Should you put wallpaper in the kitchen? Experts share the do’s and don’ts

Are you wondering if wallpapering the kitchen is a good idea?

A kitchen with a wallpapered wall
(Image credit: Lucie Annabel)

Wallpaper is a popular form of wall covering, loved for its ability to easily inject colour and pattern into any home, even rentals as long as you choose the right type of wallpaper. But one area of the home that many are unsure about when it comes to wallpaper is the kitchen. Which begs the question – should you put wallpaper in the kitchen?

To answer this question, we’ve enlisted the help of both kitchen and wallpaper experts. But to put you out of your misery, you can use wallpaper in the kitchen, in fact there are many wonderful kitchen wallpaper ideas you could implement in your cooking space.

But that is only as long as you choose the appropriate kind of wallpaper and avoid certain critical areas which should ideally remain wallpaper-free.

LochAnna Handmade Newbridge range in Desert Pink & Indigo

(Image credit: LochAnna Kitchens)

Should you put wallpaper in the kitchen?

‘Using wallpaper in a kitchen adds a splash of personality and whimsy to the heart of the home, transforming it from a functional cooking space into one that better reflects the homeowner’s personality,’ says Dawn Filkins, head of creative at Smile Kitchens.

Hannah Swift, marketing manager of family-run wallpaper retailer, Beautiful Walls, agrees that wallpaper is the ideal kitchen wall decor idea, ‘Wallpaper is a great way to add character to your kitchen. The kitchen can often be quite a clinical space, focused more on functionality than looking great. Adding pattern and colour with a wallpaper is an easy way to soften the space and create more of a homely feel.’

Recently, we’ve seen more and more people decorating their kitchens and treating it like any other room in the house, much like Queer Eye’s Jeremiah Brent and his kitchen design trick. Meanwhile, in his recent London home renovation, Strictly’s Layton Williams wallpapered his kitchen ceiling.

A kitchen with a wallpapered wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

‘Whether aiming for a bold statement, a light and airy atmosphere, or a cosy retreat, wallpaper contributes texture and depth to achieve desired aesthetics, even creating the illusion of more space,’ says Sinead Trainor, kitchen category manager at LochAnna Kitchens. ‘Additionally, wallpaper can effectively camouflage imperfections on the walls, providing a cost-effective solution for renovation projects.’

The cost-effectiveness and easy removal is really the top benefit of wallpaper, besides its aesthetic appeal. ‘One of the advantages of wallpaper over other surfaces such as tiles is that it is easier to fit and remove, so you can change up the aesthetics of your kitchen much easier as and when you decide to refresh,’ says Richard Davonport, Managing Director at Davonport.

And if you don’t dare (or don’t feel like it) to wallpaper the whole kitchen, you can always just choose one section or a feature wall, much like in any other room.

Smile Kitchens Hampton in Duke

(Image credit: Smile Kitchens)

Where in the kitchen should you not put wallpaper?

As mentioned, there are some problematic areas of the kitchen that should be avoided when putting up wallpaper. The splashback is the prime example.

‘If you are wallpapering the vast majority of walls, you’ll still want to consider a tile splashback around key areas such as the hob and sink area as an added layer of protection,’ Richard says.

Chelsea Clark, head of marketing at Henderson Design Group, adds, ‘Avoid applying wallpaper to areas that experience direct contact with water, such as behind the hob or sink.’

A kitchen with a feature wallpaper wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

How to apply wallpaper in the kitchen

When hanging wallpaper in the kitchen, you need to start with perfectly clean walls, ‘Wallpaper installation requires meticulous preparation to ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish,’ Sinead says.

Chelsea continues with the next steps, ‘Apply wallpaper with an extra-strong adhesive to help keep it from lifting, and ensure the room is cool and well-ventilated before you start the application process.’

Regularly ventilation your kitchen and turning on the extraction fan will also help in prolonging the lifespan of your kitchen wallpaper.

Our favourite kitchen wallpapers


Which wallpaper is the most appropriate for kitchens?

Getting the right type of wallpaper for the kitchen is perhaps the most important part of the whole process. As not every wallpaper works in the kitchen.

‘Not all wallpaper is suitable for kitchens so you’ll need to make sure you shop around and find one that is. Kitchen wallpaper is washable and more durable and so can stand up to spills, splashes and cooking fumes better than non-specialist wallpaper,’ Richard says.

Hannah continues, ‘The best type of wallpaper for a kitchen is vinyl as it’s highly durable, washable and resistant to humidity. However, most wallpapers can be used somewhere in the kitchen, depending on where it is used. A less durable wallpaper will still be great in a kitchen as long as it’s away from direct heat and moisture, as an accent wall for example.’

LochAnna Kitchens Faversham range in Cashmere & Atlantic

(Image credit: LochAnna Kitchens)

Can you use peel and stick wallpaper in the kitchen?

If you’re a renter and you’re looking to overhaul your kitchen with wallpaper, then peel and stick wallpapers might be the right fit.

‘Peel and Stick wallpaper is a quick and easy way to update your kitchen without the mess and hassle that can come with traditional wallpapers. It also has the added benefit of being easy to remove without leaving any residue making it the perfect option for renters,’ Hannah concludes.

So don’t be afraid to wallpaper your kitchen – all the experts unanimously agree that it’s a great idea!

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.