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Does Wallpaper Fade?

green patterned wallpaper in sunlight

And How To Maintain Your Wall Coverings

Wallpaper is still a fantastic decorating option & is as popular now as it's ever been.

I believe this is because newer wallpapers & wall coverings are made from a range of materials & also offer an amazing choice of styles & patterns.

Modern wallpapers are also easier to hang & are available in a variety of price points.

So however much you spend, there's still some effort & time invested in hanging wallpaper.

So you want to make sure that this style of décor will last you many years.

So can wallpaper fade? Any material that is exposed to sunlight on a consistent basis will eventually fade & wallpaper is no different. But certain wallpapers & wall coverings are more fade resistant. There are also some simple precautions you can take so your wallpaper will last many years.

If you're unsure about decorating with wallpaper, here's 9 reasons for choosing wallpaper that may just convince you!


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What Causes Wallpaper to Fade?

The main factor for wallpaper fading & losing it's colour is prolonged exposure to sunlight.

It's the ultra-violet light, or UV's, that cause fading & even indirect sunlight will cause some fading over time.

Sunlight breaks down the chemical bonds in the inks and dyes and the wallpaper eventually starts to fade or become discoloured.

Not all wallpapers are the same, so some will fair better than others.


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Wall coverings that have a reflective quality are less prone to UV damage.

Although incandescent & fluorescent lighting emits UV light, it's at such an insignificant level that it won't create any fading issues.

Although, if you remove artwork that has been sitting on wallpaper for a number of years, you may find that the wallpaper is slightly darker underneath.


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Can Faded Wallpaper Be Repaired?

The bad news is that once wallpaper has faded, it can't be brought back to it's original condition.

The only solution is to replace the faded sections.

Of course, the new strips of wallpaper may stand out like a sore thumb!

This means you may have to replace an entire wall.

It's always good insurance when choosing wallpaper to purchase extra rolls for later down the track.

Also some wallpaper designs can be discontinued after a few years & you may not be able to replace the style you have on your walls.

Even if your wallpaper hasn't faded, it can become worse for wear over time due to cigarette smoke or if you have an open fireplace.

If you have wallpaper in your kitchen, grease & general food odours can build up over time too.

Prevention is better than cure as it's often said, so regular cleaning with mild soapy water & a non-abrasive sponge or cloth should do the trick.

But always read the manufactures recommendations first!

Which Wallpapers are Less Likely to Fade?

Let's have a quick look at the various wallpaper materials & explore which may be best for your particular needs.


Designed to last up to 20 years, this paper is made by a vinyl top layer sitting on a backing layer.

A very durable paper that's highly resistant to fading as well as being washable.

Available in many designs & patterns too, from murals, to faux brick, wood, stone & other materials.


A style of wallpaper that can be made from a number of materials.

These can be vinyl or linoleum, which as well as the possibility of painting over should they become faded, they're also washable as mentioned above.

Embossed wallpaper can also be manufactured from various fabrics & these can be trickier to clean.


Made from cotton, linen, felt as well as velvet, it's quite a luxurious style of wallpaper.

Difficult to clean & not easily replaced.


This is a wall covering that is guaranteed for 30 years.

Sometimes known as "grass cloth", it's flame resistant, washable & can be painted over.


Made from .. well, cellulose, which is plant fibres extracted from wood pulp.

It's known as tradition wallpaper & is more prone to fading than other papers & water damage.

This obviously makes them unwashable too.


I never heard of this type of wallpaper application until I started writing this article.

Cotton fibres & cellulose are combined to create a solution that behaves like paint.

Simply apply to the wall as you would paint & this liquid form of wallpaper also offers a textured finish.

The downside is being plant based it can't be cleaned with any harsh detergents & it's not a great choice for high humidity environments.


Another plant based product that is susceptible to water damage, although it's very eco-friendly & sustainable.


A blend of synthetic & natural fibres, it's a very breathable style of wallpaper.

This also makes them washable & do quite well in higher humidity environments.


Commonly called "peel & stick", this is a wall covering made from vinyl or woven polyester.

A style of wallpaper that's simple to apply, as the backing paper is simply peeled away & the paper is pressed to the wall.

Less prone to fading & washable, but the fact that it can be fairly easy to remove makes it a popular choice for renters.


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Some Other Wall Coverings To Consider

Pre-Faded Wallpaper

It's possible to buy distressed & pre-weathered wallpaper.

There's actually a surprising amount of choice with these types of wall coverings.

Fantastic for a vintage or industrial look, but as they can be made from various materials, you'd need to ask the supplier how washable & fade resistant they are.

Ombre Wallpaper

These are a unique style of wallpaper that offer colour graduation, fading from one colour to another & blending together different hues.

Available as a "peel & stick", they can also be obtained in metallic finishes, which will protect from fading as well as being washable.

Final Thoughts

Wallpaper isn't going out of fashion any time soon, so it's a great investment in wall décor.

Can wallpaper fade?

Yes, but that doesn't mean it has to.

Choosing the appropriate wallpaper & considering the environment it's going to be hung in will go a long way to making sure it remains on your walls for a long time.

And when applied correctly & maintained, wallpaper can last for decades.

I hope this article was useful for you & please feel free to share.


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