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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best wall decals

If you want to spruce up or make over a room, you have lots of options. Paint, wallpaper, and paneling can all give your walls a fresh look, but they can cost hundreds of dollars. Another option that can save you a ton of time and money is wall decals.

Essentially large stickers, wall decals are long-lasting and inexpensive decorating alternatives that are easy to use (and often reuse). Available in themes from floral to inspirational sayings to geometric shapes to pop culture, wall decals could be just the design element you need to breathe new life into an otherwise stale room.

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If you’re getting wall decals for a child’s room, enlist their help in selecting the themes and colors they like.

Key considerations

Themes

Wall decals come in a variety of themes, providing you with a wide range of decal looks to choose from. Some of the more common themes include the following:

Floral/nature: Nature-themed decals, particularly floral, are easily one of the more popular types. Flower, plant, and animal decals can brighten up any room.

Geometric: Circles, triangles, and other shapes can be used to cover whole walls.

Cultural: Whatever your ancestry, it is represented by traditional or modern wall decals. Native American and African American decals are particularly popular.

Kids: These decals are particularly useful for decorating a child’s room. They depict cartoon characters, video games characters, sports, toys, and more. Some parents like to use their child’s name or the first letter of their name on the wall.

Quotes: You can also find wall decals with inspirational, religious, or funny quotes. 

Functional: If you’re searching for something other than just decorative wall art, there are decals that also double as measuring charts to mark a child’s growth or family trees to display your family’s ancestry.

Read the room

In addition to themes, the other thing to consider is the room where you want to put your decals. Room color and size play a large part in determining which decals will look right on the wall. You can choose decals to fit a room’s purpose, such as fun for a playroom or more elegant for a living room. Certain types of decals work better in certain rooms, such as cartoon characters in a kid’s room, food or utensil-themed decals for a kitchen, and marine or other water-based themes in a bathroom.

Vertical vs. horizontal

Wall decals come in different shapes and configurations, and the space you’re trying to fill usually determines what shape of decal fits in it. For example, if your wall is taller than it is wide, consider choosing a tall, narrow decal. A long horizontal wall can be better served by a wide decal that takes up less vertical space.

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Staff Tip
In addition to their decorative use, wall decals can also cover up holes and other imperfections in a wall.
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Features

Size

Decals: Wall decals come as multiple smaller decals that you can use to cover part or all of a wall, and as single large decals can be several feet tall or wide.

Wall: Consider the size of the wall too. While there are no absolute rules, smaller decals are usually used in groups to cover a larger area, while large decals are often used individually.

Color

A package of wall decals might be all one color or several colors. The color(s) you choose is a matter of personal preference, but there are some factors that might affect your choice.

You might want to match the decal to the color scheme of the room. Or you might want to choose a contrasting color that draws the eye and makes the decal stand out. The color of the decal can also match the mood of the room, such as bright colors in a gaming room and muted colors in a dining room.

Materials

Most wall decals are made of some form of PVC plastic or vinyl, but they can vary in terms of their toxicity. This is particularly important if you have kids or pets. Be sure to check the product description or verify with the retailer that the decal is free of chemicals or materials such as lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and phthalates.

While it’s uncommon, some wall decals are made of fabric, which can be more durable and often more reusable than decals made of vinyl.

Adhesive

Most wall decals are backed with some type of adhesive covered with paper that peels off so you can apply them to the wall. Some of these decals are single-use stickers: once you’ve applied them to the wall, they can’t be peeled off and reused. Other decals can be removed and reused, making them ideal for temporary use such as in apartments, dorm rooms, or kids’ rooms. If the ability to reuse or reposition a wall decal is important to you, read the product description carefully.

Quantity

The number of decals you need depends on the size of the room and your design concept. You might want one large decal or dozens of smaller ones to cover the space. Give some thought to your design goals and double-check the number of decals in your purchase.

Wall decals are also called wall stickers, wall vinyls, and wall tattoos.

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Pricing

Inexpensive: Wall decals in the $5 to $10 range are usually smaller and simpler, often in the form of a simple inspirational or humorous quote in a single color.

Mid-range: In the $10 to $20 range, you can find larger, more elaborate wall decals that are more colorful, durable, and reusable.

Expensive: Wall decals that cost $20 to $30 can be several feet wide and tall, making them more of a mural than a simple decal. The designs here tend to be more detailed, the colors more vibrant, and the materials more durable than you’ll find in lower priced decals.

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Staff Tip
If you want to apply wall decals to a painted surface, note that they work best on paint that has a matte finish.
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Tips

  • Choose larger decals for a living room. These not only look better on a large, empty wall, but also serve as a decorative backdrop for the furniture.
  • Check the room temperature. The adhesive on wall decals can become brittle if it’s too cold and gummy if it’s too hot. For best results, try to use them in a room where the temperature stays between 50°F and 90°F.
  • Use painter’s tape to lay out the placement of the decals on the wall. Leave the tape up for a day or two to make sure it’s right before applying the decals.
  • Clean and dry the wall before applying the decal. This will help keep the decal from peeling. If it does begin to peel a bit on the edges, try applying some all-purpose white glue to hold the edges in place.
  • Warm the decal to remove it. While all wall decals are removable, some can damage the paint or paneling when you pull them off. To minimize the risk, warm the decal with a hair dryer before trying to remove it. This helps soften the adhesive, making it easier to remove.
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If your wall decals get dingy over time, you can easily clean them by rubbing them with a cloth or sponge dampened with cold water.

FAQ

Q. Can I apply decals right after painting a wall?
A.
Before applying decals to a newly painted wall, you should be absolutely certain that the paint is completely dry. Even paint that appears to be dry might not be dry enough to effectively hold the decals securely. It’s recommended that you wait a couple of weeks after painting a wall before applying the decals.

Q. Can I use wall decals on surfaces like cinder blocks or bricks?
A.
Wall decals typically work best on untextured surfaces such as painted walls, glass, or smooth metal. These surfaces should be dry and clean. Avoid any surface that has a texture, which includes bricks, cinder blocks, and textured wallpaper, because the decals won’t stick to it effectively.

Q. Can I use wall decals outdoors?
A.
So long as the surface you’re applying them to is clean, dry, and smooth, you can apply wall decals indoors or out. Note, however, that most are designed for indoor use, and any decals used outdoors tend to deteriorate more quickly.This is particularly true if they’re exposed to the elements. If you still want to use the decals outdoors, try to find some that are specifically made for outdoor use or made from a very durable material like premium vinyl so they’ll last longer.

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