The Gospel of Removable Wallpaper

I don’t want to spend more energy than I really need to decorate my current apartment. I want a well-curated space, but at the moment I’m not entirely sure that I have the energy or cash to put that together. While the lease on my apartment does permit me to paint, I am loathe at this point to start a project that will require things like primers and sanding and taping and testing various colors at different times of the day. I want a maximal change with minimal effort. This brings me to removable wallpaper.

Removable wallpaper is one of my favorite ways to change a space because it is so versatile and so low risk. You peel off a backing and then stick it to the wall. Press out all the air bubbles, maybe trim around the edges, and you’re all set. Change your mind? Peel it down. Done and done. Removable wallpaper can be used on walls, of course, but also all over your house. Cover a refrigerator or other appliances, line the backs of shelves, refinish a blah tabletop (such as IKEA’s LACK series), spice up the inside of a tray for serving guests, even create the appearance of a grand and stately headboard. All completely possible and so easy.

So far, I’ve redone the backsplash and refrigerator in my kitchen and one wall in my apartment, and were it not for my spouse saying he’s done with patterns, I’d be covering all the rest of the flat, smooth surfaces in our apartment with bright, cheerful colors and designs. The kitchen took all of forty five minutes to get done, and the trickiest part was matching the pattern repeat.

While, at first glance, removable wallpaper may look like the more expensive option, I’ve found that after you buy all the supplies to paint walls or hang art (tarps, brushes, pans, rollers, sandpaper, painters tape, primers, and multiple buckets of paint; or frames, mats, and custom fitting), the total cost is much lower. In total, I spent about $100—shipping included. Not to mention, you won’t ruin your favorite jeans when you think to yourself “Ah, but I’ll be so careful!” The only cost is the paper itself. It is also completely possible to make temporary wallpaper yourself with contact paper.

Don’t know where to start?

Check out the whole host of resources available online about where to buy and what to do with temporary wallpaper:

Removable wall paper can be bought at:

Feeling crazy? Try starching fabric to the wall. (I haven’t tried this, so don’t blame me if it pulls all the paint off your walls…)

And I’m not the only one who is totally into removable wallpaper! Read more on Oh Happy Day and Apartment Therapy.

Photo by Rob Adams / Additional Photos by Lily Henderson

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1 Comment

  1. Love seeing that a real human being has done the removable wallpaper thing, not just a person with a craft/design blog who’s insanely good at stuff! Also, that patterned fridge is AMAZING. Methinks this will be coming to my kitchen very soon.

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