I have been busy removing old wall paper from an old lime plaster wall at home and I have discovered that:
a. Non breathable paint sticks very well to wall paper
b. Wall paper paste as a tendency to stick very well to plaster
I am now back to bare walls and I am glad to be rid of the wall paper.
Wall papers come in a great variety of types, textures and finishes and so getting the right sort can be an issue. However there are some basic principles:
1. If you are trying to preserve a breathable wall structure then I personally would look no further than a lime or clay plaster. These can be left as a feature (especially the clay plasters that come with lovely mica enriched finishes) or painted over with a breathable paint (clay paint for example)
2. If you want a paper finish to cover over roughness etc then use a FSC sourced lining paper and again use a breathable paint finish.
3. If you don’t have a breathable wall then you can use any wallpaper, but again we would recommend looking for the FSC / PEFC mark.
4. There is such a thing as natural wall paper paste. This is effectively cellulose fibre. It looks expensive, but it goes an awfully long way.