Are Wall Decals Tacky? (Really?)

We’re thinking of putting up some wall decals in our young daughter’s bedroom, but are they tacky?

Wall decals and stickers are a popular way of transforming a wall without the hassle of paint or wallpaper, and definitely go in and out of fashion. However, if you personally like them and want to use them to decorate your home, then that is the only thing that matters.

Let’s dive down into the subject of wall decals in more detail, and discover if they really are as tacky as some interior designers think…

Are Wall Decals Tacky?

Are Wall Decals or Stickers a Good Idea? (Are They Popular?)

Wall decals and stickers seem to be in and out of fashion all the time. At the moment, they’re definitely in, and they’re a popular way of transforming a wall without the hassle of paint or wallpaper.

If you have a look at places like Etsy, you’ll find some incredible designs that will completely transform a room. However, if you want something low-cost and low-effort, you can pick up packs at stores such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. 

Decals and stickers have been a popular way to brighten up kids’ rooms and nurseries for years; however, recently, they’ve been creeping into other rooms in the house to “add interest”. For some truly impressive wall decal ideas, take a look at these suggestions from Etsy.

Do Wall Decals Ruin Walls?

In general, no, wall decals won’t ruin the wall. They’re designed to peel off easily, so shouldn’t damage the paintwork should you decide that they’re no longer to your taste. This is especially good news for parents, as kids quickly grow out of their superhero or unicorn decals!

From an interior design perspective, a decal shouldn’t ruin the wall, and can definitely add a unique touch to your room.

However, bear in mind scale, because a too-large design could overpower a small room and that would indeed spoil the look you’re trying to achieve. On the other hand, too-small wall decals will easily become lost.

IWhat Is the Difference Between Wall Decals, Murals & Stickers?

There isn’t really a difference between decals, murals, and stickers in terms of what they are. The main difference is size.

Stickers tend to be smaller and designed to go on anything. Decals are larger and intended to go on walls. 

A mural is an artwork or design painted or stuck directly onto the wall. These are usually large, and can be inside or outside your home. If you want a statement wall, this could be the design choice for you.

Do Wall Decals, Stickers or Murals Actually Look Good?

As with most interior design trends, wall decals are a matter of personal taste. There are lots of different types of decals, from quotes to wallpaper-style patterns, so everyone should find something to suit them.

If you like a plain wall, they’re definitely not for you! Likewise, if you plan on hanging lots of paintings and prints, the wall could easily become too “busy”. Otherwise, decals are a great way of using wall space to create a really individual look.

Do Wall Decals Peel-Off Easily? (Without Peeling Paint)

Happily, wall decals are designed to peel off easily. If there’s a problem removing a wall decal, heat can help as it melts the adhesive. The hottest setting on your hair dryer should be enough to soften the decal and let you peel it off.

How Long Do Wall Decals Last?

Wall decals are usually made from durable vinyl and should last for years. A good-quality outside decal should last for up to 5 years, so it figures that an indoor one will last far longer.

Once you’ve removed a decal sheet, it can in theory be reused, but it’s quite a tricky process.

If you manage to remove the decal without using heat, you may be able to re-stick it elsewhere (as long as you’re quick). If it’s no longer sticky, you may have to decide whether or not to glue it to its new location.

How Do You Decorate a Wall With Stickers? (How Do You Apply Them?)

Wall stickers can be used for all sorts of design schemes, and they’re super-easy to apply. It’s important to prep the wall first. Wipe it with a damp cloth then dry it thoroughly, as any grease on the wall will affect the adhesive. 

Make sure – and we can’t emphasize this enough – that you’re 100% sure where you want the stickers or decal to go before you start applying them. 

This short film shows you how to apply a wall sticker. The key points are: be confident with peeling and sticking, but do it slowly, constantly pressing to make sure there are no creases or bubbles.

Applying a larger graphic? It helps if you stick the decal, still on its transfer paper, to the wall first. Use something that comes off easily, like painter’s tape. 

This film shows you how to apply a large decal using the “center hinge” method. This involves applying half the decal at a time.

Create a horizontal hinge in the center of the graphic using tape. This lets you work on half the decal at a time, making it far easier to deal with a big sheet of transfer paper.

Are Wall Decals Safe? (Are They Toxic?)

There is a worry that decals are toxic, especially among parents and carers who want to decorate the nursery with decals.

This is partly because some decals are made from PVC, and also because formaldehyde is used in some adhesives, and there’s a concern that this is found in decals. 

The best thing to do is check the brand to see if the decal and its adhesive are safe. There’s an increasing amount of eco-friendly decals out there, which should be super-safe for the nursery.

Try Sunny Decals or Wall Dressed Up, two US brands that make biodegradable and nursery-safe decals.

What Are Wall Decals Made of?

Most wall decals are made from thin vinyl, which is robust and flexible. The adhesive is designed to stick easily to vertical surfaces and to peel off without causing damage.

There’s a growing move towards eco-friendly decals that use biodegradable materials instead of PVC.

Brands like Portland-based Eco Wall Decals are worth checking out if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option.

Do Wall Decals Work on Textured Walls?

No, wall decals won’t work on textured walls. They may cope with a very lightly textured finish, but on the whole, save your wall decals for a smooth surface.

As well as the difficulty in getting decals to stick to textured walls, imagine the final effect: a lumpy, bumpy graphic simply wouldn’t look very good.

Sheep wall decals

Can Wall Decals Be Used on Wood?

Wall decals can be used on wood, and you can get some really lovely effects on paneled surfaces. 

However, as we mentioned earlier, wall decals won’t stick to textured surfaces. If the wood has a rough finish, the decal won’t stick well, and you’ll get a strongly textured graphic. 

What Is a Decal Sheet?

A decal sheet is a sheet of transfer paper with a collection of decals on it, similar to a sticker sheet.

Some sheets have literally dozens of decals or stickers on them, enabling you to transform your wall into a flower garden or have a swarm of cute little bees buzzing up the stairway.

You’ll need to cut the decal sheet up using scissors before you begin applying them.

Take care, as this simple task can be an easy part to mess up, especially if the graphics are close together: an accidental snip, and that’s a branch, tail, or half a letter gone.

Cutaway any excess transfer paper to help you position the graphic more easily.

Final Words

Whether interior designers say wall decals are ‘in’ or ‘out’ – if you personally like them and want to use them to decorate your home then we say ‘go for it!’

That’s what we’re going to do, as our little girl loves the idea of putting some new fun designs on her bedroom walls.

Who cares what other people think as long as she’s happy right? 🙂