Can You Use Wallpaper As A Kitchen Backsplash?
Wallpaper is a versatile and stylish material that can be used to add a touch of personality to any room in your home. While most people tend to think of wallpaper as a decorative element for walls, it can also be used as a backsplash in your kitchen.
In this post, I’ll explore the pros and cons of using wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash and provide tips for ensuring that your wallpaper backsplash looks great and lasts for years to come.
Let’s get into it!
Can You Use Wallpaper As A Kitchen Backsplash?
Yes, you can use wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash (splashback). However, it’s important to choose a durable, moisture-resistant wallpaper and properly seal the edges to prevent moisture from seeping behind the wallpaper. It’s also recommended to opt for a low-maintenance wallpaper that is easy to clean and maintain.
Additional protection (such as clear tempered glass) may be required if you intend to place the wallpaper behind an open flamed cooktop (hob) or range as it may be a flammable material.
However, if you’re getting bored of the classic subway tile or brick look as a kitchen backsplash and want to add a bit more interest and personality then using an appropriate wallpaper could be just the thing you’re looking for.
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What type of wallpaper is best for A kitchen backsplash?
The best type of wallpaper for a kitchen backsplash will depend on your specific needs and preferences, but here are a few options to consider:
- Vinyl wallpaper. Vinyl wallpaper is moisture-resistant and easy to clean, making it an ideal choice for a kitchen backsplash. Some vinyl wallpapers are specifically designed for use in kitchens and bathrooms and can be wiped down with a damp cloth if they get dirty.
- Washable wallpaper. Washable wallpaper is another option for a kitchen backsplash, as it can be easily cleaned if it gets stained or dirty. This type of wallpaper is often made from vinyl or similar material that is resistant to moisture and stains.
- Foil wallpaper. Foil wallpaper is a type of metallic wallpaper that is moisture-resistant and can be used as a kitchen backsplash. Foil wallpaper is easy to clean and is available in a range of colours and patterns. So you can choose an option that complements the style of your kitchen.
- Textured wallpaper. Textured wallpaper can add interest and texture to a kitchen backsplash. It is available in a range of materials, including vinyl and washable wallpaper. Some textured wallpapers are specifically designed for use in kitchens and bathrooms and are moisture-resistant.
It’s important to choose a wallpaper that is heat-resistant as it will likely be in close proximity to your cooktop. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation to ensure that the wallpaper stays in place and doesn’t peel or bubble.
Additionally, you should consider the colour and pattern of the wallpaper, as well as the overall style of your kitchen, when making your choice.
Pros of using wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash
- Versatility. Wallpaper comes in a wide range of colours, patterns, and textures, so it’s easy to find a design that complements your kitchen décor. Whether you prefer a bold, graphic pattern or a more subtle, textured design, you’re sure to find a wallpaper that works for your space.
- Durability. Wallpaper is a relatively durable material that can withstand the wear and tear of a busy kitchen. If you choose a vinyl or washable wallpaper, you can easily wipe down the surface if it gets dirty or stained. Which is pretty essential for a kitchen backsplash.
- Cost-effective. Compared to other kitchen backsplash materials like tile or glass, wallpaper is relatively inexpensive. This makes it a budget-friendly option for those who want to add a decorative touch to their kitchen without breaking the bank.
- Easy installation. Installing wallpaper is a relatively simple DIY project that can be completed by most DIYers in a weekend. Unlike tile or glass, wallpaper doesn’t require any special tools or skills. You can save money on installation costs and do it yourself.
Cons of using wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash:
- Not heat-resistant. While wallpaper is a durable material, it’s not completely heat-resistant. Additional care and attention may be needed, especially if you use a gas cooktop with an open flame. Make sure the cooktop has enough separation behind it between any flames and the wallpapered wall. You may need additional protection such as a piece of clear tempered glass.
- Can be difficult to replace. Unlike tile or glass, wallpaper can be difficult to replace if it becomes damaged or outdated. If you choose to install wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash, it’s important to consider the long-term impact and make sure that you’ll be happy with the design for years to come.
- Not as moisture-resistant as tile or glass. While wallpaper is relatively durable, it’s not as moisture-resistant as tile or glass. If you live in a high-humidity area, you may need to take extra precautions to prevent moisture from seeping behind the wallpaper and causing damage to the wall behind it.
Tips for installing wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash:
- Choose the right wallpaper. When choosing a wallpaper for your kitchen backsplash, be sure to select a vinyl or washable option that’s specifically designed for use in kitchens and bathrooms. This will ensure that the material can withstand the wear and tear of a busy kitchen and that it’s easy to clean.
- Prepare the surface. Before installing the wallpaper, be sure to clean the surface of the wall behind it and remove any old adhesive residue. This will help ensure that the wallpaper adheres properly and lasts for years to come.
- Measure and cut the wallpaper. Before installing the wallpaper, measure and cut the pieces to fit the area behind your stove, sink, and countertops. This will ensure a clean, seamless look that looks great and lasts for years to come.
- Applying adhesive. Apply a wallpaper adhesive to the back of the wallpaper, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to apply enough adhesive to the entire back of the wallpaper.
- Hanging the wallpaper. Carefully align the wallpaper with the wall and smooth it down, working from the centre outwards to remove any air bubbles. Use a wallpaper smoothing tool to eliminate any bubbles and wrinkles.
- Trimming the edges. Trim the excess wallpaper along the edges of the wall with a sharp blade or scissors.
- Sealing the edges. To prevent moisture from seeping behind the wallpaper, it’s important to seal the edges near the sink or stove with caulk or silicone sealant.
By following these steps, you can install wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash successfully and enjoy a fresh, new look in your kitchen.
Can you put glass over wallpaper in a kitchen to protect it?
Yes, you can put glass over wallpaper in a kitchen to protect it. Installing a glass backsplash over wallpaper is a great way to protect the wallpaper from heat, moisture, grease, and food splatters. The glass will act as a barrier, keeping the wallpaper clean and protected.
Make sure to choose tempered glass that is thick enough to withstand daily use in the kitchen. It will not only be heat resistant but it will be easier to clean and will be less susceptible to scratches. Avoid using acrylic or plexiglass as this will not be able to withstand high heat from your cooktop and will also scratch easier.
It’s important to keep in mind that installing glass over wallpaper may make it more difficult to access the wallpaper for maintenance or repairs in the future. However, if you properly seal the edges of the glass and keep it clean, the wallpaper should last well.
Is it safe to use wallpaper in the kitchen?
Yes, it is generally safe to use wallpaper in the kitchen, as long as you take a few precautions. Here are some things to consider:
- Heat resistance. Some types of wallpaper can be affected by heat. If you intend to place wallpaper behind your cooktop (especially if it’s a gas cooktop), it’s important to choose a heat-resistant wallpaper and have a good amount of space between any open flame and the wallpaper. You may also need to install additional protection in this area, such as a piece of clear tempered glass.
- Moisture resistance. Kitchen backsplashes are exposed to moisture, splashes, and spills. So it’s important to choose a moisture-resistant wallpaper, especially in areas near the sink or stove. You can find wallpaper specifically designed for use in kitchens and bathrooms that are more resistant to moisture.
- Cleaning. Kitchen wallpaper can get dirty and stained over time, so it’s important to choose a wallpaper that can be easily cleaned. Vinyl and washable wallpapers are ideal for kitchens, as they can be wiped down with a damp cloth if they get dirty.
- Adhesion. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for hanging the wallpaper and to use a wallpaper paste that is specifically designed for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Proper adhesion is crucial to ensure that the wallpaper stays in place and does not peel or bubble.
- Protect with tempered glass. Install a clear glass backsplash over the top of your wallpaper to help seal it and protect it from heat, splashes and scratches. This may be necessary around your cooktop (hob), especially if it has an open flame.
Using wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash can be a stylish and cost-effective way to update your kitchen. Choose a moisture-resistant and heat-resistant option, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
Do I need to varnish A wallpaper backsplash?
Varnishing a wallpaper backsplash is not necessary, but it can provide added protection against moisture and stains. A clear varnish can be applied to the wallpaper to create a protective barrier that helps to prevent spills and stains from penetrating the wallpaper.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that varnish may yellow over time and can make the wallpaper look darker or discoloured.
Additionally, some types of wallpaper may not be compatible with varnish, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before applying varnish to your wallpaper backsplash.
If you’re looking for added protection for your wallpaper backsplash, there are other options to consider, such as applying a clear waterproofing spray or sealing the edges of the wallpaper with caulk or silicone.
Can you use peel-and-stick wallpaper for a kitchen backsplash?
Yes, you can use peel-and-stick wallpaper for a kitchen backsplash.
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a popular option for kitchen backsplashes because it is easy to install and can be removed without damaging the wall. Perfect for renters and rental properties or those who simply want removable wallpaper.
Here are some of the benefits of using peel-and-stick wallpaper for a kitchen backsplash:
- Easy installation. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is simple to install, as you just need to peel off the backing paper and stick it to the wall. This makes it an ideal option for DIYers and those who want to update their kitchen quickly and easily.
- No mess. Unlike traditional wallpaper, peel-and-stick wallpaper doesn’t require any glue or paste. So there’s no mess to clean up after installation.
- Temporary. Peel and stick wallpaper can be removed without damaging the wall. So you can change the look of your kitchen without having to repaint or make any permanent changes.
- Budget-friendly. Peel and stick wallpaper is often less expensive than traditional wallpaper or other kitchen backsplash materials. Making it a budget-friendly option for those who want to update their kitchen.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that peel-and-stick wallpaper may not be as durable as traditional wallpaper or other kitchen backsplash materials, especially if it is exposed to heat or moisture.
Before installing peel-and-stick wallpaper in your kitchen, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Choose a high-quality product that is specifically designed for use in kitchens or bathrooms.
There you have it!
Using wallpaper as a kitchen backsplash can add a touch of personality and style to your kitchen. With a wide range of colours, patterns, and textures available, it’s easy to find a design that complements your kitchen or home decor.
However, it’s important to choose a heat-resistant and moisture-resistant wallpaper. As well as follow proper installation techniques to ensure that the wallpaper lasts for years to come.
With these tips in mind, you can create a beautiful and functional kitchen backsplash using wallpaper.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.