Does Wallpaper Fade Over Time (And Can You Prevent That)?

Wallpaper is making a huge comeback in current home design trends. Since most of you know how paint holds up over time, you may not know the characteristics of wallpaper. For example, does wallpaper fade, and is there a way to prevent that? We've done the leg work for you and found out!

Wallpaper can fade over time, but a handful of solutions can help slow down the fading. Wallpaper can be removed and patched, allowing you to enjoy it for years to come. Here are a few key ways to prevent fading:


  • Cleaning
  • Addition of curtains in the room
  • UV protective sealant
  • Window film or treatment
  • High-quality wallpaper

The addition of wallpaper in your home opens up new avenues of interior design that paint just can't top. The installation process can be done DIY or by a hired professional. We'll be taking a look into the listed solutions, wallpaper versus paint, and much more!

Glueing wallpapers during house renovation, Does Wallpaper Fade Over Time (And Can You Prevent That)?

Ways wallpaper can fade

There is a good amount of home decor that can fade over time, anything from cloth furniture to wallpaper. The most significant factor is direct sun exposure. Don't let this faze you; there are ways to have these issues under control.

Direct sun exposure

Sun exposure brings harmful UV rays. Just like with your skin, your wallpaper can be just as affected by the sun. Having the wallpaper placed in a room or on a wall that receives direct sunlight all day increases the chance of fading versus wallpaper in a darker room. 

The type of wallpaper material

Most of the wallpapers on the market are made with colorfast dyes, which are very resistant to UV rays. However, if you go with grasscloth wallpaper, it can fade due to being made of natural fibers. Also, the type of paste used to adhere the wallpaper can turn yellow if it isn't of high quality. 

Interior of living room with armchairs

Tips for keeping it looking new


Maybe not the first thing that comes to mind but one of the most important ways to keeping your walls looking fresh! You'll be able to clean your walls with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or pet hair. In a higher traffic area, you can clean the surface twice a month. For lower traffic areas, once a month will do the job.

Vinyl wallpapers can be wiped down with gentle soapy water and a sponge. This is an excellent option for a home with children and crayon marks that may end up on the wall. A great part about wallpaper is that the sponge won't take off the paper's surface and leave a discolored spot like it would on paint.

Click here to view these microfiber cloths on Amazon.

Addition of curtains in the room

The easiest solution, add curtains! You can either add blackout curtains or sheer curtains. Blackout curtains pulled shut during the day will keep all the sunlight off your wallpaper. It can also help keep the room cooler and go easier on your AC system. 

On the other hand, sheer curtains will still work if you still want to keep a form of natural light in the room. They'll be able to reduce the number of UV rays touching the wallpaper while still giving you natural light in the room. Lighter color curtains will reflect sunlight off them and reduce the heat as well.

UV protective sealant

Another option is adding a sealant to the surface of the wallpaper. Many produced wallpaper has delicate design features that you want to preserve for as long as possible. Add a thin topcoat of UV sealant to have peace of mind if you don't think curtains are enough. This can be done by yourself after the wallpaper glue has dried.

Click here to view this wallpaper sealant on Amazon.

Window film or treatment

Depending on how much renovation you're doing and your budget, you can invest in window treatments. Window treatments act like car window tints. They'll keep the UV rays out and give your home more privacy. Or, you can also put a window peel or sticky film on the glass. These can be a fun addition since they make films with a rainbow effect when the sun hits them.

Click here to see this window film on Amazon.

High-quality wallpaper

Wallpaper can get expensive, but spending the money upfront will save you in the long run. Higher quality wallpaper is made of stronger materials and won't as easily be damaged by environmental happenings. The quality of the paper means you'll have a more crisp design, less risk of peeling, and more resistance to fading.

Click here to view this peel and stick wallpaper on Amazon.

What is the lifespan of wallpaper?

Glueing wallpapers in living room

An interior designer stated that the average lifespan is 10-15 years but could go for longer with proper installation and upkeep. While the material itself will last for multiple years, trends and your taste may change before it reaches the end of its life. Either way, the wallpaper will last almost three times as long as paint. Plus, it won't chip as easily as paint does in high-traffic areas.

Heat and moisture are the two biggest factors that can peel or loosen wallpaper. When it is installed in a kitchen or bathroom, add a tiled backsplash to take the majority of the water. You'll also benefit from having a good exhaust system in a bathroom to avoid the room getting too steamy. If you live in a colder climate, a fireplace could be present in your room. The heat coming off the flames will heat the glue and make the wallpaper shift to bubble and peel.

Preparation of the planned wall surface will help the wallpaper and adhesive stick better. Clean off the wall from all grease and dirt, and allow to dry. If there is a glossy paint present, sand the top layer down to get a better grip. Wallpaper being installed new drywall will need the drywall to be primed before installation.

How often should you replace wallpaper?

Thanks to the longevity of wallpaper, you won't have to replace entire panels for years. You can also patch repair if only one spot is damaged and have close to a seamless look. Use a seam roller around the edges of the patch to have it lay completely flat.

Click here to view this smoothing kit on Amazon.

Does wallpaper or paint last longer?

Glueing wallpapers at home

Wallpaper will last much longer than paint, but each come with their own ups and downs. Wallpaper uses a strong paste to adhere it to a wall and will have a very durable result. Most materials used for wallpaper don't easily scratch and won't chip like paint.

Also, if you do end up having a scuff on the paint, it's almost impossible to have the touch-up paint be the same color as the current wall. With wallpaper, you can remove the scuff area and lay in a new piece that matches the pattern or solid color. The biggest issue with wallpaper is humidity. Ensure kitchens and bathrooms have a good exhaust system to reduce the amount of moisture locked in the room.

Is it cheaper to paint or wallpaper?

Out the door, it will be cheaper to paint walls over wallpaper. Remember that paint will need at least two coats, requires multiple tools, and can take more than one day to complete. Wallpaper may be more expensive up front, but it lasts longer and has more design options for a unique look.

As stated on Fixr, wallpaper is almost double in price. DIY installation is possible, and this route will require you to plan and map out where each panel will sit. Or, you can hire a professional to install it for you. The cost can range greatly based on the size of the room, the type of wallpaper, and the current quality of the wall it is being laid on.

Does wallpaper damage walls?

If wallpaper is directly ripped off the walls, then yes, it will damage the walls. When you properly remove wallpaper with water and a scraper or an industrial steamer, you'll be able to reduce the likelihood of any damage. This can be a good choice for renters or condos. 

In closing

Paint may be cheaper than wallpaper, but you'll be receiving a lot more life expectancy. Wallpaper can fade due to UV rays, and the usage of curtains and sealants will slow that process. By choosing wallpaper instead of paint, you open a whole new world of design that will make your home stand out!

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