The single most effective thing you can do to transform the look of a room is to change the colour on your walls. The colour or design on your walls can define the room – from light and airy to rich and cozy or from clean and modern to a classic period feel.  

Aside from choosing colour, one of the biggest decorating decisions to make is whether you use paint or wallpaper to create the look.

There are amazing ranges of both paint and wallpaper on the market, catering for all tastes. To help you understand the pros and cons of both, here are our Four P’s of Decorating: 

Preparation – Whether you decide to use paint or wallpaper, it is important that you do all of the necessary preparations. Depending on the condition of the surface you are painting, you may need to fill small holes with filler or plaster and smooth the walls down first. You may also need to apply a primer or mask off edges to ensure clean lines. In general paint does not require a lot of preparation and is relatively easy to apply. Wallpaper requires slightly more preparation - you need to carefully measure the amount needed and take into account things such as pattern repeats. You need to assess the obstacles on the wall that you will need to paper around, such as windows and sockets. As with paint you need to make sure that the walls are smooth and clean.

 Putting it on the wall – Applying wallpaper requires real skill. A number of steps forward in technology, such as ‘paste the wall’ rather than ‘paste the paper’ have made application easier than it used to be, but cutting and papering around windows, sockets and doors still requires skill. The skill only needs to be learnt once however! Paint is generally easier to apply and lends itself to use by DIY’ers – although if not prepared properly the end result could look a little ragged around the edges! Paints such as metallic effects also require a little more care on application.

Pattern – One area where wallpaper has the clear advantage is pattern. There are such an amazing range of geometric patterns, illustrations, period papers and modern effects that you really can achieve any look with wallpaper. It is of course possible to use paint to create pattern and the advantage of paint here is if you want to create your own design. You can decide the width of your stripes or the pattern repeat of your metallic stencil. It will take a little more time to create but the result will be unique. You can also buy patterned paint rollers which will create the wallpaper effect – check out the PatternPaintRollers shop on Etsy.

Price – There are paints and wallpapers out there now to suit most budgets and tastes. If you are looking for designer luxury you can spend upwards of £200 per roll of wallpaper, but if you are on a budget you can get some great papers for around £15-£20 per roll. Likewise with paint there are a range of paints out there to suit different price ranges, although budget paints tend to have a thinner consistency and are likely to need more coats to cover. You can get a great quality emulsion for between £20 - £25 per tin. One tin of paint covers approximately 30 square metres whereas one roll of wallpaper will cover around 5 square metres, so wallpaper tends to be more expensive than paint on the whole. 

Paint and wallpaper – a winning combination?

One way to get the best of both worlds is to pick a statement wallpaper and use this on one wall while painting the rest. Or pick a bold paint colour for one wall and a neutral patterned paper for the others. A combination of paint and wallpaper can give great results!