so do not skip it.

Also, here are a few more tips when dealing with oil-based paints. They do not clean up with soap and water so make sure you have drop cloths down on the floor, wear disposable gloves if you don't want to deal with clean up on your hands, use a roller that you don't mind trashing and use a paint tray liner so you can trash it when you are done.

If you do these tips then all you have to clean is the paintbrush unless you decide to trash it too. But don't let my tips scare you because I was nervous about using oil-based paint and it was super easy.

If you need to clean your brushes and other tools use mineral spirits. It works like a charm.

Paint with Latex Paint on Wallpaper

Now things are starting to get fun! Apply your latex paint just like you did the primer. A good quality one coat paint will make this your last step. Trust me it is worth paying extra to get one coat paint.

Priming wallpaper

I used the Emerald Designer Edition interior latex in satin. This paint applied like brushing butter on a piece of toast. As it dried it started leveling out beautifully which was magnificent over a few uneven spots.

Emerald Designer Edition Paint

Here are a few more details about this new paint that I thought you might like to know.

This paint comes in its own line of colors. You can see the colors on the Sherwin Williams website or go into the store and grab some of their pamphlets.

Emerald designer edition paint satin latex

So you are probably wondering what makes this paint different from Sherwin William's other paints. Well, the base on this paint is a much purer white base so it develops brighter, richer, and more intense colors.

You have to check out their colors. They are great if you want a farmhouse look. The color I used was Ghosted which is a pale gray more on the white side.

Accent Wall over Wallpaper

Now if you want an accent wall like in my bathroom all you need to do is grab a different color and paint. I used Interesting Aqua SW 6220 for my accent wall. If you have a small wall you can use a sample can of paint.

How to paint over wallpaper using primer, paint and lattice trim

Sample cans come in a satin finish so if you don't like your accent wall color you haven't invested a lot of money.

Once you have your accent wall painted you are all done. Yay!!!

Next add some accessories like this maiden hair fern plant by Studio McGee at Target.

Maiden hair fern plant in a wood pot sitting in a window seal

Glass apothecary jars.

Antique blue mason jar filled with cotton balls

A bench to hold towels or anything you might need while bathing and a medallion round bath mat.

Round bath mat with tassels and goodwill bench

And my favorite which is this wall mounted crock. I am so excited to fill it with fresh greenery every week.

Hanging crock on the wall filled with fresh eucalyptus
Hanging crock on the wall filled with fresh eucalyptus


Now you may be asking yourself if you can do this in your bathroom, kitchen, entryway, bedroom or any room and the answer is yes. You can paint over wallpaper in any room.

Did I just make your day?

Here is a before and after so you can see how amazing the painted over wallpaper turned out.

Wallpapered bathroom
Paint over wallpaper with Sherwin Williams

I am so thankful to Sherwin Williams for walking me through the steps on how to paint over wallpaper. Now my next project is painting cabinets and I have loads of popular Sherwin Williams cabinet paint color ideas for inspiration.

Happy Decorating!

Priming wallpaper


Yield: 1
Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Steps on how to paint over wallpaper using primer, paint, and a clever trick using trim.



  1. Wash walls with vinegar and water.
  2. Repair with caulk where wallpaper is coming off.
  3. Paint oil based primer over wallpaper
  4. Install lattice trim over joints
  5. Paint over

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Thursday 17th of February 2022

Hi Linda, I noticed your bathroom had an upper border did you do the spackle along that line before primed?

Linda McDonald

Friday 18th of February 2022

Great questions! Yes, I spackled all holes on any new boards, including the crown board, I added to the bathroom. Also, I just recently replace the thin top board with a 1 x 4. This was more of an aesthetic design than it was necessary. The larger board looks nice. I will be adding photos of it to this post soon.


Sunday 4th of April 2021

[…] The next room on the list is our master bathroom. We just recently painted over the wallpaper and I have a post sharing the best way to paint over wallpaper. […]


Thursday 25th of February 2021

[…] how the room looks now. Did I mention we painted over the wallpaper and I have a tutorial on how to paint over wallpaper […]

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