Hold holding a wallpaper roll with old cream wallpaper in the background

Can You Put Wallpaper Over Wallpaper?

Wallpapering has long been a favoured method to infuse personality and style into our living spaces. But as trends and personal tastes evolve, many homeowners face a common dilemma: is it feasible to apply new wallpaper over an existing layer? This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of this question, offering insights and advice for those contemplating this decorating approach.

Understanding Wallpaper Types

When considering whether to overlay or remove and replace existing wallpaper, it's essential to understand the nature of the current wallpaper. Various types of wallpapers, such as traditional paper-based, peel-and-stick, vinyl, or fabric, react differently to adhesives and the application of new layers

  • Traditional paper-based wallpaper: Known for its porosity, this type usually bonds well with new adhesive layers, making it a suitable base for overlaying.
  • Peel-and-stick wallpaper: These wallpapers are designed for straightforward removal and reapplication. However, if you're considering overlaying them, it's crucial to check their current condition and adhesion to prevent issues like peeling or bubbling.
  • Vinyl wallpaper: While vinyl wallpapers are durable and can often support a new layer, they are nonporous, meaning new wallpaper won't adhere properly. Additionally, layering over vinyl can lead to mould issues. Hence, it's advisable to remove vinyl wallpaper before applying a new one.
  • Fabric wallpaper: Overlaying fabric wallpapers can be complex due to their texture and thickness. If you're planning to layer over fabric wallpaper, sanding it down is a necessary step to ensure a smooth and receptive surface for the new layer.

Assessing the Current Wallpaper

Checking the Condition: A thorough examination of the existing wallpaper is crucial. Look for signs of peeling, tearing, or loose seams. The presence of these issues might necessitate the removal of the old layer before proceeding.

Importance of Surface Preparation: Preparing the surface involves cleaning the old wallpaper with a mild detergent, and ensuring it's completely dry. If the existing wallpaper has a textured finish, sanding it down might be necessary to achieve a smooth surface for the new layer.

Pros and Cons of Wallpapering Over Wallpaper


  • Cost-Efficient: Wallpapering over existing wallpaper can be more cost-effective than removing the old wallpaper and preparing the walls for new wallpaper or paint. It saves you money on labor and materials.
  • Time-Saving: Removing old wallpaper can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Wallpapering over it can save you a significant amount of time, making it a quicker option for a room makeover.
  • Hide Imperfections: If the old wallpaper has minor imperfections or damage, adding a new layer can help conceal them, providing a smoother and more polished appearance.
  • Extra Insulation: Layering wallpapers can provide additional insulation and soundproofing, especially if you use thick or textured wallpaper.
  • Versatility: You can change the room's aesthetic without the need for extensive wall preparation. This is especially useful if you want to experiment with different patterns or styles.


  • Reduced Longevity: Adding multiple layers of wallpaper can reduce the lifespan of your wall coverings. Over time, the layers may start to peel or separate, leading to a less durable finish.
  • Thickness Buildup: Each layer of wallpaper adds thickness to the walls. If not properly managed, this can result in difficulty fitting furniture and fixtures against the walls, as well as problems with door and window frames.
  • Pattern Transparency: When layering new wallpaper over an old pattern, there's a risk of the old design showing through, especially if the new wallpaper is lighter. To avoid surprises, we recommend using our wallpaper samples to test against your existing wallpaper. This way, you can see for yourself how the new design interacts with the old one, ensuring your redecoration meets your expectations.
  • Limited Adhesion: The adhesive used on the old wallpaper may not provide the best surface for the new wallpaper to adhere to. This can lead to bubbling or peeling over time.
  • Difficult Removal Later: If you decide to remove the wallpaper in the future, it can be more challenging and time-consuming due to the multiple layers, potentially damaging the underlying wall.
Moving Image of Wallpaper Mural Wallpaper Samples

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Preparing the Surface: Begin by thoroughly cleaning the existing wallpaper. Repair any damages, and sand down raised seams or textured areas. Ensure the wall is dry before proceeding.
  2. Choosing the Right Adhesive: Selecting a strong, high-quality adhesive is essential, especially if the new wallpaper is heavier. A heavy-duty paste will help prevent sagging and peeling.
  3. Application Technique: Carefully align the new wallpaper, starting from the top of the wall and smoothing it downwards. Use a wallpaper squeegee to eliminate air bubbles and ensure firm adhesion, paying special attention to the edges. All wallpapers ordered from us come with a squeegee with a felt edge, ensuring the perfect application without damaging your new wallpaper

Alternatives to Wallpapering Over Wallpaper

In cases where the existing wallpaper is in poor condition, removing the old layer might be the best option. This allows for proper wall preparation and a fresh start.

Alternatively, should you find only a portion of your wallpaper damaged, opting for a wall sticker presents an excellent solution. This method stands out as the simplest and most cost-effective way to conceal any imperfections on your wall. Restowrap offers a diverse selection of wall stickers that not only effectively mask any flaws in your wallpaper but also add an element of excitement and visual interest to your walls. These stickers are designed to blend seamlessly with your existing decor, providing a quick and easy fix that enhances the overall aesthetic of your room.

Restowrap Sticker of Modern Blue Clouds Wall Sticker

Common Mistakes to Avoid

A few common pitfalls include rushing the process, ignoring the condition of the existing wallpaper, and choosing the wrong type of adhesive. Avoiding these mistakes can significantly improve the outcome of your wallpapering project.

Maintenance and Care for Layered Wallpaper

Caring for layered wallpaper involves gentle cleaning with a slightly damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive water, as these can damage the wallpaper and weaken the adhesive.

Cost Comparison

When deciding between wallpapering over existing wallpaper or removing and replacing it, cost is a significant factor. Wallpapering over is generally more cost-effective and quicker, as it avoids the labour-intensive removal process. This option requires new wallpaper and adhesive but saves on labour and disposal costs. Removing and replacing wallpaper can be pricier due to additional labour, materials for removal, and potential wall repairs. Your choice should depend on the condition of the existing wallpaper, your budget, and the desired outcome.

Environmental Considerations

Choosing between overlaying and replacing wallpaper hinges on sustainability. Overlaying reduces waste by avoiding the removal of existing wallpaper, especially since we use eco-friendly materials and VOC-free inks for all our murals. However, if the old wallpaper is damaged or contains harmful materials, it's less sustainable due to the potential for a shorter lifespan. On the other hand, replacing wallpaper allows for the old materials to be disposed of responsibly and the walls to be maintained properly. Our wallpapers are not just environmentally friendly; they're also custom-made to fit perfectly, helping to cut down on excess waste.

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