Making Wallpaper Work for Renters

Working for a wallpaper manufacturer while living in a rental should, in my opinion, be considered some form of torture. Every time we release a new collection or I spot some pretty new samples hanging in our studio, I “ooh” and “ahh” over them for several minutes before remembering… oh, that’s right, I can’t put up wallpaper. (I can’t even hang pictures!) As soon as I remember the super-strict leasing agreement I’m bound to for at least another couple months, my head droops and I drag myself wearily away from the gorgeous patterns and stylish designs. Someday, I think, and then proceed to mope for a couple hours.

Much to my surprise, however, our studio has been giving a great deal of thought to the situations of my fellow apartment and rental property dwellers. Since we almost never have permission to put up wallpaper, but still crave splashes of design in our caves of white walls and neutral carpeting, any way we can use wallpaper without a landlord breathing down our necks is welcome. Here are some photos from our latest collection, Bistro 750, that feature literally “off the wall” ideas for using wallpaper in any space.

Idea #1: Frame it!

Most leasing agreements allow tenants to hang photos or other “light” pieces of décor, as long as the resulting holes in the wall are small and can be filled upon vacating the property. So, try this: place custom-cut pieces in frames and hang them up. This allows you to use the paper as a piece of art instead of a wall covering! You can try ornate or simple frames of multiple sizes, big or small, and play with the placement as much as you like. Try hanging a large frame above your bed, or hang three tall and narrow frames of coordinating paper side-by-side for an interesting trio of panels in your living space.

Here’s another fun tip: you can also frame your wall decals! Mount a single decal on whiteboard or another type of sturdy backing, cut it to fit your frame, then hang. The Café wall decals shown at left are supremely eye-catching in those frames.

Idea #2: Make breakfast more fun

If you’re bleak and blurry-eyed when you reach for your morning bowl of cereal, this idea is just for you. Trim your favorite wallpaper pattern to cover the inside of your cabinets, then use thumbtacks or easy-to-remove tape to hang it up. If you’re using tape, you’ll want to test the tape in an inconspicuous spot prior to use, and you should always look for products that promise to remove cleanly without causing damage or leaving behind a residue. You can have tons of fun picking a wallpaper to match your kitchen colors – and your guests will love peeking into your cabinets!

Idea #3: Light up the room

DIYers and crafters will love this tip! Find a white or neutral canvas lampshade, measure it, and cut out a piece (or multiple pieces) of your favorite wallpaper to cover it. Secure the paper in place with glue, fasten the ends together, and presto: instant style! Although we’re recommending this tip to renters, this is also a clever way to use wallpaper left over from a more traditional application. A bit of paper on a lampshade or in a frame can really tie a room together!

Those are all the ideas I have for you today. Do you have an idea for a creative, inexpensive, or unexpected use of wallpaper? We want to hear about it! Leave a comment and maybe you’ll see your idea in our next blog post. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the perfect landlord-approved idea for that Stacy Garcia pattern I’ve had my eye on…

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