I rent a house in which the living room has the most awful wallpaper ever. At the same time I don't want to put too much effort in fixing that because I intend to move in a year or two at most.

I need a quick and dirty way to put some light colour in place of that wallpaper. I was thinking I could just paint on it, but because I want it to be super easy (and I don't mind the result is low quality) I don't want to have to put several layers.

Is there a light colour paint for which a single layer is enough on a wallpaper with intricate patterns on it? It must not have a strong and toxic smell to it because we need the living room all the time and there's a small kid in the family.

It also has to be relatively cheap. Am I dreaming or can such a paint be found?

If not, what other options would I have?

2 Answers 2


I cannot advise you strongly enough to not paint over the wallpaper. First reason is this is a rental unit. You are libel for any charges and costs to return it to the condition at the time you moved in. The second reason is that trying to remove wallpaper that has paint on it can be a nightmare. The way wallpaper is removed is by wetting the paper to disolve the paste. Since paint (even interior types) are almost impervious to water the stripper cannot reach the paste. The paper will come off in small pieces if at all and the surface will be rough and uneven. With the owners permission, remove the wallpaper to the base surface. It may be drywall or plaster then apply your primer and paint of choice.


A LOW or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and primer are what you want.

Valspar Ultra

Benjamin-Moore Natura

I've personally used the Ultra (both professionally and at home), in the ceiling formulation, and was quite pleased.

Its not likely 1 coat will do the trick. Even with the primer/paint combos, I frequently use a primer tinted 3/4 of the way to the final color. You would especially want to use a primer if there is much sheen to the wallpaper.

Sherwin-Williams NO VOC primer

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