Can You Use Wallpaper as a Backsplash?

Using wallpaper as a backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom can add a fun, decorative touch. With so many wallpaper designs and materials available today, it’s become a popular DIY project. Here’s what you need to know about using wallpaper as a backsplash.

What to Consider Before Using Wallpaper as a Backsplash

When deciding whether wallpaper is right for your backsplash, keep these factors in mind:

Water Resistance

Since the backsplash is an area that tends to get wet, water-resistant wallpaper is a must. Look for vinyl-coated paper or other waterproof materials. Avoid regular paper wallpaper, which will deteriorate quickly.


The backsplash endures a lot of splatters and smears. Choose wallpaper that can be easily wiped clean without damage. Glossy finishes clean better than textured or matte papers.


Kitchen and bathroom backsplashes take abuse from knives, pans, cleaners, and more. Opt for commercial-grade wallpaper designed to withstand wear and tear. Avoid delicate papers prone to ripping or peeling.

Style Suitability

Make sure wallpaper patterns and colors suit the room’s overall style. Busy backsplash prints can compete with ornate cabinetry or dramatic accents. Simple tiles may match a minimalist aesthetic better.

Wallpaper Options for Backsplashes

Once you decide wallpaper works for your space, explore these popular options:

Removable Peel-and-Stick

Removable peel-and-stick wallpaper is a temporary and reversible choice. Thick, opaque vinyl coatings provide waterproofing. Peel it off later for fresh wallpaper or tiles.

Pre-pasted Wallpaper

Pre-pasted wallpaper is coated with an adhesive activated by water. While not always completely waterproof, many designs work well behind a stove or sink when professionally installed.

Commercial-Grade Vinyl

Thicker vinyl papers offer maximum durability and water resistance. Look for types rated for high-moisture areas. Installation is more complex than peel-and-stick but provides a permanent finish.

Liquid Wallpaper

Liquid wallpaper applied in layers resembles paint. The acrylic-based material resists moisture. Choose a satin or semi-gloss sheen for wipeable surfaces. Remove layers later for a change.

Mylar Wallpaper

Flashy, reflective mylar wallpaper adds metallic accents. The flexible, paper-backed plastic film holds up well to humidity. Use it full height or as an accent border.

How to Install Wallpaper Backsplash

Installing wallpaper on a backsplash takes precision but is doable for a motivated DIYer. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Remove existing backsplash wallpaper or tile. Fill any holes and sand bumps for a smooth surface. Prime and paint. Let dry completely.

Step 2: Plan Your Layout

Measure the space and determine the wallpaper layout to minimize seams. Account for pattern size and repeat. Allow excess for trimming.

Step 3: Apply Adhesive

Cover the backsplash surface with wallpaper adhesive using a paint roller or adhesive spreader. Follow product directions carefully.

Step 4: Hang the Wallpaper

Measure and cut paper to size. Unroll onto adhesive, smoothing carefully to eliminate air bubbles. Use a taping knife on seams.

Step 5: Seal and Trim

Once wallpaper is securely adhered, use a clear sealer designed for wallpaper around all edges to protect from moisture seeping underneath. Trim excess paper with a utility knife.

Wallpaper Backsplash Maintenance Tips

Caring for your new wallpaper backsplash properly will keep it looking fresh:

  • Wipe spills quickly with a clean, damp cloth to prevent stains. Avoid abrasive scrubbing.
  • Check for loose edges or peeled spots. Reseal or smooth with adhesive.
  • Use gentle cleaners and avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the wallpaper.
  • Limit direct sunlight exposure which can fade colors over time.
  • Take care not to nick wallpaper when cleaning the counter or using knives.
  • Consider resealing around the edges every year or two to prevent water creeping in.

Pros and Cons of Wallpaper Backsplashes

Wallpaper offers a few advantages over traditional backsplash tile:


  • More affordable than ceramic or glass tile
  • Endless pattern, color and texture options
  • Easier DIY installation than tile
  • Removable peel-and-stick options available
  • Can cover flaws and damage on underlying walls


  • Not as durable or waterproof as actual tile
  • Risk of peeling, staining, or fading over time
  • Limited scrubbing and cleaning ability
  • Grout provides added moisture resistance

So can you use wallpaper as a backsplash? With the right wallpaper choice and careful installation, wallpaper can provide a budget-friendly alternative to pricey tile. Just be sure it has adequate waterproofing for the high-moisture location. Properly maintained, wallpaper backsplashes inject personalized style into kitchens and baths.

Common Questions about Wallpaper Backsplashes

Is it OK to put wallpaper behind a stove?

Yes, moisture-resistant vinyl wallpaper properly adhered to the wall can safely go behind a stove. Avoid regular paper and use heat-safe wallpaper adhesive. Maintain a safe distance from the stove.

Can you apply wallpaper over existing tile?

It’s not recommended. The textured surface of the grout lines will likely cause the wallpaper to appear uneven and air bubbles will be hard to remove. Remove existing tile before wallpapering.

What’s the best wallpaper for bathrooms?

In bathrooms, look for mildew-resistant vinyl wallpaper made specifically for high-humidity areas. Avoid paper, which will deteriorate rapidly. Ensure proper ventilation to reduce moisture buildup behind wallpaper.

Is it easier to apply wallpaper vertically or horizontally?

For backsplashes, vertical application minimizes seams and keeps pattern motifs uniform. Horizontal strips create more seams vulnerable to moisture damage. Measure carefully to determine the best orientation.


While wallpaper requires careful selection and installation, it can provide a stylish, artistic backsplash in kitchens and bathrooms. Choose waterproof, cleanable papers suited for heavy use. With proper maintenance and moisture precautions, wallpaper backsplashes inject personal creativity into the heart of the home. Consider removable options to change up the look periodically. For an eye-catching, affordable alternative to tile, try wallpapering your backsplash.