Bathroom Wallpaper – A Good or Bad Idea?



We’ve used wallpaper in our homes for centuries. From the ghastly ‘decorations’ we put up in the 70’s to the beautiful but subtle modern designs; wallpaper has always been a part of our décor ideas. However, one place where wallpaper remains mostly absent is the bathroom. It’s hardly surprising, as an environment high in moisture doesn’t exactly play well with wallpaper. It's also the case that wall space in the bathroom is often not on show as it is hidden behind bathroom furniture or covered by bathroom cabinets.

The last time I mentioned this someone pointed out to me that the Victorians used to wallpaper their bathrooms. Well, that’s great and the Victorians certainly had a thing for style, but Victorians also didn’t take long hot steamy showers. The modern bathroom may be fitted with extractor fans – or at least an open window – but they can only do so much. Wallpaper that isn’t designed for use in the bathroom isn’t going to cope well with the moisture. Sure, it may look nice for the first couple of months; check a few months later though and the paper will have started peeling like a stubborn onion. It’s a process you’ll notice over time, and it won’t look great for your traditional décor aspirations.

The good news is that you can use wallpaper in the bathroom, but it needs to be a specific type. You’re looking for water-resistant wallpapers that have a thick vinyl coating which will deflect any moisture. The question is; is it a good idea to put it up? It all comes down to design; pick the right wallpaper and it’s going to look great, but pick the wrong one and you may as well just have let someone be sick on your walls instead.

What Style of Wallpaper Will Look Good in a Bathroom?

It’s true that wallpaper in the bathroom can look a bit tacky and overly garish, but done right it can also instantly transform the look of the room. Just like elsewhere in the home, wallpaper can work its magic into your bathroom in a way that can make it look like you’ve simply had a spare £10,000 to throw at brand new décor.

As always, the style really comes down to whatever tastes you have. However, when you’re shopping around you need to be aware of how the rest of your bathroom looks or is going to look. Make sure the wallpaper isn’t going to look completely out of place alongside your bathroom suite.

Here are a few styles to consider. If you have more inspiration then be sure to check out Houzz’s Bathroom Wallpaper category.

Try Black & White ​​​​​​​Bathroom Wallpaper


Black and white bathrooms are a fairly traditional look, and teaming it a monochrome wallpaper completes the look. Add some brighter fixtures though and they’ll stand out in the overall décor, which is the perfect way to bring extra attention towards that expensive bath you bought.

Or Add a Splash of Colour


Use wallpaper to add colour to the walls and create a new look. Sure, you could just paint the walls, but wallpaper allows you to choose intricate designs that wouldn’t be possible elsewhere. There are thousands of designs and colours to choose from; just make sure that it is wallpaper that’s suitable for a bathroom environment. Some patterns need to be seen over a large space to make sense, so be wary of hiding a key part of the design behind bathroom vanity units or other bathroom furniture.

Don’t Overdo It


Choose wallpaper that’s going to complement the rest of your bathroom and not yank your attention away from it. Also, don’t pick a wallpaper that’s going to hurt your eyes in a way not too dissimilar to staring directly into the sun. Everyone has different tastes, but if you want a timeless non-tacky décor then avoid such travesties as the wallpaper above.

But If You Really Must…


There are some crazy wallpaper designs out there. So if you want to go wild then that option is open to you. Just make doubly sure that it really is the wallpaper you want on your walls before you put it up, as it’s not a smooth ride to get it off.

So, wallpaper, paint or tiles – it’s up to you! Your bathroom is what you make of it. Wallpaper is definitely an option to consider, despite what the naysayers say.