How to Hang Wallpaper in a Bathroom

Colorful and floral wallpaper in a bathroom

Wallpaper has made a comeback in home decor, offering endless possibilities for creativity and personalization. Among the various spaces in your home, bathrooms present a unique opportunity to make a stylish statement.

Whether you are transforming a large master bathroom or a cozy powder room, wallpaper can add a touch of elegance and personality that paint simply cannot match. However, putting wallpaper in a bathroom comes with its own set of challenges, particularly due to the high humidity and moisture levels typically found in these spaces.

This guide will explain what you need to know about installing wallpaper in a bathroom, from understanding the environmental factors to choosing the best materials and adhesives. With expert advice and high-quality installation products from ROMAN, you can tackle your wallpapering project with confidence.

Bathroom vs. Powder Room

While these terms are often used interchangeably, the difference is significant when it comes to wallpaper installation.


Full bathrooms, equipped with showers or bathtubs, are more challenging environments for wallpaper due to the high levels of humidity and moisture they generate. The hot, moist air can cause wallpaper adhesive to reactivate, resulting in lifting or curling of the wallpaper. To successfully install wallpaper in a bathroom, you must use materials and adhesives designed to withstand these conditions, and ensure the room is properly ventilated.

Powder Room

Powder rooms, on the other hand, are much easier to wallpaper. Since they lack showers or bathtubs, the risk of humidity-related issues is significantly lower. This gives you more freedom in choosing delicate wallpaper materials like grasscloth or traditional paper. Installing wallpaper in a powder room allows for more creative and bold design choices without the worry of moisture damage.

Environmental Concerns

Bathrooms have unique characteristics and requirements that must be considered when installing wallpaper:

Humid/Moist Air

Hot, humid air is the primary concern when installing wallpaper in a bathroom. As noted, moisture can cause the wallpaper adhesive to soften and the wallpaper to lift or curl. To combat this, it’s essential to choose wallpaper designed for high-moisture environments. You also need to use a high-quality adhesive. Ensuring proper room ventilation during and after installation can also help maintain the wallpaper’s integrity.

Vent Fans

An effective exhaust fan is vital in any bathroom with wallpaper. A properly sized vent fan helps remove the hot, humid air that can harm wallpaper adhesive. When selecting a fan, consider its capacity to handle the bathroom’s moisture levels, and always use it during showers or baths to keep the air dry.

Moisture Meters

Before installing wallpaper, it’s essential to verify that the walls are completely dry. Using a moisture meter to check the wall’s moisture content is a smart precaution. Ideally, the moisture content should be below 10% (though this can vary by wallcovering manufacturer). Ensuring the walls are dry helps prevent future issues with adhesive reactivation.

Mold & Mildew

Addressing mold and mildew is essential before wallpapering a bathroom. ROMAN adhesives and primers contain biocides for in-can preservation but will not eliminate existing mold or mildew. All existing mold and mildew must be removed before installation. Be aware that mold and mildew often indicate underlying moisture issues, such as leaky pipes or poor ventilation. These must be corrected prior to installation.

Material Considerations

Modern wallpaper design

When deciding how to wallpaper a bathroom, the choice of materials is extremely important. Not all wallcoverings are suitable for high-humidity environments.

Unsuitable Materials

Delicate materials like grasscloths and true paper wallcoverings are not ideal for bathrooms due to their poor performance in humid conditions. These materials are prone to warping, staining, and deterioration when exposed to moisture. However, they can be used effectively in powder rooms, where humidity levels are significantly lower.

Suitable Materials

Vinyl wallcoverings or vinyl-coated wallpapers are much better suited for bathrooms. These materials are designed to withstand moisture and are often marketed as washable or scrubbable. They provide durability and ease of maintenance, making them perfect for wet areas. When choosing wallpaper for your bathroom walls, look for products specifically labeled for high-moisture environments.

Adhesive Selection

Choosing the right adhesive is essential for successful wallpapering in a bathroom. The adhesive must be able to withstand the room’s humidity and moisture levels.

Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Always follow the wallpaper manufacturer’s guidelines when selecting an adhesive. Each type of wallpaper may have specific requirements to ensure proper adhesion and longevity. The manufacturer’s instructions will provide the best advice for maintaining the wallpaper’s integrity in a bathroom setting.

PRO-880 Adhesive

If the manufacturer does not recommend a specific adhesive, ROMAN’s PRO-880 is often your best option, especially for well-ventilated bathrooms. This adhesive is known for its strong bond and ease of use; it’s suitable for a variety of vinyl and vinyl-coated wallpapers. Its resistance to moisture ensures that the wallpaper remains securely attached to the wall, even in the humid conditions of a bathroom.

Proper adhesive selection is key to preventing issues like lifting and curling, ensuring your beautifully wallpapered bathroom stays intact.

Engineering the Room

wallpaper in a bathroom

Planning the placement of wallpaper in a bathroom is important if you expect to achieve a visually appealing design. Properly engineering the room ensures that the wallpaper enhances the space’s features.

Focal Points

Identify and plan around key focal points such as sinks, faucets, mirrors, sconces, and windows. Mapping out the wallpaper pattern before installation helps in centering and aligning designs with these elements. This attention to detail ensures that the wallpaper complements the room’s architecture and fixtures.

Pattern Placement

Consider the pattern repeat and scale when planning the layout. Large patterns can create dramatic focal points, while smaller designs can add texture and interest without overwhelming the space. You can use a level and measuring tools to ensure patterns are straight and aligned. You may also wish to consider a slightly off-center pattern placement to create an asymmetrical visual effect that is associated with contemporary design.

Trust ROMAN for Your Bathroom Wallpaper Installation

With the right approach, wallpapering a bathroom can be a rewarding and stunning home improvement. For the best results in any wallpaper installation, it’s important to use high-quality installation products. ROMAN offers a range of premium adhesives and primers that are well-suited for bathroom applications. Explore our catalog today!