Stencil vs. Vinyl Decals in our home

I first learned how to wallpaper at the ripe age of 8 when my mom recruited me to decorate our dining room with a crazy maroon & navy floral paper from Calico Corners. I hated it then and still cringe when I look at old photos now! Although she was able to bribe me into assisting her on a number of other projects subsequent to that, I was always much more interested in my grandma's pastel wallpaper choices and preferred to climb up her ladder any day.

For the next 20 years I lived in dorms and apartments, so I wasn't legally allowed to touch a shred of wallpaper until my husband and I bought our first house in LA 1 year ago.

I started off with momentum in a guest bathroom but quickly grew annoyed and hated myself for ordering so many rolls of additional, non-returnable paper prematurely. I powered through, however, and 3 rooms later I decided to scrap the wallpaper situation and seek out alternatives that were just as pretty & interesting but a tad less tedious.

I came up with 2 options: #1) stencils and #2) vinyl stickers. Once i did my research i realized how much easier they would be to install and decided to dedicate 1 guest room to each experiment. 

Stencil Pros:

  • You can go at your own pace (no need to panic about glue drying)
  • I was able to mix the paint color myself and replicate the color in my head
  • There are hundreds of stencil options available online for $40 or less
  • Just rinse your plastic stencil off in the tub and Voila! You can start clean again

Stencil Cons:

  • It can be difficult to tape the stencil into place with each pass, and I smudged quite a few areas. Luckily because it is water based paint i was able to scrub the smudges off fast enough that no one will ever notice.
  • You must use a foam roller which you have to dispose of after every session (unless you feel like hovering over your sink for 20 minutes trying to squeeze out every little bit of paint in order to dry it out and re-use.)
  • You will probably only get through 1/2 of a wall before you contemplate suicide. It takes a lot of time to do this, and while I found the process to be more meditative and less stressful than wallpapering, it still gets annoying. 

Vinyl Decal Pros:

  • Less expensive than wallpaper
  • Super fast and easy to put up
  • Easy to cut with an exacto (unlike wallpaper which usually tears)

Vinyl Decal Cons:

  • In SUPER humid weather sometimes they can peel off. But all you have to do is take one second to run your hand over them & re-adhere. They don't appear to lose their adhesive nature at all and i simply adore the metallic options that they offer up!

Overall winner for me is definitely the vinyl and I absolutely love the flexibility of this option. If Elliot and I ever have a baby boy and use our "pink" room as a nursery we could easily remove the the triangles in under 5 minutes and reposition them on another room in 30 more.

We purchased our vinyl decals from walls by MUR ( and I would highly recommend them! Price was reasonable, shipping was fast, shapes were cleanly cut and customer service was great. A+ for walls by MUR and hallelujah for the much-needed break in wallpapering!


  • Pink room: Blush & Gold large triangles by MUR + a sweet potcake dog courtesy of the Turks & Caicos islands πŸ’•
  • Blue room: Zebra pattern by Cutting Edge Stencils + a mix of Benjamin Moore paints