Your wall needs to be painted for a successful wallpaper install.
The type of paint is also important, in general removable wallpapers have trouble sticking over stain blocking, scrubbable paints and no VOC paints.
We recommend using paint finishes like sateen or gloss. Matte and flat finishes are more rough so wallpapers tend to stick stronger to non shiny surfaces. Matte and flat paints also trend to lift off the wall when the wallpaper is removed. We recommend avoiding matte walls for no other reason than the risk of paint lifting once you decide to take down a wallpaper. Very old matte walls are also not recommended since this finish trends to lift very easily when it's too old and in general removable materials need a surface in good conditions to hold onto.
The quality and nature of the paint underneath can have an important impact in the removal process.
RECENTLY PAINTED WALLS
Recently painted walls should be let dry for 4 weeks before applying any wallpaper type on that wall. Even low VOC paints keep emitting low grade fumes for weeks after, paint looks dry but it’s not. If you install wallpaper those fumes have nowhere to go, will generate massive bubbles on your wallpaper.
LOW OR ZERO VOC PAINTS:
Low VOC paints are amazing but unfortunately they are becoming a challenge for wallpaper installations as they cause the wallpaper to lift the wall. A simple solution for the problem is to clean the wall (recommended 2-3 times) with a mixture of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water, let dry completely, and afterwards proceed with the wallpaper installation. Some brands that offer low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) are: Behr, Benjamin Moore, Rust-Oleum, Valspar, Safe Ecoart, Ecopaints.
STAIN BLOCKING PAINTS OR PRIMERS:
Stain blocking paints are formulated to block anything trying to get bonded to it. There is no way you can know for sure if a wall previously painted by a former owner or tenant is stain blocking. As a general guide oil based paints are more prone to be stain blocking, this doesn't means they all are, but if you suspect your paint is oil based testing with a sample will be a great idea. Getting a sample and trying it on the wall is the only way to test if you have a stain blocking paint.
CRACKED PAINT AND DAMAGED WALLS:
Wallpapers are intended to protect the wall not to repair it. Wall needs to be in good condition prior to applying wallpapers.