Tired of paint on your walls? why not use wallpaper instead

Charlotte Kibe displays a roll of wallpaper at their Nairobi office. Photo/Salaton Njau
Charlotte Kibe displays a roll of wallpaper at their Nairobi office. Photo/Salaton Njau 

Looking to give your room character, brighten it and give it a superior visual appearance? Then wallpaper should be your solution.

This is according to Mbugua Kamau, a self-taught interior designer, who through various stints in stage management found that wall paper would give various effects to a room than paint.

“I was most fascinated by the way wallpapers transformed the way a room looks and feels,” he says.

While in theatre, Kamau cultivated his passion for interior design but the market was too small for it to sustain him, so he ventured into home décor and went commercial to start Kimuri Info Consultancy.

“At first, the demand for wallpaper was only in commercial settings but now with the fall in prices, more people are opting to use it in their homes,” he says, adding that compared to paint which fades fast, wallpaper is cost-effective in the long run as it is more durable if looked after properly.

Although there is a difference between the two settings, he found a level ground and worked with a colleague, Kim Pravey, a qualified interior designer, who nurtured his talent and taught him a few lessons on wall treatment.

From traditional and classic to bold and graphic as stated in his website, wallpaper is progressively transforming the plain wall painting that has covered our walls for centuries.

New printing technology has driven the growth of wallpaper which once adorned many households as Kamau says that they are getting more business now than in previous years when the use of wallpaper hadn’t picked up.

“Technological advancements in 2D and 3D printing and a new range of printing paper are the driving force in this business as it gives a more distinguished effect,” he states.

The most common wallpaper is the solid vinyl variety which is does not fade and lasts for 15 to 20 years and comes in different colours, patterns and textures.


Wallpaper is also used to hide inconsistencies on walls such as cracks and uneven walling, keeps the house warm and can give the room a bigger feel.

Good quality wallpaper also doesn’t stain, doesn’t leave odour, is easy to clean and protects against mildew, moulds and insects. The glue used to paste it to the wall is either potato starch or rice glue which are water-based and makes it easy to peel off without damaging the wall.

With the advantages of wallpaper exceeding those of paint, Kamau says that the potential to make wallpaper the wall treatment of choice is high as more people experiment with wallpaper.

Although the cost is said to be similar to that of a good paint, wallpapers can be expensive depending on the design and paper used.

Such are the purely natural hand woven wall papers such as the Asian grass cloth and bamboo materials which are Eco-friendly.

“A good wallpaper costs between Sh500 and Sh3,000 per square metre, this is inclusive of consultation and fitting,” states Kamau.

However, there is the high-end wall paper for the home which costs much more.

Putting wallpaper on one side of the wall instead of the four walls is common though, he says, one can play with the different textures and colours to give it more depth.

Wall paper has transformed the interior look of many homes with both individual and corporate clients embracing this idea in Kenya and East Africa.

It is also said to be best for humid areas where there is constant wear and tear of soluble paints on walls because of the moisture levels in such areas.

With the technological developments in the printing of various types of paper, Kamau foresees a fall in the cost of wallpaper as well as a higher uptake of the same.