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To strip off your old wallpaper or to paste new over the top? That is the question…

Should it stay or should it go?

In two weeks time, our household will face a potentially life-changing decision. Like millions of others up and down the UK, we’ll have to choose between stripping away the past, or leaving a significant part of it in place as a basis for a brighter future.

That’s right, like millions of other households all over the UK, we’re going to be wallpapering. And like many British DIY-ers, we’re faced with a stark choice: Strip off the old wallpaper and start from scratch, or leave the old paper as a base and paper over the top?


The decorating internet is divided into two camps. The STAY side argues that we risk damaging the wall if we strip away the existing paper, gouging holes in the plaster that will need to be patched up, and that we’ll spend much more money in the short term. “What kind of a state will the wall be in underneath anyway?” ask the STAYers?

The GO side argues that this is just scaremongering, and that we started with bare walls all those years ago, and we’ll be better off completely getting rid of the wallpaper the previous regime put up so we can once again reclaim the walls as our own.

Many professional decorators support the GO camp, arguing that one wallpaper is all a wall needs. STAYers argue this is self interest on the part of the decorators, who believe stripping the old wallpaper is a waste of money.

Away from the spin and the tub-thumping, the expert source wallpaperdirect offers excellent, impartial advice as follows…

Strip the existing wallpaper if:

1. It is damaged or you think you’ll see the old joins under the new wallpaper. 2. You think the wall is in good condition underneath. 3. You can be bothered (Rome wasn’t built in a day).

Leave the wallpaper if:

1. It’s in good condition and you don’t think the joins will show through. 2. You think the wall could be in bad condition underneath. 3. You can’t be bothered (Rome wasn’t built in a day).

And of course if you do strip it all away and start from nothing, remember the very best thing new wallpaper can stick to is lining paper. Which is a bit like old wallpaper…

Still confused?

See our how to videos to find out how to strip wallpaper, how to hang lining paper, and how to hang wallpaper.


Now I’m sure something else is happening in two week’s time…?

Ever-closer union…




Fishing quotas…


Trade tariffs…


Pet passports…




Farm subsidies…


More like this…

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