Wallpaper is not the obvious choice of decoration for most bathrooms, because the high humidity levels can cause paper to lift and peel. However, ff you decide to use wallpaper in your bathroom, there are a few things to bear in mind. Vinyl wallpaper has the benefit of being easy to wipe clean. However, water runs off the shiny surface, so if your bathroom is prone to condensation, it will be more obvious. Standard wallpaper isn’t so easy to clean, but won’t show up condensation droplets as much. However, it isn’t as durable as vinyl papers. The problems associated with condensation can be minimized if you ensure your bathroom has adequate ventilation.
If you’ve already got wallpaper on your bathroom walls, you will have to remove it first, as papering over it won’t work very well. It makes sense to strip your wallpaper before you install your new bathroom fixtures, so they don’t get covered in the mess. To strip wallpaper, pull away as much as you can while it’s dry. It’s often quite easy to remove the top layer in this way. To remove the backing paper underneath, soak it with hot water for a few minutes before using a scraper to peel it off the wall. If you have a lot of stripping to do, it might be quicker to use a wallpaper steam stripper, but if your bathroom is only small, this probably wouldn’t be an economical option.
To protect your new wallpaper and extend its life, you might be able to apply a coat of emulsion glaze or matt varnish over the top. Do a patch test first though, to make sure your particular wallpaper is suitable for this type of finish. If you plan on tiling an area of wall, extend the wallpaper slightly into this space, so you can tile over the edges and stop the paper from lifting. Where the wallpaper meets skirting board, applying silicone sealant in the join can help hold the paper down.