When I was a kid, my grandmother lived in the sweetest 1940’s bungalow and every single room, including the sun porch and pantry, was covered from top to bottom with wallpaper! From lush florals, to rosy pink stripes, to Nordic tile designs, I loved every square inch of it!
Today, I don’t think I would be near as excited to have every wall plastered with so many colors and patterns. And I know potential buyers won’t be, either.
While wallpaper has definitely been making a comeback, the problem is that most wallpaper styles are very design specific. That fact alone is almost always going to ensure that wallpaper is going to be viewed as dated and typically not something a new homeowner is going to want to live with.
The advice I gave about selling a home with wallpaper well-over a decade ago still holds true today. Should you try to sell a home with walls that have been papered? That all depends on the wallpaper design, your price point, and how many rooms.
Ideally, removing the wallpaper is always the best solution. But I do realize that some homeowners don’t want to do that for a couple of reasons.
1) There is an emotional attachment to the wallpaper.
2) It’s a lot of work and can be expensive to remove.
But those two reasons are exactly why it should be removed!
1) You can’t take it with you!
2) Guess what? Potential buyers see removing wallpaper as a labor intensive and pricey project to tackle, too. So getting rid of it really is your best option.
In some cases, if the wallpaper is neutral…as in, a tone-on-tone pattern or simply a textured pattern…it’s not the worse thing in the world. As long as it’s in good condition, not peeling at the seams, not a bright color or busy pattern, and has not taken over every room of the house.
And depending on the price-point of the listing, I still recommend painting over it in some cases. Do keep in mind that someone looking at a $500K home is not going to take kindly to wallpaper that’s been painted, however. Also remember that painting over wallpaper is not like painting over drywall. Besides proper prep work, you can’t slap on paint like you’re white washing a fence! Too wet and that wallpaper you didn’t want to take off to begin with is going to start peeling off on it’s own, and you’re going to have a very big mess on your hands and end up removing it anyway!
But there are also a couple of staging tricks to downplay wallpaper if you decide not to remove it. If the pattern is bright, busy, or both, get rid of all the artwork on the walls which will clash and make it stand out even more. Opt instead for plain-framed mirrors, or try moving a large piece of furniture to block some of the pattern on the largest part of the wall, like a glass cupboard in a dining room. You aren’t actually hiding it since it’s probably everywhere else in the room too, but it will tone it down somewhat and not make it the first thing that pops right out at you when you enter.
While you do have a few options when it comes to selling a house with wallpaper, the best solution is still removing it altogether to ensure that wallpaper doesn’t come between you and a solid offer.