The 10 Best Wallpapers of 2022, According to Our Tests

Our favorite is the Priano Wallpaper from Serena & Lily, which is easy to install and has a beautiful design.

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Best Wallpaper of 2022, According to Our Tests
serenaandlily.com

One of the greatest ways to dress up your white walls and ceilings is with wallpaper. Wallpaper adds dimension, color, and the opportunity to play with bold patterns in your space without having to do any kind of renovation work. But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be treated as a serious design project.

"Not only is wallpaper an investment in both time and money, but once you've spent it, you'll be living with it," says Pamela Sandall, a Los Angeles-based interior designer. "I think it should make you smile every time you look at it," she says.

To help you make the most informed decision regarding wallpaper, we tested 30 different wallpapers in our Lab and evaluated them based on value, durability, ease of application, and design. In addition to Sandall, we also spoke to two more interior designers: Victoria Lee, owner and principal designer of Victoria Lee Interiors, and Rasheeda Gray, founder and lead designer of Gray Space Interiors.

Our top pick is the Serena & Lily Priano Wallpaper for its soothing watercolor pattern, solid material, and seamless application. Read on for more of our best wallpaper picks and how to choose the best wallpaper for your home.

Best Overall Wallpaper: Serena and Lily Priano Wallpaper

4.9
Serena and Lily Priano Wallpaper

Serena and Lily Priano

Who it's for: People who want easy-to-install wallpaper that won't leave behind bubbles or bleeding from glue.

Who it isn't for: People who want a peel-and-stick style wallpaper.

Our testers found this wallpaper from Serena & Lily to be pretty, high-quality, and quite easy to install. The botanical pattern present on the Priano Wallpaper is actually a copy of a watercolor piece the brand created in-house. The delicacy of the watercolor combined with the simplicity of the vines results in a pattern that is more soothing than overwhelming. You can choose to add a pop of color to your room with the bold navy or grove (green), or keep things more neutral with sky (very light blue), pink sand (very light pink), and mink (a light clay color).

While installing, our tester really liked how thick and smooth the wallpaper felt. After sticking it to the wall with wallpaper paste (this is unpasted wallpaper), they told us that there was no bleeding of the glue and no lingering bubbles. Plus, after putting it through our cleaning test, there was no leftover color or stains. Even though this wallpaper is on the pricier side, our tester would definitely recommend it: "The design, colors, and thickness really add to its value and would make any room look expensive and chic."

Product Details:

  • Type: Unpasted
  • Size: 2.25 x 27 feet (60.75 square feet)
  • Material: Paper

Price at time of publish: $128

Best Budget Wallpaper: Graham & Brown Crocodile Black Wallpaper

4.3
Graham & Brown Crocodile Black Wallpaper

Courtesy of Graham & Brown

Who it's for: People who want wallpaper that is easy to remove stains from.

Who it isn't for: People who want wallpaper that is easy to cut.

This affordable wallpaper will bring both drama and texture to your home's walls. While an all-black room certainly isn't for everyone, using black wallpaper on at least one of your walls is a great way to effortlessly add a level of elegance and sophistication to your space. The crocodile pattern enhances this wallpaper's overall luxurious appearance while the durable vinyl material ensures that it will hold up well over time. Our tester said the paper had a "nice heavy weight" to it and its texture "made it easy to smooth out (on our wall) with no issues." However, make sure you have strong cutting tools, as the material's "rubbery consistency" made it more difficult for our tester to cut it, as compared to the paper wallpaper we tested.

Cleaning the Graham & Brown Crocodile Wallpaper was definitely easier than cutting it. Unlike many other wallpapers we tested, we were able to get all of our stains out completely with just soapy water and a washcloth. Overall, our tester said they would recommend this wallpaper to others. However, should you decide to buy this, they recommend painting the wall you want to put the wallpaper on black to ensure that all seams remain completely hidden.

Product Details:

  • Type: Unpasted, washable
  • Size: 1.7 x 32.80 feet (56 square feet)
  • Material: Vinyl

Price at time of publish: $85

Best Splurge Wallpaper: MIND THE GAP Yuyuan Wallpaper at 2Modern

4.9
MIND THE GAP Yuyuan Wallpaper at 2Modern

2Modern

Who it's for: People looking for a chinoiserie-style wallpaper.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to spend a lot on one roll of wallpaper.

Our tester was happy to report that this pricey wallpaper is absolutely worth the cost. "The charming design, saturated colors, and ease of application make it a wonderful product that delivers on its value," says our tester. "The easiest paper I have ever applied. It really makes a 'wow!' statement." This wallpaper depicts an authentic Chinese dynasty garden, complete with rolling hills, pavilions, and dreamy, flowery trees.

The wallpaper's material is made of a satin matte, which our tester described as a "heavy paper with a nice finish." The paper has actually been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a non-profit that gives certifications to products that use materials that come from responsibly-managed forests. Our tester told us the texture and durability of the wallpaper is what enabled it to pass our cleaning test. We were able to get all of our stains out with a damp sponge and there was no fading or smearing of color. What's more, the Yuyuan Wallpaper comes in strips that are marked A, B, and C, making installation seamless.

Product Details:

  • Type: Unpasted, washable
  • Size: 1.7 x 9.8 feet (50.4 square feet)
  • Material: Non-woven paper

Price at time of publish: $220

Best Botanical Wallpaper: A-Street Prints Alfresco Palm Leaf Wallpaper

4.3
Alfresco Palm Leaf Wallpaper

Amazon

Who it's for: People whose home decor style is tropical or nature-focused.

Who it isn't for: People who want a wallpaper pattern that is less busy.

This popular wallpaper pattern has been turning heads since its first appearance in the 1930s—and it's easy to see why it has stood the test of time. The plethora of palm fronds allows you to experience some of the tranquility of nature inside your home. This is a great option for people who gravitate toward tropical home decor styles, or those who want some flora in their home without having to take care of houseplants. Our tester agreed, telling us that this wallpaper is "super pretty" and would "definitely go well in a tropical setting."

In addition to its good looks, we also found this A-Street Prints wallpaper to be easy to apply to our drywall and, for the most part, easy to clean as well. We were able to get our barbecue and coffee stains out completely. The crayons, on the other hand, were harder along the lines of the wallpaper. The Alfresco Palm Leaf Wallpaper comes in seven colors, including green palm fronds with blue or pink backgrounds, and blue, pink, gray, and taupe palm fronds with white backgrounds.

Product Details:

  • Type: Unpasted, washable
  • Size: 1.7 x 33 feet (56.4 square feet)
  • Material: Non-woven paper

Price at time of publish: $140

Best Animal Wallpaper: Rifle Paper Co. Dark Green Peacock Wallpaper Roll

4.4
Rifle Paper Co. Dark Green Peacock Wallpaper Roll

Wayfair

Who it's for: People who want an animal-themed wallpaper that isn't too bold.

Who it isn't for: People who want wallpaper that is easily washable.

Rifle Paper Co. is widely known for their vivid floral patterns, which can be found on everything from art prints to office chairs, as well as wallpaper. Their Peacock Wallpaper (done in collaboration with York Wallcoverings) sticks to the brand's signature brightly colored botanicals while incorporating peacock motifs throughout. This beautiful blend achieves something difficult: an animal print wallpaper that can look good in and outside of a kid's room. You could use this wallpaper to create a bold accent wall in your bedroom, or thanks to its heat-, mold-, and mildew-resistance, cover the walls of your bathroom.

Our tester was impressed with the sturdiness of the paper and how easy it was to install, so much so that they expected the cost of this wallpaper to be higher than it was. During installation, our tester told us that the pattern lined up nicely and there were no wrinkles or bubbles after. One thing our tester didn't like was that you could see the white seam through the pattern, even though everything was lined up correctly. Plus, although the brand says you can clean this with a damp cloth, we found doing this resulted in stains and fading on the paper.

Product Details:

  • Type: Unpasted, washable
  • Size: 2.25 x 27 feet (60.75 square feet)
  • Material: Non-woven paper

Price at time of publish: $122

Best Colorful Wallpaper: Fineapple Pair Boho Tropical

4.3
Fineapple Pair Boho Tropical

Fineapple Pair

Who it's for: People who want to be able to choose the material they buy.

Who it isn't for: People who want wallpaper that doesn't require overlap during application.

If you're looking to add some serious color to your white walls, consider this detailed boho-style wallpaper from Spoonflower store Fineapple Pair. The Boho Tropical 3 Wallpaper is a feast for the eyes, featuring detailed mandalas alongside depictions of exotic flowers and various types of fronds. Our tester found the print in this pattern to be "gorgeous" and overall a "very vibrant and bold pattern." They were also quite pleased that there was no pixelation throughout the pattern, which can be a problem with detailed wallpaper patterns.

Our tester also called this wallpaper "very high quality" and "easy to work with." They described the material of the wallpaper as "very high end" and "almost fabric-like" in feel. The pattern lined up quite nicely while installing, though our tester was quick to note that this wallpaper requires you to slightly overlap the next panel in order for the pattern to flow seamlessly. This took our tester a little more time in comparison to applying wallpapers that line up edge to edge, but this wouldn't stop them from recommending it to friends and family. As for cleaning, we were able to get our stains out really well, with the exception of a few very faint black marks from the crayons, which our tester said was "hardly noticeable." You can get this wallpaper in a peel-and-style style, grasscloth, non-pasted traditional pebble, or pre-pasted removable smooth—we tested the non-pasted traditional pebble variety

Product Details:

  • Type: Non-pasted traditional pebble; also available in peel and stick, grasscloth, and pre-pasted removable smooth
  • Size: 2 x 27 feet
  • Material: Paper

Price at time of publish: $214

Best Traditional Wallpaper: Ballard Designs Juliet Floral Wallpaper

4.3
Ballard Designs Juliet Floral Wallpaper

Ballard Designs

Who it's for: People who want a vintage-inspired wallpaper design.

Who it isn't for: People who want to hang their wallpaper in their kitchen or bathroom.

Inspired by the styles of the Arts and Crafts movement, this wallpaper is a great option for those who love all things vintage. The pattern is a beautiful kaleidoscope of flora, including flowers, leaves, and vines that come in color combinations that include earth tones like navy blue, shades of greens, and terra cotta. Our tester told us that the pattern looked clear both up close and far away, and the paper felt "very thick, high quality, and durable." And although the pattern is quite detailed, we had no problem matching the pattern up. In fact, according to our tester, it lined up "perfectly."

The quality of the Juliet Floral Wallpaper is so great that our tester was surprised by how low the price is. The one downside to this wallpaper is that it didn't perform as well in our cleaning test as it did with our other tests. We were able to get all of our stains out but the cleaning resulted in the wallpaper's color fading and stains from the wash. As such, this wallpaper is best for areas of the home that are less likely to get dirty.

Product Details:

  • Type: Unpasted, washable
  • Size: 1.7 x 33 feet (56 square feet)
  • Material: Non-woven paper

Price at time of publish: $126

Best Contemporary Wallpaper: West Elm Labyrinth Wallpaper

4.3
West Elm Labyrinth Wallpaper

West Elm

Who it's for: People who are looking for a wallpaper with an adhesive already on it.

Who it isn't for: People looking for a more classic wallpaper design.

If traditional wallpaper designs such as floral or damask aren't really your jam, consider this contemporary option from West Elm. The Labyrinth Wallpaper features relaxed geometric shapes that very loosely resemble the architectural style of Chand Baori in India. The Labyrinth Wallpaper blends in well with minimalist, modern, and neutral home decor styles. Our tester found the wallpaper's design to be "quite unique and stylized" and was pleased with how easy it was to install. They also called the paper "forgiving", as it was easy to smooth bubbles out once it was on the wall.

This wallpaper differs from others we tested in that glue has already been applied to the back, so all you need is a spray bottle full of water to activate and stick it on. Our tester told us that the glue dried faster than un-pasted options, so if you get this, be sure to act quickly while installing. Our tester also told us that our stains came out "almost completely with a simple wash" and that there was "minimal fading" after. This wallpaper comes in three colors, including white with black lining, navy blue with white lining, and a frost gray with white lining.

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray and stick
  • Size: 2.2 x 11 feet (24 square feet)
  • Material: Wood fiber based substrate

Price at time of publish: $150

Best Washable Wallpaper: Magnolia Home By Joanna Gaines Pick Up Sticks Spray and Stick Wallpaper

4.2
Magnolia Home By Joanna Gaines Pick Up Sticks Spray and Stick Wallpaper

Home Depot

Who it's for: People who are looking for wallpaper that would look good with farmhouse-style decor.

Who it isn't for: People who want wallpaper that won't leave a lot of air pockets after installation.

Fans of Joanna Gaines will enjoy this minimalist wallpaper by the design powerhouse. This Magnolia Home wallpaper features a simplistic design that will blend in well with a wide variety of decor styles, from farmhouse to mid-century modern as well as boho. It comes in four colors, including white and black, blue and white, white and gray, and white and a light army green. The wallpaper is made of a matte that our tester said felt good to the touch and was "thick enough not to rip." The application type is spray and stick, which worked well for the most part when we tested it but did leave some air pockets after that we had to smooth out.

What stood out about this wallpaper was how easy it was to wash. We were able to get all of our stains out with a simple wash using water and a cloth, as well as a magic eraser. And after cleaning, we noticed that there was no leaking, staining, or tearing.

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray & stick, washable
  • Size: 1.7 x 33 feet (56 square feet)
  • Material: Paper

Price at time of publish: $116

Best Spray & Stick Wallpaper: York Wallcoverings Nautical Living Wallpaper

4.4
York Wallcoverings Nautical Living

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a water-resistant wallpaper.

Who it isn't for: People who want a bold wallpaper pattern.

The worst part about owning wallpaper is having to go through the process of installation. Luckily, this wallpaper from York Wallcoverings proved to be the exact opposite. This can be attributed to the application type, as well as the design of the wallpaper. Our tester told us that applying this spray & stick wallpaper was definitely way less messy than other wallpapers we tested that required glue to be hung. The wallpaper was also so easy to line up because there was no pattern to match.

The Nautical Living wallpaper comes in three colors, including a beige, taupe, or faded denim blue. Any of these choices would work perfectly in a coastal decor-style home, or for people who want to keep their walls neutral in color. The material is thick and water-resistant, so you can put it in your kitchen and bathroom. Its water-resistance is what made it easy to clean the glue residue from the backing. Plus, after the cleaning, there were no stains or bleeding on the paper.

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray & stick, washable
  • Size: 1.7 x 33 feet (56 square feet)
  • Material: Textured paper

Price at time of publish: $116

Final Verdict

Overall, we recommend the Serena & Lily Priano Wallpaper for its beautiful pattern, the quality of the paper, the ease of application, and the fact that we were able to clean all of our stains off without damage to the wallpaper.

Our Testing Process

We tested 30 different wallpapers in our Lab and assessed them based on ease of application, design, durability, and value. Our first test involved evaluating the paper based on its quality. We did this by noting the feel of the paper and whether it felt thick or flimsy, then looked closely at the pattern to see if it was clear (aka not pixelated) both close and far away. We then cut the strips of the wallpaper as needed and noted if the paper curled after cutting and if we had trouble lying the paper flat as we pasted. In the middle of our application, we evaluated how easy it was to install the wallpaper. This included how easy it was to line up the pattern and whether or not it was challenging to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles that came up on the paper.

After we waited for the wallpaper to dry, we applied stains, including coffee, crayons, and barbecue, to see how easy it was to clean off any messes. We noted if the stains seeped into the paper or repelled and then proceeded to follow the manufacturer's instructions for removal. We used magic erasers, a damp cloth, and mild detergent to remove the stains, and evaluated the effectiveness of the tools , and whether or not they caused damage such as faded colors and water stains. We used all this information to come up with the best wallpaper.

How to Shop for Wallpaper Like a Pro

Material

All wallpaper is, of course, made of paper, but it's the type that matters. Sandall recommends figuring out where the wallpaper will go in your home first before making a decision about type. "Think about the kind of wear and tear that will happen in the space," she says. "For example, if the paper is going in a kitchen or bathroom where there will be moisture, vinyl paper is a better choice. Same goes perhaps for a kid's room or a wall that is going to be touched a lot."

Lee agrees: "Vinyl [wallpaper] is the most functional wallpaper material due to its durability." This durability can be attributed to its plastic-like material, which makes it thick and water-resistant, and therefore easier to clean. The only downside, and something we discovered in our testing, is that because vinyl is so thick, it's harder to cut.

If you're in love with a wallpaper that isn't vinyl, that's OK—Sandall just recommends putting it in a room that doesn't get a lot of traffic (e.g. where hands are less likely to touch it). Even if you don't plan on putting your intended wallpaper in busy or moist areas of your home, it's always best to stick to wallpaper that is thick in feel, and if possible, treated to be resistant to mold and mildew.

Application Type

There are three wallpaper application types that you should be aware of: peel and stick, spray and stick, and unpasted. Spray and stick is one of the easier application types, as all it requires is water to activate the adhesive. Peel and stick also has the adhesive included on the wallpaper, so all you have to do is remove the backing and stick it to the wall, like a sticker. Unpasted means that there is no adhesive that is attached to the wallpaper, so you'll have to buy wallpaper paste separately. Before you select an application type, Sandall strongly recommends researching exactly what the paper of that application type requires. "For example, many high-end papers require wallpaper liner! Skip this step and your pricey paper won't adhere properly."

Design

First and foremost, the design of the wallpaper you choose should be something you absolutely love. "Wallpaper is a pretty permanent thing," says Gray. "You want to take your time and be intentional about your selection," she says. She also encourages people to ask themselves this: "Will it [the wallpaper] go with any decor changes you may make later in your home?"

If you aren't sure where to start design-wise, Gray suggests creating an inspiration board to help steer you to what styles and patterns you like. "I would recommend heading to sites like Pinterest to pin pictures that attract you," she says. "I would then study those pictures for a common theme; black and white, florals, stripes, etc. Then gather several wallpaper samples that fit in that theme and pin them to your walls for several days before making a final decision." Even if you have a better understanding of your style, or know exactly what you want, Gray still recommends getting samples and living with them in your home for at least a few days before committing.

Your wallpaper should also match the rest of your home's decor style. What people often do to incorporate a bold wallpaper pattern into their home is by decorating one wall with it, instead of all a room's walls. This is referred to as an accent wall. An accent wall with wallpaper allows you to add a bold pattern to your space without being overwhelmed by it.

Lee actually advises people to do an accent wall versus covering an entire room or living space with one wallpaper, as that ensures a more modern design. She also tells us that the color of your wallpaper can have an affect on the perceived size of the space. If you're working with a small space, she recommends choosing lighter colors to make the space seem larger. On the flipside, wallpaper that contains nothing but bold colors is best for spaces that are more significant in size.

More Wallpaper to Consider

Printfresh Antelope Garden Wallpaper: We loved the festive design of this wallpaper and how easy it was to clean, since we were able to get out all of the stains without any color fading or water marks. However, the paper is so delicate that we had to really work to make sure that it didn't tear or rip while applying it.

Lulu and Georgia Malou Wallpaper by Malene Barnett: This funky wallpaper creates an illusion of texture that we think adds a nice level of dimensions to walls. During testing, we found the paper to be thick and sturdy, and "easy to work with" during application. Our tester told us, though, that because there are no gridlines, lining up the pattern "was so complicated that it took a while to find a repeat."

Questions You Might Ask

How do you figure out how much wallpaper you need?

Measure your wall out and then compare that with the measurements of the roll to see if the roll will provide you the amount you need. Another way you can calculate is by using square footage. You can do this by multiplying the length of the wall by the width of the wall you intend to cover with wallpaper. Usually manufacturers list how much square footage one roll can cover. You then take your square footage and divide it by the square footage listed for each roll. The result will tell you how many rolls you need for your wallpaper project.

Both Gray and Sandall recommend buying more than the exact amount you think you need, which will help you account for any mistakes you might make in the process. Gray suggests adding 10 percent more to your order. Sandall recommends going the extra mile and consulting with a wallpaper installer exactly how much you'll need. Doing this will not only help you save money but also make your wallpaper installation potentially less stressful. "They might charge a small fee for this, but it would be invaluable to get professional advice on quantities and installation requirements," she says.

If you don't have the extra cash to seek that kind of professional expertise, both interior designers suggested taking advantage of a wallpaper calculator, which is oftentimes a free feature that can be found on the website of the wallpaper retailer.

How do you hang wallpaper?

Before we advise you on how to hang wallpaper, it's worth noting that each of our interior designers were very vocal about hiring a wallpaper installer to do the hanging for you. "Wallpaper is expensive and very tough to install," Gray tells us. "I recommend hiring a professional to do it right the first time." Sandall couldn't agree more: "I would be doing a tremendous disservice if I didn't recommend hiring a pro to handle the installation," she says. "A quality wallpaper installer is worth every penny of the price you'll pay for their expertise." However, if you can't afford it, Sandall, who told us she has hung wallpaper on her own a couple of times, called installation a "challenging, but not impossible DIY project."

Installation largely depends on the wallpaper type. Whether you're getting peel and stick, unpasted, or spray and stick wallpaper, there are still steps you need to complete ahead of time to ensure the best application on your walls. First, your walls need to be clean and completely smooth. Any holes or pores will show up on the wallpaper once it's up. After you wash and dry your walls, spackle up the holes and apply a wallpaper primer or liner, or both, ahead of time.

Then, cut the wallpaper the length of your ceiling, leaving four additional inches to extend past the wall. Apply the paste to the back of the wallpaper, then apply it to the wall. Sandall recommends wiping any excess paste that comes through the edges of the wallpaper fast, as the glue has a tendency to dry quickly. Work from either right to left or left to right to ensure any patterns line up correctly. Smooth up bubbles and wrinkles with a paint roller and cut any excess with a utility knife.

Although unpasted wallpaper may sound like the most unappealing application method, Sandall told us she prefers it to the soaking method, as long as you get a good wallpaper paste. "It's kind of gooey but it allows you to move the paper around on the wall for a perfect match," she says.

How do you remove wallpaper?

Unless you have wallpaper that is marked as "removable," your wallpaper will not come off your walls easily. Traditional wallpaper sticks to walls so effectively that when it's time to remove it, the wallpaper is usually too damaged to use again. To remove wallpaper, mix equal parts vinegar and water, pour it into a spray bottle, and very generously spray your walls. Wait a few minutes and start to scrape the wallpaper off with your scraper. It's as simple as that.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Center, a product reviews home writer for Real Simple. We researched the best wallpaper and tested 30 of the most popular in our Lab, evaluating them on durability, design, ease of application, and value. We also spoke to three interior designers to get their advice on how to choose the best wallpaper, including Pamela Sandall, founder of Pamela Sandall Design, Victoria Lee, owner and principal designer of Victoria Lee Interiors, and Rasheeda Gray, founder and lead designer of Gray Space Interiors.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if Purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. If that's the case, we test the product just like we test anything we buy, but we also disclose that we received it for free to be as transparent with you as possible.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

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