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Wallpaper is Making a Comeback But Is the Trend Worth the Cost?

Jun 25, 2020 by Liz Brumer

Making your home stand out while staying on-trend at an affordable price is every homeowner and investor's goal. Wallcoverings -- including wallpaper, paint, tile, paneling, and more -- account for nearly $30 billion in annual sales, with North America being the largest consumer.

While traditional wall coverings like paint and tile will continue to hold strong as a worthwhile investment in a home, wallpaper has made a huge comeback over the past several years as a quick, affordable, trendy decor option for creating a statement wall or making a room pop.

But just because something is trending doesn't mean it's a good investment. Weigh the pros and cons of having wallpaper in your home to determine whether it's the right decor for your home or next flip.

Wallpaper is making a comeback

Wallpaper designs of today are not the floral or farmhouse look of the '80s and '90s. Bright colors, bold patterns, and funky designs are on-trend as a fun way to make a piece of furniture pop, brighten up a wall, or cover an entire space. While wallpaper is by no means a new design option, the unique, fun patterns and textures being offered today are appealing to some prospective buyers.

There are permanent and semipermanent options. Permanent wallpaper is a bit of a process to stick on the walls and requires a lot more effort to remove should the need arise. Temporary wallpaper, which is used with a slightly less sticky adhesive, allows you to add a fun or trending pattern while still being able to remove it when the trend fades or its time to sell. But at $30 per roll, peel-and-stick temporary wallpaper may not fit everyone's budget.

While it may be trending, it's unlikely to hold value in the long run

If you're looking at this update for anything other than your own personal enjoyment, you may want to reconsider. Even if the prospective buyers are wallpaper aficionados, there are so many personalized options that your lovely flamingo print paper may not be the look they're envisioning.

If your style doesn't turn them off completely, it will still mean off with the old and on with the new. Even if you select wallpaper that's trending, that doesn't mean that every person likes that trend. That's like saying everyone agrees that midcentury modern is the look to have.

Wallpaper can take a lot of time and effort to remove, and many potential buyers might prefer to skip the hassle. If they aren't up to spending several days removing it themselves, it will likely cost them around $750 to have a professional take it off. And then they still have to repair and then re-cover the walls afterward.

Other options for decorating your home that hold more value

Making a statement can pay off if you keep it welcoming and neutral so that prospective buyers who enter can easily envision living there. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, staging a house for sale can increase the dollar value a seller receives, decrease the days on market, and increase the offer price. Stick with neutral, on-trend colors for flooring, paint, and tile while adding accent pieces in the form of lighting, furniture, and decor that can be more easily changed out to a buyer's personal preference.

If you're going to be living there a while but are anticipating a move down the road, you might consider temporary wallpaper, which is much easier to remove. That way you can enjoy the look, and then, when it does come time to list the house, you can easily remove it yourself.

Remember that the goal for making sound investments is that they will appeal not only to you but to future owners as well. Keeping a clean, universal look, and focusing your efforts on proven, solid returns on investment will help your dollars go further.

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