Last updated: August 5, 2021

Interior architecture and design are your hobby? Would you like to spruce up your four walls and give them a new design? The photo wallpaper is exactly what you are looking for.

Whether you like classic designs, private holiday memories or eye-catching eye-catchers, with photo wallpaper you can integrate it all into your home. But how do I apply the photo wallpaper and which material is the right one?

For tips and tricks on how to apply the wallpaper, the resolution and the dimensions of the perfect photo wallpaper, see our photo wallpaper test 2021. In addition, we will help you choose between the different photo wallpapers made of paper, non-woven, satin and self-adhesive wallpapers and present you with the latest and most stylish photo wallpapers the market has to offer.




Summary

  • Photo wallpapers are a very beautiful accessory for interiors. In the meantime, the design can be individually created and adapted.
  • Depending on the intended use and processing of the material, a distinction is made between photo wallpapers made of non-woven or paper.
  • Non-woven photo wallpapers are recommended because they are of higher quality and easier to apply to the wall. Photo wallpapers are more delicate and often require a lot of patience.

The Best Photo Wallpaper: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a photo wallpaper

What does a photo wallpaper look like?

The classic photo wallpaper is usually an enlargement of a nature scene, a skyline, illustrations, classic art or eye-catching designs. Unlike the usual wall decoration in a picture frame, the photo wallpaper comes on several panels directly on the wall.

Photo wallpapers are now available in all colours, patterns and image variations. (Image source: unsplash.com / Anna Sullivan)

A photo wallpaper therefore differs from "usual" wallpapers basically only in the type of motif printed on it. In addition to the tried-and-tested off-the-shelf photo wallpapers, numerous manufacturers offer the option of having a self-made photo or drawing printed on a photo wallpaper.

The material, dimensions and colours of the photo wallpaper can be freely selected. Thanks to various wall designer tools that many photo wallpaper suppliers have integrated on their website, a snapshot or a self-photographed landscape shot, for example, can be inserted online, edited and commissioned as a freshly printed photo wallpaper.

How is a photo wallpaper applied to the wall?

Most photo wallpapers are easy to apply, even without a great deal of experience in craftsmanship.

What needs to be taken into account when applying the wallpaper varies depending on the material of the wallpaper. However, the following always applies: It is worth preparing the walls thoroughly before applying the photo wallpaper.

At best, the old wallpaper should be removed, remnants taken off, cracks repaired and unevenness evened out.

How much does photo wallpaper cost?

However, many still see the price as a major drawback of individual photo wallpaper. At around 30 euros per square metre, this form of wall design is not really cheap at first glance.

But if we take a closer look at the cost of a custom photo wallpaper and compare it with alternatives, we find that online suppliers offer the lowest prices on the market.

What material is a photo wallpaper made of?

A distinction is made between four different materials that photo wallpaper can be made of:

Paper photo wallpaper

A paper photo wallpaper is usually made of recycled paper with multiple prints on the surface. The paper wallpaper is the most original version of its kind, is glued with commercially available paste and is usually available in sets, i.e. as photo wallpaper in sheets or - less frequently - in squares.

Textile mural

Textile photo wallpaper has a coated surface made of textile fibres laminated on paper. It has a slightly three-dimensional effect and often has to be applied to the wall with special adhesive.

Vinyl photo wallpaper

A vinyl photo wallpaper consists of a carrier paper with a vinyl coating. Their PVC surface is abrasion-resistant. Practical: Vinyl photo wallpaper has a permanently adhesive polyacrylate coating, i.e. a self-adhesive backing, and is therefore particularly quick to apply.

Non-woven photo wallpaper

Non-woven photo wallpapers consist of cellulose and polyester fibres that are strengthened with binding agents. They are PVC-, solvent- and formaldehyde-free, can conceal small tears and are easy to wallpaper. The paste can be applied directly to the wall with a non-woven photo wallpaper.

Beautiful landscapes are particularly popular motifs for photo wallpapers, as are famous buildings, the car of your dreams or even flower meadows and forests. (Image source: unsplash.com / Victoria Borodinova)

Decision: What types of photo wallpapers are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four types of photo wallpaper:

  • Paper wallpaper
  • Satin wallpaper
  • Non-woven wallpaper
  • Self-adhesive wallpaper

Photo wallpapers offer you the opportunity to change your home without having to repaint your walls. With prefabricated models or individual wallpapers, you can give free rein to your creativity.

In the following section, we will take a closer look at the types of photo wallpapers mentioned above. With a list of advantages and disadvantages, we will try to help you make your decision.

What is paper wallpaper and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The simple paper wallpaper is the best-known variant. Since it has become possible to use your own patterns and photos for the design, this classic model is also enjoying new popularity.

Paper wallpaper is available in almost countless variations. Individualisation according to your own ideas is also no problem. Many wallpapers are made from recycled paper. In addition to being environmentally friendly, they are also breathable and moisture-regulating.

Advantages
  • Cost-effective
  • Environmentally friendly
Disadvantages
  • Bubble formation
  • Fast and precise work required

Attach them to the wall in the classic way with glue. Note, however, that due to their thinness, they should not be left to soak for too long.

You should also consider the condition of your wall when choosing a paper wallpaper. Bumps and other imperfections can show through. Prepare your wall accordingly before applying the wallpaper. If you are not quite sure, you can simply ask at a specialist shop.

What is satin wallpaper and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Satin wallpaper is also called vinyl wallpaper and has a very high-quality glossy surface. It is completely coated with PVC, which makes it not only very robust but also extremely light-resistant.

Advantages
  • Robust
  • Noble gloss
Disadvantages
  • Too massive for small rooms
  • Relatively expensive

Because the satin wallpaper looks very high-quality and heavy, you should be careful in small rooms. Otherwise there is a risk that everything will look very oppressive. If you still want to apply it, you should consider whether wallpapering one side of the wall would be sufficient.

In contrast to paper wallpaper, satin wallpaper is easier to apply. Thanks to its robustness, it does not tear as easily. Also make sure that the adhesive does not protrude at the edges. In the worst case, you could destroy the beautiful glossy surface.

What is non-woven wallpaper and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This type of wallpaper is becoming more and more popular. Up to 80% natural materials are used in the production of non-woven wallpaper. By combining long-fibre special fabrics and textile fibres with binding agents, it is possible to attach the wallpaper to the wall without time-consuming soaking.

Advantages
  • Easy handling
  • Fast working
  • Easy removal
Disadvantages
  • Bubble formation

With this version, you don't paint the wallpaper strips as usual, but directly onto the wall. This eliminates the annoying soaking time and protruding ends can simply be cut off after application.

It is also well suited to concealing small irregularities in the wall. Removing this wallpaper is also very easy. If you no longer like it, you can simply peel it off the wall.

What is self-adhesive wallpaper and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Self-adhesive wallpaper is also very easy to apply. It is particularly suitable for smooth surfaces. You can apply it not only to walls, but also to doors or pieces of furniture.

Advantages
  • Easy handling
  • No glue necessary
Disadvantages
  • Bubble formation

You don't need any glue here because the wallpaper can be attached directly. As with any wallpaper, prepare the wall before applying it. Also, don't peel off all the protective film straight away. Work piece by piece to avoid air pockets as far as possible.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate photo wallpapers

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate photo wallpapers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain wallpaper is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Dimensions
  • Material
  • Design

In the following sections you can read about the individual buying criteria and how you can understand them.

Dimensions

Depending on the size of the area that the wallpaper is to cover, the dimensions must be calculated precisely.

With some online suppliers, the measurements can be customised. In this case, it is best to allow a few extra cm. It is easier if the wallpaper is too large than too small.

Therefore, it is also advisable to choose a photo motif that has shifted its main message in the middle of the photo wallpaper, so that a loss of minimal edge distance does not affect the image.

With some suppliers, however, the dimensions are also predefined at certain distances. Here, too, it is better to use larger dimensions if you are unsure whether smaller dimensions are sufficient.

Material

A very decisive point when buying wallpaper is the material. The material determines the photo quality, the durability and the attachment to the wall.

The usual paper photo wallpapers are difficult to apply to the wall. Particular care should be taken here, as wrinkles or bubbles often form during application.

In contrast, sellers offer wallpapers made of fleece. The difference here is that fleece does not soften and disintegrate in water. It is more dimensionally stable, can be removed dry and is easier to apply. However, it is also more expensive.

Design

The market now offers a wide range of different designs that are suitable for all rooms.

It is possible to choose an individual photo and send it to be processed into wallpaper. It is important that this photo is of very good quality.

It is also possible to choose a wallpaper on the open market. Suppliers sell wallpapers with almost all photo motifs. Be it landscape, sea & beach, flowers, patterns, wall etc. - there is nothing that does not exist.

Often the dream holiday destination is also a motif for a photo wallpaper - either as a memory of a previous trip or as a desired destination for a future trip. (Image source: 12019 / pixabay.com)

Facts worth knowing about photo wallpaper

What is the best surface to use for photo wallpaper?

Before starting work, check the surface for unevenness and repair it if necessary.

The surface should be smooth, clean and dry. It is advisable to match the substrate to a neutral colour beforehand. For example, paint the wall with pigmented depth primer.
To provide further protection for the wallpaper, we recommend treating the wall with Maku fleece.

This prevents seams from bursting and creates a tension equalisation between the wallpaper and the substrate.

What is the resolution of a photo wallpaper?

The resolution and image quality does not depend on the wallpaper - but on the camera. Generally, a resolution of 25-150 DPI is expected for photo wallpapers, which allows good results to be achieved.

The higher the resolution of your photo, the better the quality of the end result, but a good rule of thumb for sufficiently high resolution is: 1000 pixels per metre. For a better understanding, we have provided you with a small list here:

Desired size of photo wallpaper Recommended resolution
100 cm x 100 cm 1000 pixels x 1000 pixels = 1 MP
250 cm x 150 cm 2500 pixels x 1500 pixels = 3,75 MP
200 cm x 300 cm 2000 pixels x 3000 pixels = 6 MP
400 cm x 300 cm 4000 pixels x 3000 pixels = 12 MP
700 cm x 500 cm 7000 pixels x 5000 pixels = 25 MP

Before you commission the wallpaper, make sure your image is not pixelated and was taken with a high quality camera.

Image source: unsplash.com / Anna Sullivan

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