Renter-Friendly Wallpaper Installation – Yes, You Can Install Wallpaper!

Some of you might recall earlier this year I partnered with Walls Republic on a few wallpaper projects: some modern wall art and a grasscloth-covered trunk. During our conversations months ago, I told them that I really wanted to come up with a renter-friendly way to hang traditional wallpaper. While peel-and-stick removable wallpaper is now available in more and more patterns, I find it is quite costly, only one-time use, and a bit temperamental to work with for a large installation. Traditional wallpaper on the other hand, is much more budget-friendly and more widely available in a variety of patterns, textures and price points. Well friends! After lots of brainstorming and trial and error, I think I finally figured out to hang wallpaper in a completely removable way. Picture me literally jumping in my chair with excitement over here…I cannot wait to show you!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

As most of you know, I am a pattern-loving girl, and I am LOVING the recent trend of fun and funky wallpapers in stores, spaces and projects. I view a powerful wall treatment as a relatively quick and easy way to add MAJOR impact to a space without having to buy lots of new furniture or accessories. The walls in both our new office and playroom are cut in half with an 8″ ledge in the middle (you can see the before pictures here). I’ve committed to not painting…and as much as I tried to come up with another alternative, I knew these walls were ideal candidates for a wallpaper installation. And boy, was I right! Take a look at my office now:

Home office Temporary Wallpaper Installation

Some of you might be scratching your heads thinking, “Wait a minute, I thought we were going pink in the office?” And for a little while, that was the plan. But I couldn’t shake the idea of the bright cobalt blue that I miss from our old dining room so much; and a sweet reader also suggested that blue would flow better with the rest of our house. After weeks of trying different fabric and wrapping paper ideas, I came across this blue and white metallic wallpaper from Walls Republic and switched my plan instantly! (By the way, this paper is also available in 5 different colorways!)

Cobalt & White Studio Office

I realize some of you may not even entertain the idea of wallpaper in your home, especially a rental. But I want you to consider what the wallpaper is doing in this room. Everything in here is plain: white table, white counter, white cabinets, light-colored carpeting, white trim, neutral walls. The room went from a boring white box to a designer-like room in just a few hours thanks to the addition of the wallpaper. I’m telling you: you get a lot of bang for your buck with wallpaper. So if you don’t want to change up everything in a space, but the room is calling out for some major personality…give wallpaper a try!

Simple Sewing Station with Temporary Wallpaper

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to give it a try! Are you ready to learn my renter-friendly secret? This wallpaper feature is done with real wallpaper and one other product: liquid starch! I recently tried the age-old trick of applying fabric to the walls using liquid starch (more on that in another post). I’ve read over and over again that it goes up easily, and the fabric literally peels right off the walls when it’s time to go. After seeing the fabric+liquid starch work with my own eyes, it occurred to me: why wouldn’t it work with wallpaper too?!? So I cut off a scrap piece of wallpaper, and secured it to the wall with some liquid starch and smoothed it flat with my craft brayer.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

The paper adhered to the wall perfectly, and I let it stay up for 48 hours. During that time, the paper hadn’t lifted from the walls or wrinkled a bit, so I gave it the ultimate test: how does it come off? With NO effort and leaving NO residue behind, the paper peeled off in a single, perfect strip. Seriously. You guys: I had my renter-friendly solution at last!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

Throughout this post, I have been intentionally using the words “quickly” and “easily.” I know I’m a passionate DIYer who is up for almost any amount of work to get the “right look,” but believe me when I say this paper truly went up quickly and easily! I think these two walls took me about 3 hours from start to finish, and I did it all in my “nice” cloths. It’s not messy or complicated, and I’m going to walk you through the whole thing!

Here’s what you need:

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation Supplies

  1. Wallpaper. There is one critical factor you need to know when selecting your wallpaper. It MUST be the NON-PASTED kind! DO NOT buy/use pre-pasted wallpaper for this project. ONLY USE NON-PASTED WALLPAPER FOR A TEMPORARY INSTALLATION. I really can’t emphasize that part enough. Thankfully, Walls Republic carries ONLY non-pasted wallpapers, making them ideal for this kind of installation as well as other craft projects.
  2. Paint tray and roller. The size and texture of the roller don’t really matter, just use what you have!
  3. Rag. To soak up excess liquid starch as you smooth the paper down.
  4. Brayer. I used a craft brayer because that’s what I had on hand. I’m sure any type of squeegee or smoother would be fine!
  5. Cutting tools. I used both a rotary cutter and an X-acto knife for this installation.
  6. Measuring tape.
  7. Liquid starch. I bought this gallon at Walmart for $3.59 and used about 1/4 of it.
  8. Straight edge (not pictured). I used a clear 6×24″ ruler.

Start by measuring your walls to determine how many rolls of wallpaper you will need. Take into account pattern repeat and matching. For my two half walls, I used about 1.5 rolls.

Next, determine where you want your pattern to start, and trim away the excess with a straight edge. I chose for each strip of wallpaper to start at the two scrolls (bottom left). For each new sheet of paper I cut, I always trimmed down to that part of the pattern. Next, measure the length of your wall (mine was 48″) and add a 1″ for wiggle room…I cut each sheet down to 49″ long.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

The installation is pretty straight forward and surprisingly mess-free! Start by soaking the roller in the liquid starch and rolling off the excess using the tray (you do NOT need a lot of starch to get the paper to stick). Next, roll the starch onto the wall for just the single section of paper you’re installing. The roller is a bit bulky, so use a brush to “cut in” with the starch along the top and bottom edges of the wall.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

Next, take your measured and cut sheet of wallpaper and “loosely” attached it at the very top. Before pressing/smoothing, take care to match up the vertical seems.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

Then working from the middle of the sheet, smooth upwards, downwards, and to the left with a  brayer, working out all the bubbles and excess starch.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

At the bottom, use a straight edge to crease the paper, and then trim away the excess paper with an X-acto knife. And with that, a single stretch of paper is installed!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

Keep working one sheet at a time following the same steps over and over:

  • Trim the paper to the beginning of the pattern repeat.
  • Trim the sheet to your required length.
  • Apply a light layer of liquid starch to the walls using a roller.
  • Attach the sheet of paper to the wall, matching up the vertical seems and smoothing all bubbles using a brayer.
  • Trim away the excess paper along the bottom using a sharp knife.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

I kid you not…what I thought was going to be a full weekend project, was done in three hours, all by myself. And the transformation is truly jaw-dropping! The blue color is gorgeous, it has a thick, 3D texture, and what you can’t really tell from the photos is that the white has a pearly iridescence to it, so it REALLY lightened and brightened this entire room.

Home Studio Office

While we’re here, I thought I would give you a quick tour of my office setup so far! On the long wall with the window is my craft counter. I still love standing to do a lot of my projects, and the storage these cabinets provide is fantastic, so the counter setup was definitely going to be carried over from my last office space. You may notice however, that I (finally!!!!) was able to swap out the dark countertop for a white one from IKEA (that switch has been on the wish list for three years now!). Taking tutorial photos just got a whole lot easier! The blue cornice is our old cornice covered in extra fabric I had on hand (it helps to hoard things in a consistent color palette!)

Renter-Friendly Wallpaper in Home Office

Another big change from my last craft space is almost all of my supplies are concealed. You may recall that I was really disliking the visual clutter of all the fabric and ribbons and notions out on open shelves, so I really wanted everything to be put away this time around. A few fun and functional items did get to stay out!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

I just found this brass boot this weekend at a local antique mall for $12! I’m pretty sure my girlfriends thought I was NUTS for buying it, but I think it makes the coolest little planter!

Home Office Accessories

The countertop is a bit longer than my old one, so I get a little more workspace. I loaded up some caddies from IKEA (that used to be in our bathroom) with some of my more-used supplies.

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

The brass trash can is still working hard holding all my rolls of paper, but it’s starting to get full! #timetopurgethepaper

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

One of the biggest lessons learned in our last house is that I don’t like to sew at a counter-height station. I much prefer to sit at a traditional-height table or desk. After playing with the arrangement a bit, I am LOVING the desk floating out into the middle of the room like this. Not only can I face the window when I sew, but I am often able to move the sewing machine and use this table as a cutting table or photography station. What started as a temporary arrangement to take some pictures has turned into my ideal layout!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

Simple Sewing Station

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

My office/studio space had me a bit down the last few months. It was pretty much a big white box full of white furniture that just felt so style-less and boring. I really wasn’t sure what to do to make it a space I wanted to work and create in without a massive makeover (which honestly, I just wasn’t up for!) and a ton of new stuff (which we don’t need). With a three-hour installation of some pretty phenomenal paper, this room instantly had energy, personality and style. I feel like this space is now so reflective of me, my taste, and my brand, and I LOVE walking in here to work each day!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation in Blue and White Office Space

I will be sure to do a follow-up to this post when we move out next Spring. I have already tested a few corners of the paper, and it peels right up without a problem, but I will be sure to report back how the paper holds up throughout the year (especially through the winter with the heat on!), how the un-installation goes, and what our walls look like after it all comes down. I’m betting now they will look as good as they did the day we moved in! Who is willing to take on my bet? 😉

Edited July 2015

I have since removed the wallpaper from my office! You can see how quickly and easily it came down HERE or clicking the image below!


This is now my third big project working with Walls Republic Wallpapers. I am so taken aback at how truly easy it is to work with the non-pasted wallpapers. From craft projects to furniture transformations and now a traditional installation, this paper is incredibly good quality and can be used in so many ways to give your home a new look. If you’re looking for a reliable source with great prices, customer service, and quality papers for your next home project, look no further!

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

I hope you are all having a fantastic week! On Friday, I’ll be back with my monthly recap of all my writings around the web (how is it the end of the month already!) See you then!

Megan Signature

I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however Walls Republic did provide the wallpaper for me to use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!

P.S. Love wallpaper as much as I do? Check out these other great wallpaper projects! (Click on the photo to go to the post!)

Grasscloth Covered Trunk


Silhouette Wallpaper Art

Cover Drawers With Wallpaper

Powered by ConvertKit

20 Responses to Renter-Friendly Wallpaper Installation – Yes, You Can Install Wallpaper!

  1. Love your blog! I have a few walls that could use some attention and this just might the route I take. Thank you for the inspiration to get started. Now if I can get my husband out of the house for a few hours….

  2. Oh this is awesome! Now I have to find something that doesn’t clash with the current paint. I wish I had plain white walls, but I have “renter’s beige.” Woof!

    • Hey Stacey!

      If you look closely, our walls are “renter’s beige” too! Although, they seem to have a pinkish hue, which I think is even worse! The white trim helps to tie in the white paper, and the paper really works to brighten the whole room. I thought I would be really worried about the beige-ish wall below, but so far, it doesn’t really bother me!

      Have a good weekend!

  3. Wow this is fabulous. Removing wallpaper is such a pain and hard to bring the walls back like new so even as a non renter I love this idea so much. I’ll definitely try this in my own home. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. What a great trick!! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely pass this on and may be using this for a space I may be helping with!

    P.s your office space looks so bright and fresh I love it! That wallpaper as well, what a fabulous pick, love that blue and white 🙂

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

    • Hi Sara!

      I can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t?!? Then again, I’m not sure how bumpy or textured your walls are. What’s nice about wallpaper is that it’s so thick I don’t think you’ll be able to see the wall texture through it. You may really need to saturate the wall with the liquid starch to “fill in” all the texture on the wall, but I think it would still work. Maybe practice with a sample (you can order free samples from Walls Republic) before going for the whole space?

      Hope that helps, and let me know how it turns out!

  5. What a fun solution! We’re renters too. I’m curious what the wall looked like when the paper was removed. Was there any residue left behind? It doesn’t seem worth the effort if you have to do a bunch of wall treatment after you pull the wallpaper down. But I’m hoping that’s NOT the case!


    • Hi Stephanie!

      Thank you so much for commenting! As far as I could tell on my test strip, the wall looked perfect underneath! When I practiced the liquid starch with fabric first, it actually left lots of little threads and pills behind, but the paper pulled off clean with nothing left on the wall! I am planning on wiping the walls down with a wet sponge once it all comes down, but I’m not expecting to do much more than that. Fingers crossed it turns out just the way I am expecting! I’ll be taking it all down next Spring, and will absolutely do a follow-up on the blog, so keep your eyes out for it!

      Have a great weekend!

  6. Hi Megan,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I am moving to a new apartment and wanted to add some style to the place. I thought I was doomed when I found a wallpaper I loved but it said non-adhesive. Glad to hear from you that that’s actually a good thing. THis blog post has helped me so much and given me hope that I can actually do this. I do have one question about your experience. Would you say the wallpaper you got is thin? I’m only asking because of the two patterns I have in mind, one seems to be textured and could make it heavier. I’m mostly worried about it sliding down the wall after I install it because of the weight. Would you mind looking at these two links to the Amazon listings and telling me your opinion? I would really appreciate it!

    The second link is the one I was thinking would be too heavy. I thought about push pins at the top to hold it in place while it dries. Sorry for all the questions! I respect your opinion and would love to know what you think since you’ve done this before.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Lauren!

      Thanks so much for reaching out! I have to say, this wallpaper project may have raised a lot of eyebrows from my readers (and my Landlord!), but it was one of the most successful projects we did in our house. We actually JUST took the paper down (I’ll have a video coming soon!) and it peeled off perfectly, no residue, no paper tearing. It was so easy and I kinda wish I had used this technique in all our rooms. I can feel relatively confident recommending this project to other renters now 🙂

      It’s pretty hard to tell weight/texture via online, so I am not really comfortable giving you a recommendation on which one to go with. I will say that the paper I used was pretty thick and had texture on it and it hung without any issue. I think you might be surprised at how easily it goes up…I didn’t need to use thumbtacks or a second set of hands! If you’re really worried, maybe try and track down a sample before ordering full rolls?

      I would go with whichever pattern you like better and then troubleshoot if you’re having trouble hanging it!

      Sorry I can’t be more help, but I DO want to see how it looks once you’re done! Good luck!


  7. Hi, this may be a silly question but would this method work on mirrors? I have one wall that’s just a giant mirror in my dining area and I’m dying to cover it without ruining the glass. If this method won’t work, do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Jennette!

      It’s worth giving it a try! You usually can order samples from wallpaper companies for free, so I would do a test before ordering a bunch of rolls. It might slip and slide as you’re putting it up, but as it dries, there’s a good chance it will stick. Peel-and-stick wallpaper would certainly work, although it’s more expensive.

      Hope that helps! And if you do try it, please let me know how it turns out!

      • That’s a great idea, I’m going to do as you suggested and try ordering a sample to test out. I’ll let you know how it works out!

    • Hi Sylvia,

      When I did this project, our walls were painted with flat paint. I didn’t do any other prep to them besides wipe them down with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. I would always to a test before doing your entire wall(s).

      Good luck!

Leave a reply