Category Archives: Renter-Friendly Walls

One Room Challenge | Week 3: Wallpaper Installation

Welcome back to the One Room Challenge, friends! We’re on Week 3, which means we’re half-way done with this fun design challenge put together by Linda from Calling It Home! For those of you just catching up or stopping by for the first time, we are using these 6 weeks to transform our spare bedroom into a nursery for a baby boy we are expecting at the end of the year (you can catch up on the “before” photos and design board for the room here!) This is the week I’ve been waiting for since first putting the design boards together for this space. Not only am I excited to have a lot of the hard work in this room now behind me, but I’m beyond thrilled with the totally temporary transformations we have pulled off with a few simple rolls of paper! Yep…this week is all about wallpaper!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Closet Progress

As I showed you last week, Greg did a great job constructing a simple built-in in the closet (I’ll share lots more details about this built-in down the road)!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Once Greg finished, I could hardly wait to get in there and work on the prettier details that would help make it look more polished and complete. Namely, wallpaper and paint! The base of the built-in received two good coats of Rust-oleum’s semi-gloss white paint, all applied with a good-quality brush. I always have a can of this paint on hand because I really like its coverage, its durability, and its shade (although, little did I know  the shade would come back to haunt me a bit. More on that below!).

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Months and months and months ago, I came across two rolls of this red-and-white striped removable wallpaper on an end cap at Target. I had no plan for the paper at the time; but for the price, I snagged them knowing I would someday find a use for it. My original plan was to paint the inside of the closet, but when I realized how nicely the peel-and-stick paper worked with the other elements of the design, I knew I had finally found a way to put that paper to good use! In just a few hours, I had all the paper trimmed to size and installed to the inside of the closet. It was such a quick and easy project that makes a huge impact! (Pssst – Notice that our walls are textured! You can read more about applying wallpaper to textured walls here!)

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

I’ve said it before and it’s worth mentioning again: peel-and-stick wallpaper can be pretty expensive when trying to do an entire room. At regular price, these rolls are $30 for only 16 feet of paper! However, accent walls, backs of closet (like here!), and other small nooks are a great way to add a punch of pattern without breaking the bank! So whenever you see peel-and-stick paper for super cheap, grab it (even if you don’t have a plan for it!) I mean…talk about a fun closet!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Wall Progress

Here is a quick shot of where we left off last week. We had painted the ceiling a pretty shade of blue, and I was hinting at big things to come for the walls!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

As many of you regular readers know, I have fallen hard for the look and ease (yes, I said “ease”!) of wallpaper in recent months. Instead of painting the rest of this room to get the bright and fresh feel I was craving, I really wanted to do a wallpaper installation using this wallpaper. After ordering a sample and determining that yes, you can apply wallpaper to textured walls with liquid starch (read more about my process here!)…

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

…I was off and running.

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Well. Sorta. I made the mistake of assuming this wallpaper would go up in a matter of hours. The last time I installed wallpaper (in my Kansas home office), it literally went up in about 2-3 hours. This room and installation project was a different beast entirely, taking me about 8 hours across two days.

First, I was dealing with textured walls, which required a few extra steps to get the paper to adhere right. Second, I was covering A LOT more wall space than last time. Third, this paper had a trickier repeat/match than the last paper I used, so it took me a while to figure out how to efficiently cut and match the different strips of paper. And finally, I didn’t take the time to setup a work table in the nursery so I could cut, soap, hang, and smooth the paper without ever having to leave the room. I started by doing all the labor down in my office and walking each panel up the stairs to be hung. Ummmm…that was a horrible plan. Not only am I pretty pregnant right now (30 weeks, whoop whoop!), but not being in the room also led to some wrong cuts and waisted paper (can I blame pregnancy brain?!?). This lack of planning cost me a ton of energy and time. I think I only got about 5 strips hung on the first day (about 4 hours). The second day, I got smarter. I had Greg bring my office work table up to the nursery. I took a few minutes to fully figure out the pattern matching and length of my strips so I could cut all the paper much more efficiently and correctly. I then turned on some music, and worked in a pattern of cut –> soap –> hang –> smooth –> trim edges –> wipe clean. I got the entire rest of the room, including working around several corners, outlets and windows, done in about 4 more hours of work.

I talk some more about my experiences hanging wallpaper on textured walls in this post, but I wanted to mention one other thing that I don’t think is specific to textured walls. When I first applied the wallpaper with liquid starch, it would look really, really scary. See Exhibit A:

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

The paper was discolored; it reeeeaaally showed both the color and texture of the wall underneath it; it was splotched everywhere with excess liquid starch; and it just looked downright messy. But here is the wonderful thing about wallpaper: it’s incredibly durable and even sort of magic. After each panel I hung, I took a wet washcloth and wiped down the entire panel to smooth it tighter to the wall and wipe away any liquid starch residue. And after a few hours, once it was fully dry, the paper was pristine! No liquid starch, no finger prints, no wall color showing underneath. See Exhibit B:

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

I mentioned on Tuesday that when wallpapering on textured walls, you can sometimes see the texture of the wall underneath AND it can be tricky to get tight seems. Sure…when you are up on the paper really, really close, you can see these imperfections. But as you step back and take in the whole space, they are really hard to see.

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

While it took a bit more time than I was expecting AND the installation is far from perfect, the change is so wonderful and dramatic, I’d happily do it all over again!

The Unexpected!

With every room makeover, there are unexpected things that come up: both happy- and not-so-happy accidents! Already we’ve encountered a few that I thought were worth mentioning!

Patriotic Papers

The first is a happy accident, at least for me! When you look at various design elements on a design board, sometimes you can’t fully envision how things will look together once installed in the room. I could tell the paint and two wallpapers would well work together in terms of size and scale, but it wasn’t until I saw this picture below that I discovered another happy little accident!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Not only does the red-striped paper nod to the striped stars in the white/silver wallpaper; but when all hung together, there is a subtle (I think!) red-white-blue and/or stars-and-stripes theme going on too. Being a military family, living in a military town (and considering this room will ultimately have a “super hero” theme), I couldn’t help but smile when I saw it all together. It feels so perfect and meant to be!

Not All Whites Are the Same

The next accident was not so happy and one I should really have anticipated. Friends: all whites are not the same. You are all saying in your head: “no duh, Megan!” For some reason, I thought I’d be able to use two different wallpapers and a white paint and coincidentally have it all match the white trim already in the room. Do you see where this is going? Once the wallpaper was up and the built-in was painted, it was painfully clear that the trim all around the rest of the room had a yellow under-tone to it. In the two pictures below, you can see what I am talking about.

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

I was tempted to just leave it; and honestly, in other rooms and at other times, I might have. But I know I will be spending HOURS in this room, sitting in a chair staring at the walls. And I knew it would bother me if I didn’t fix it. So after some sanding and taping, I gave the trim in the room a coat of bright white paint that better matches the two wallpapers and built-in. I was quite irritated that I didn’t see this one coming, but boy did it make a huge difference once it was done!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Not only is the color such a better match, but the trim was more scuffed up than I realized. With everything painted bright white, it looks so fresh and clean! Worth the time and effort for sure!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

No Doubt It’s a Nursery

The last thing is neither a happy or not-so-happy accident; just one more thing I didn’t quite anticipate. I honestly love, love, love the star wallpaper. It’s so “me,” works with the theme so wonderfully, and it camouflages our ugly brown walls in such a great way. What I didn’t anticipate was how “baby” it really took the room. Now, I know…it is a nursery, after all; but I really didn’t expect the room to read soooooo “baby” once the wallpaper was up. Remember, one of my goals was to create a room that would grow with Baby Boy. I honestly don’t mind since we will likely be moving out of this house by the time he is 2.5,  but it’s a good lesson for me to learn all the same!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

I spent some time reading the Week 3 updates from the official participants yesterday, and it seems like Week 3 is the one where many of us have our doubts and meltdowns from exhaustion and stress. While I wasn’t particularly stressed this week, all this wallpapering and painting was a pretty big job to take on myself, and I found myself exhausted and repeatedly frustrated (like when I went up and down the stairs probably 1,000 times in 4 hours!). I am pretty excited that most of the really hard, messy, and time-consuming tasks for this room are behind us (only some more closet construction lies ahead), and I now can turn my attention to playing with all my fun fabrics and start to bring the design together through accessories! While I hunker down at my sewing machine this week, don’t forget to check in with all the other participants playing along this time around! You can check out all the other room makeovers here!orc-logo

I’d love to hear what you think of the progress we’ve made this last week! What’s your favorite part of the room so far. I am personally loving the interaction of the paint, wallpaper and blue check fabric for the windows and can’t wait to see those three finally come together soon! Happy weekend, friends! See you back here next week!

5 weeks to transform 1 room = The One Room Challenge | Come see how I am transforming this bland and boring rental bedroom into a super-star themed baby boy nursery!

Megan Signature

Can You Wallpaper Textured Walls?

It’s a question I’ve gotten from quite a few readers in the wake of all my wallpaper-related posts over the last year: “Can You Wallpaper Textured Walls?” My answer has always been “I don’t see why not!” but I never had textured walls of my own to experiment on and say for sure. Then we moved into this house that has ONLY textured walls; and when I reached out to a removable wallpaper company (that will remain nameless) for a partnership, they required the walls not only be cleaned and primed, but also smooth and texture-free. “Hmmm…maybe wallpaper won’t work on textured walls?” I thought. So I decided to experiment myself!  The short and quick answer is “Yes, wallpaper does work on textured walls!” (thank goodness!!!). But I’m guessing you might want some more details than that, huh? Read on to find out what you need to know when attempting to wallpaper textured walls!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

When we moved out of our last house and I successfully peeled away our renter-friendly wallpaper installation in about 5 minutes, I proclaimed wallpaper as my new go-to for covering up unsightly walls and adding personality to a room without the hassle of paint. I think I may have even said to myself: “I may never paint again!” But then we moved into this house with all textured walls, and I started to panic a bit. Here is a good shot of what ALL of our walls look like (Note – they are also all painted with eggshell-finish paint):

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Before assuming wallpaper wouldn’t work or investing in paper that might not, I decided to play with a bunch of scraps I had on-hand from previous projects. What I saw with the small scraps encouraged me enough to give both peel-and-stick wallpaper and traditional wallpaper a try on our textured walls! Here’s what I found…

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper on Textured Walls

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is big right now, and I have successfully used in on a number of occasions. Below is some from Target around our fireplace in our Kansas house. (Note – these were perfectly smooth, clean walls.)

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Before committing full sheets of this somewhat-expensive paper to our textured walls, I did a quick test. Below are samples from Spoonflower (1), Target (2) and Walls Need Love (3). All three stuck to the walls without any issue, but there are a few things I’d like to point out. The Spoonflower wallpaper (1), while very expensive, is also VERY thick and textured. As such, you can neither see nor feel the wall texture underneath; I also think the dark blue color helps hide the wall imperfections. The Target (2) wallpaper is the thinest and “flimsiest” of the group, yet it too stuck to the wall without any issue. If you look closely however, you can see the wall texture under the paper. The Walls Need Love (3) paper is in between the two. It has a slightly heavier weight than the Target paper, and I don’t feel like the texture under the paper is AS noticeable.

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

1 | 2 | 3

After leaving the paper samples up for a few weeks, I felt confident enough the paper would stick and stay on the textured walls, and therefor decided to do a full application of the Target rolls I’ve had in my stash for a while.

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

I’m not going to show the full closet today (you’ll have to come back on Thursday to see!), but here is the Target peel-and-stick wallpaper applied to the textured walls inside of the nursery closet. Having applied a lot of peel-and-stick paper to walls, drawers, etc over the years, I can say that it went up exactly as it does on any other surface. The seams match up fine, and I had absolutely no issue with it sticking or staying.

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

If you look veeeery closely below, you can tell that the wall under the paper is indeed textured. However, it is hardly noticeable from a “normal” distance; the paper honestly does a great job camouflaging the ugly walls underneath it!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

In conclusion, this single project tells me that yes indeed, peel-and-stick wallpaper can work on textured walls. I will caution you, however, to ALWAYS test your walls and the specific paper you want to use before doing a complete installation (you can order swatches and samples from most wallpaper companies). Peel-and-stick wallpaper is expensive (and not the easiest thing to put up), so apply a sample to your walls and allow it to stay for a few days before investing your time and money!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Traditional Wallpaper on Textured Walls

Peel-and-stick papers do have their advantages, but when it comes down to overall cost and ease of installation, I actually prefer regular wallpaper. In our last home, I installed non-pasted, normal wallpaper to our non-textured walls with liquid starch. It worked out so brilliantly and came down so quickly that I knew I’d be doing it again!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Unfortunately, my initial experiments using non-pasted wallpaper scraps and the process I detailed in THIS post didn’t turn out so well. Traditional wallpaper can be a bit heavy, and I was having a hard time getting the paper to “grab” to the wall with all the rivets, dents, and bumps. Not to be deterred however, I changed my methods just a bit and eventually got it to work! First, let me show you traditional wallpaper on the textured walls and then I’ll reveal how I did it if you want to try it yourself!

First, here is a scrap of traditional, non-pasted wallpaper applied to our textured walls with liquid starch. Straight on from the front, all looks fine and dandy! It’s smooth, it’s secure…

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

…and it’s still a totally temporary installation. Here is the paper coming off the textured walls in a single sheet, leaving no paper behind!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

However, below is a shot that perfectly details some of the “issues” I encountered with the textured walls. As you can see, this wallpaper is fairly lightweight (compared to what I used last time); and as such, the texture really, really shows through the paper (especially on the reflective, metallic areas). Note also that the seam between two sheets of paper isn’t perfect.

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Here is what I mean. Because of all the bumps, ridges, and grooves of the textured walls, getting the sheets of wallpaper to line up perfectly and make a seamless transition is pretty tough. In fact, near impossible.

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Even with super precise measuring and lining up the pattern, there will inevitably be bumps and gaps you just can’t prevent.

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

I had a strong suspicion that the “problems” I was having was more due to the white, light-weight texture of the paper rather than the walls, so I experimented with some heavier, darker, more textured paper. Using some leftover grasscloth wallpaper (from THIS project), I experimented again; and this time, I had absolutely no issue with the wall showing through or matching up the seems (since the paper was thicker).

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

Oh – and that one installation tip I wanted to mention? When I installed the paper in my office back in Kansas, I applied the liquid starch to the wall and put the dry sheets of paper onto the wet wall, making it a very quick and easy installation. That same method didn’t work this time around. To get the paper to stick on the textured walls, I had to apply starch to BOTH the paper and the walls. It took a bit more time (and a bit more starch); but it eventually yielded the same renter-friendly results! Phew!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

So in conclusion, I will say this. Yes, you can apply traditional, non-pasted wallpaper to textured walls. Thicker, darker papers will do a better job at concealing the texture of the wall underneath, and you will likely need more starch to get the job done. That said, the lighter-color and -weight paper still worked pretty well. In fact, I found that the minor “imperfections” mentioned above (texture showing through, slight bumps in the seams) weren’t a deal breaker at all – so be sure to come back on Thursday to see how a larger installation of the star paper turned out!

I realize this post isn’t full of the prettiest pictures, but I do hope it helps out those of you who are loving the wallpaper trend but have been hesitant to give it a try because of your textured walls. I can’t emphasize enough that you should always, always, always test a sample of the paper you want to use on your walls before doing a full installation. But based on my few experiments using both peel-and-stick and traditional wallpaper+liquid starch, you should be able to enjoy the wallpaper trend in your home too!

You're loving the wallpaper trend, but all your walls are textured! Will wallpaper work on your textured walls! Click here to find out!

As you might expect, this last week has been ALLLLLL about wallpaper. Back here on Thursday, I’m showing you how I changed the look of the nursery in a really dramatic way using…you guessed it…wallpaper! See you then!

Megan Signature

Hit or Miss? Renter-Friendly Walls

Now that I’ve shown you how our entire Kansas house came together, it’s time to start showing you how it all came apart! It’s always hard to see the rooms I worked so hard to create come down, be disassembled piece by piece, and boxed up and shipped off to our next home. But that is our reality, and one that we’ve become very, very used to. In fact, the removability and movability of everything we own and do drives most of our design decisions and furniture purchases. Many of you recall when we moved into this home last Fall, I took on a friendly bet to not paint any walls. But rather than just live with bland walls for a year, I took the bet one step further and challenged myself to see what all I could do without paint. Over the course of the year, I did 5 different renter-friendly wall treatments in our home using (1) removable wallpaper, (2) regular wallpaper, (3) wrapping paper, (4) cardstock, and (5) fabric. Each of them accomplished the mission of providing color, pattern, and/or visual interest to the space, but the question always remained: was the wall treatment truly renter friendly? As in, did it easily come down and leave the walls in “like new” condition?  Today, I’m showing you how each wall treatment came down and sharing a few tips, tricks, and things to consider if you want to try them in your own home!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

1. Removable (Peel & Stick) Wallpaper

The very first project I did when we moved in last Fall was to apply this removable peel-and-stick wallpaper around our fireplace. You can read the full tutorial HERE!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

The results were pretty spectacular…stripes just have a way of packing a powerful punch in any space! They were easily one of the most asked about things in our home when guests came over and really helped the room feel complete. You can see the final Living Room HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Taking the peel-and-stick wallpaper down was as easy as I expected! Just like peeling shelf-liner off a shelf or drawer, it came off easily and in single sheets, although considerably wrinkled and stretched. I have been asked by a lot if peel-and-stick wallpaper is re-usable, and this experience confirmed my suspicions that removable wallpaper is a one-time use product (at least this version from Target). Not only would you need to hold onto the paper backing in order to roll it back up…but like vinyl, this type of wallpaper pulls and stretches pretty easily, making it pretty difficult to use again with a good result. My used wallpaper went into the trash!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

And the walls? Pristine. No peeled paint. No tacky residue. No discoloration. Not a lick of evidence that there was something on this wall. This peel-and-stick wallpaper was indeed 100% renter-friendly!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Would I do it again? Absolutely. It looks great, is somewhat easy to install (although you will likely need a helper!), is available in SO many colors and patterns, and comes down perfectly. To me, the only downside is the cost for something that is a one-time use product and doesn’t cover very much wall space. This roll of wallpaper was $15 on clearance, but is regularly $30…and I had JUST enough to do this feature around the fireplace. If you want to wallpaper an entire wall or an entire room, it will be a significant investment. I personally think peel-and-stick wallpaper is great for smaller projects like a feature wall (as I did here), in a small nook, or on a piece of furniture.

2. Regular Wallpaper with Liquid Starch

I was determined to come up with a way to hang regular wallpaper in a renter-friendly way. I had seen the trick of using liquid starch and fabric on walls, so I figured it would also work with regular (NON-PASTED) wallpaper. After some experimenting on a small section first (always, always test before doing an entire wall/room!), I determined liquid starch would indeed work! You can read the full tutorial HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

I wallpapered the top 1/2 of my office walls using just 2 rolls of regular wallpaper; and to say the effect was transformative is an understatement! You can see the full office reveal HERE!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

A few weeks ago, I shared a video of how quickly and easily the wallpaper came down. You can see the wallpaper removal in action HERE – I’m still so giddy over how it worked! In a nutshell, the wallpaper peeled off cleanly and in perfect sheets. In about 5 minutes, I had all the paper down in the entire office; and unlike the peel-and-stick versions, the sheets were flat and wrinkle free. I was able to stack them up, roll them up, and box them up for our next home!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

And the walls? CLEAN…with no evidence of the liquid starch OR the wallpaper! I peeled off the wallpaper and did nothing else to the walls. Here is the room the day we moved out:

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Would I do it again? Absolutely. As I mentioned when I shared the removal video, compared to everything else I’ve done in previous homes and in this home, this wall treatment method is by far the easiest and my favorite. We’ve repainted a lot of walls, which I don’t find too hard. But to have a room look this great for the whole time we were here…to then peel off the paper, pack it up, and walk away without having to paint, clean, patch or peel anything else was nothing short of truly, truly awesome. Now…regular wallpaper can be expensive. But the rolls tend to be longer than their peel-and-stick counterparts, and since you can use the paper over and over again, the investment is a little easier to swallow. Keep your eye on flash sale sites (like Joss and Main and One Kings Lane) to find good prices; and pretty, pretty, pretty please use NON-PASTED paper only and test a small area before doing an entire wall/room in your own home!

3. Wrapping Paper

The next method I tried was to hang wrapping paper in our laundry room. To do so, I originally started with double-stick tape but finished the job with thumb tacks because it was easier. You can read the full tutorial HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

A lot of you love the story about Greg being the one to encourage me to keep going with the flamingos when I was tempted to pull it all down midway through the project. He was so right, because the flamingo paper detail turned out to be so good in this little space. You can see the full laundry room reveal HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Somehow I missed getting some pictures of the paper coming down and the final result, so you will just have to visualize how it went. While the wrapping paper can be a bit unwieldy (because of its width and length), pulling out the tacks and pulling off the double-stick tape were both quick and easy. The double-stick tape was easy to get off the walls and the paper; and as you might expect, the thumb tacks did leave teeny tiny holes in the wall. Unlike nails and screws, the tac holes were so tiny you could barely see them…so we didn’t bother filling them. That said, if you live in a strict all-holes-must-be-filled rental, then you may want to go the double-stick-tape route for installation.

Would I do it again? Sure! Wrapping paper is not only easy to find and available in pretty much any pattern and color, but it is super, super cheap. I used two rolls for this laundry room wall, each about $3.50. We got a lot of personality and pizzazz for less than $10! BUT…wrapping paper does not have the durability that wallpaper does. It rips easily, creases easily, and is not at all resistant to water splashes. Also, if you use tacks or tape as I did, the paper will not cling to the wall the way wallpaper does, so mentally prepare for a somewhat different look. That said, it is a great way to dress up small rooms, backs of closets, drawers, and other small spaces!

4. Cardstock with Masking Tape

What started as an art installation project turned into an entire wall feature on a whim.  To give our playroom a major dose of color, I took a stack of ombre cardstock, folded them in at each corner, and secured them to the wall in a mountain-scape design using plain ol’ masking tape. You can read the whole tutorial HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

While a bit wild and crazy, even for me, this $10 wall treatment certainly provided a major WOW factor in our downstairs playroom. You can see the full playroom reveal HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Pulling the squares down was easy and mindless work. It only took me a bit of time because I was pulling the tape off each square and stacking them to save for future use (because a brilliant reader had the suggestion to use them as party table or photo booth backdrop!!!) Originally, I used masking tape because I had it on hand. In the end however, it was the perfect solution because it held wonderfully (not a single square ever fell off the wall!) and it pulled off cleanly, leaving no residue behind.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Would I do it again? Sure! Admittedly, this wall feature was casual, fun and playful but not something I would do in a “real” home or for the long term. I think the concept is great for play spaces, kids rooms or for party displays, but lacks the sophistication the other wall methods provide. Still…we got a lot of totally temporary color and pattern on the walls for just $10. It all came down clean, and I was able to pack them up and keep them for future use. If you’re looking for a creative and super cheap way to color up your walls, go for it!

5. Fabric with Liquid Starch

Last but not least, I finally gave the liquid starch + fabric trick a try (all these homes and I’ve never tried it!). To create a feature spot in Henry’s bedroom for his jungle prints, I used a two yard length of $7/yard duck cloth in a jungle green color. I used liquid starch to secure it flat to the wall…creating a wallpaper effect but with a fabric texture. You can read the full tutorial HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Aesthetically, I LOOOOOOVED this spot in Henry’s room. The bright green texture on the wall, framed out with basic trim, really helped his prints pop and created such a nice display above his dressers. As we sat in bed and read books every night, I would look at this display and just smile because it looked so fresh, sharp and smart! You can see the full bedroom reveal HERE.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

However, I am sad to report that the removal of the green fabric didn’t go nearly as well as I hoped or expected. Yes, the fabric peeled right off without any trouble, and no paint peeled off with it. I was able to run the fabric through the wash (to get all the starch out), fold it up, and pack it up with the rest of my fabric for a future project. However, the wall was a pretty good mess. I tried my hardest to capture it in photos…hopefully you can see that the fabric left behind hundreds of tiny green pills and threads across every single inch that was covered. Further, the green fabric combined with the liquid starch left a slight green tinge and a few smudges on the walls.

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

I probably spent more time scrubbing this section of wall (with water and a textured sponge) than I did removing every other wall treatment COMBINED! It was frustrating and somewhat unproductive work, as I’m not sure I ever got the wall fully pristine again. However, we did pass inspection without an issue, so I guess it was still a renter-friendly “success.”

In an effort to not paint any walls, this blogger challenged herself to transform her walls in completely renter-friendly ways. A year later, everything is down off the walls and she's revealing what worked and what didn't!

Would I do it again? Maybe, but probably not. I think there are a couple factors here that lead to the pilling and color smudges. Although I washed my fabric before applying it to the walls, maybe Duck cloth wasn’t the best fabric choice? The walls were also painted with flat paint (eeek!) so they didn’t wipe clean the way semi-gloss walls may have. At least in my experience with these 5 different wall options, this one proved the biggest headache by a long shot.

Although my experience wasn’t the best, I’m not sure fabric on the walls is completely out as a renter-friendly option. It is somewhat inexpensive (compared to wallpaper) and easy to work with (compared to wrapping paper). The colors and styles are endless, and fabric is easy to find. If you’re in a rental that will get freshly painted no matter what (like base housing often is)…sure…give it a go! I think if I were to use fabric on the walls again, I would probably secure it with staples and a staple gun (like I did below!) rather than using the liquid starch trick.

North Carolina Final Command Center

All in all, I have to say that my renter-friendly walls challenge proved a very successful one! I was able to satisfy my need for color in our home by using an array of methods other than paint. And most of them came down quicker and easier than repainting a wall would have been. I still believe that painting your walls remains one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to get color in your home. But when that isn’t an option, take heart that there ARE indeed other good alternatives!

I’d love to hear which method was your favorite! And if you have tried one (or more!) of these methods since seeing a post here on THIHM, I’d love to know your experiences. Share in your comments below!

Megan Signature

Hit or Miss? Renter-Friendly Wallpaper Removal

You guys! I am so excited for today’s post!

I applied wallpaper to our rental...now you get to see how easily it came down! Follow the link to see the wallpaper removal in action!

How many of you remember when I applied wallpaper to our rental last Fall?

Renter Friendly Wallpaper Installation

The effect was certainly dramatic and eye-popping in my home office…

Check out this modern home office and craft space full of smart storage solutions, a hardworking layout, and vibrant design details!

But…

Raise your hand if you seriously doubted the wallpaper would come off as easily and cleanly as I promised?

How many of you wanted to try it but have been waiting to see if it really was a true, renter-friendly solution?

Who is convinced I spent hours and hours removing wallpaper in an effort to return our walls to the original condition we found them?

Well…watch my very first video here on the blog (eeeeek!) to see for yourself!

I kid you not, all the wallpaper in my office was down in about 5 minutes. There was NO residue or paper left on the walls; and each and every sheet peeled off in perfect form. In fact, I rolled it all up and have every intention of using it again!

This wallpaper project goes down as one of my most successful renter-friendly DIYs ever. In fact, I’m so smitten with this technique for changing up walls without using paint, that I just might use it in every room and every home from now on! #kiddingnotkidding

Whether you are a renter or not but have been craving the look of wallpaper in your space, I now can recommend with confidence that you give THIS method a try! (However, pretty please test a small piece on your walls before doing a full installation!) There are a lot of great wallpaper companies out there to find awesome patterns; I am currently crushing on the variety and options over at Graham and Brown! From modern to traditional and across a variety of price points and colors, you will be sure to find something that works in your home!

I’m going to do a full “Hit and Miss” post of all my renter-friendly wall projects in a few weeks, but I couldn’t wait to show you how well this one turned out since I know there’s been so much interest! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you back here next week!

Megan Signature

To Paint or Not to Paint? 10 Questions to Consider Before Painting Your Rental

It’s certainly no secret around here that I 100% believe in the power of paint to transform a space…especially a rental! Rentals are often bland, boring, lacking in architectural details AND are usually identical to others in the same building or on the same street. Paint is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to make a dramatic change…and with a bit of work and a few cans of white paint or primer, can also be “un-done” prior to moving out. Despite all of these wonderful qualities though, I don’t necessarily believe that painting your rental is the answer to making your house “your home” in every scenario. Today, I wanted to share how Greg and I typically go about deciding whether we will paint or not when we move into a new space…and offer you 10 questions to consider before you open the can of paint in your own home!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

It might surprise you to know that we’ve only painted 50% of the homes we’ve lived in: our second apartment in Okinawa, our California condo, and our Cape Cod-style home in North Carolina. These three homes had a two key things in common: 1) we were going to be there for a long-ish time, and 2) we hadn’t painted in the previous house so we weren’t exhausted by the labor and cost of it all! I had a good time walking down memory lane for this post and was even able to dig up photographic proof of our painting escapades!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

THE POWER OF PAINT!

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of whether to paint or not, let’s first look at a few examples of how truly transformative paint can be. All three of these spaces are from our last home in North Carolina where we painted the entire house. I took a lot of pride not only in the spaces I created, but also that our house looked and felt different than every other house on the street (because we were in base housing…every single house was the same…and that was a big deal to me).  In my mind, none of these spaces would have looked or felt the same with the standard yellowish walls we started with!

In our master bedroom, we painted to walls a blue-ish grey that played off the fabrics in the room perfectly…

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

In our dining room, we did a two-tone paint treatment with cobalt blue and white…

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

And in our living room, we took on our biggest painting project ever with horizontal grey-on-grey stripes! By far, the stripes were ALWAYS the first thing people mentioned when they walked into our home! (Look at 1 year old Henry!!!)

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

THE POWER OF FURNISHINGS AND ACCESSORIES!

While I do think the room transformations above are spectacular, I think it’s also valuable to see some examples of how color, style, and personality can be brought into a space through OTHER things! As I said, we didn’t paint our first apartment in Okinawa, our Virginia rental or our current Kansas house. And as I look through these room transformations, even I am amazed at how much can be done with white walls!

Even with light walls and carpet and a white couch, this living room felt vibrant and colorful in thanks to pillows and picture mats!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

When there is no color on the wall, you have the opportunity to bring in color on almost everything else (which is great for renters who move a lot!). Chairs, window treatments and accessories provide ALL the color in our Virginia dining space.

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

And of course…we haven’t painted our current rental! As I get more and more design savvy, I’m learning that neutral walls really allow you to bring in lots of different colors and patterns since nothing has to compete with the wall color. We had no plans to paint this year so I REALLY experimented with other ways to bring in color to these neutral rooms…and I think I succeeded!

I haven’t shown you the full room reveal yet, but here is a glimpse of our “final” Kansas living room! Can I box this room up and ship it just as it is, please?

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

As most of you know, the playroom wall proved quite the challenge. Who knew a stack of blue paper could be so transformative!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

Henry’s room is brought to life with a plethora of colorful accessories that are able to really shine because there is no other color(s) competing with them!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

10 Questions to Consider Before Painting Your Rental

Now that I’ve made the case for both painting your walls AND leaving them neutral, here are 10 things Greg and I often consider when deciding whether or not to paint!

1. Are you allowed to paint?

Before you even start to look at paint chips, you need to determine if your landlord or rental agency allows you to paint. We have never come across a lease that says we can’t, but I’ve been told by friends and readers that they have! The first place to check is your lease – it will usually state what is and isn’t allowed for your walls (and may even offer some “pre-approved” colors that you wouldn’t have to paint back.) Even if your lease says “no painting,” it doesn’t hurt to double check with your landlord or agency. We’ve found that MOST will say yes, as long as you paint the walls back to their original color before moving out.

2. How long will you live in this rental?

This one is a big one for us! Painting can be a lot of work and a good chunk of change (depending on how many rooms you are painting), so you want to make sure your time and financial investments are worth it. There is no “one size fits all rule” on this. Only you can decide what length of time makes it worth painting your walls. For us, we don’t even consider painting if we’re going to be in a rental a year or less. I’ll never say “never” on this one – because you better bet I almost painted a wall in this house – but we typically save our painting projects for homes we will be in for the long-term (relatively speaking).

3. How much will it cost?

Yes…in the grand scheme of home improvements, painting is relatively low-cost and easy. And the transformative effect you get for less than $100 is often worth it. However, for renters, buying paint and supplies (and more paint and supplies upon move out) is almost always a sunk cost. You will most likely not be “investing into the home” with your paint job…as any changes you make will most likely have to be undone and/or painted over. You have to decide if spending a couple hundred of dollars on paint/supplies is worth the overall effect of having your walls a different color. Again…there is no right answer here. There are times when we say “Yes, the sunk cost is worth it to us!” And there are times we say “Let’s save the money.”

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

4. How inconvenient is it to paint?

I have been known to say “You’ll be surprised how fast painting goes!” to friends or family who are thinking about painting but fretting over the labor, chaos and time involved. It is indeed true that I am continually surprised at how quickly painting CAN go, but when you factor in shopping, setup, rearranging, taping, painting and clean up, the whole production can also cause a bit of chaos around the house (especially if you have kids!) When deciding if you should paint or not, consider how much of a disruption it will be and if it is worth it. I am often of the mindset the the temporary chaos is worth the long-term enjoyment of a new wall color, but that might not be true for your living situation.

To significantly decrease the hassle of painting, we ALWAYS paint empty rooms before our stuff arrives (and we re-paint after all of our stuff is gone). If we know we are going to paint, we schedule the delivery our our stuff for 2-3 days after we get the keys (and on the backend, we schedule checkout 2-3 days after our stuff is hauled away). Not having to move furniture away from walls and/or protect it saves us a lot of time and worry; and it helps us get the paint on the wall a lot quicker. Plus, when our stuff finally arrives, we can turn right to getting settled rather than having to hold off in order to paint.

Need to get a paint job done fast? See my tips for getting a whole house painted in just 4 days!

5. Do you have to paint it back?

I’ve already mentioned this a few times, because at least for us, it’s a big one. If your landlord or rental agency says that you can paint, be sure to clarify whether you will be expected to return the walls to their original color before you move out. In EVERY home we’ve lived in, the answer to that questions has been YES. Which means that in all three homes we painted, we also had to paint them back before checking out and getting our security deposit back.

Why is this such a big deal? For one, buying more paint and primer and tape and trays and plastic is kind of the LAST thing you want to buy heading into a move (when there are a lot of costs associated with your NEW place). Also, packing up, cleaning up, and moving out of a rental is a lot of work. Add in painting and it makes a busy and exhausting period even more so. Lastly, when you’re moving out, you kind of don’t care anymore. When you’re moving in and putting your own colors on the wall, it’s fun and exciting and you don’t mind the work. But when you’re on the way out, it just feels laborious and a nuisance. In all three apartments where we painted, the days leading up to our checkout were exhausting and a ton of work (which is why we often don’t paint our NEXT house – we’re still recovering from painting upon move out!). I still say painting our entire house in North Carolina was worth it, but repainting all the rooms was NOT fun when we just wanted to be gone!

That’s me getting ready to paint over my beloved stripes!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

6. How bad is the current color?

Most of our decisions about whether or not to paint revolve how long we will be in a certain rental rather than having to camouflage an ugly color (our rentals have always been some version of white, which I can usually work with.) In fact, part of the reason we decided to rent our current house was because it was painted with neutral walls throughout the house. However, you might find yourself in a rental property (especially if it’s a house owned by another family) where the wall color(s) really bother you and/or seriously clash with your belongings. Part of deciding whether or not to paint includes evaluating how bad the current color is and if you can live with it in light of the other things I’ve already mentioned (cost, length of time). Sometimes you may not be entirely up for the cost, labor, inconvenience, but if painting an offensive color allows you to enjoy your home and your belongings more…it might be worth it!

7. Can you add color without painting the entire room?

Painting a single wall is an entirely different ballgame than painting an entire room. Likewise with painting JUST the ceiling, stripes, or the top/bottom half. This approach allows you to add a potent splash of color or pattern without the time, hassle, and paint required to do an entire room. Sure accent walls are a bit “out,” but if you’re living in a space that desperately needs a punch of something, just one (or part of a) wall might be the ticket!

8. Can you use something else on the walls instead?

A lot of you might remember back when we moved into this house that I took a friendly bet with Greg’s buddy that I wouldn’t paint this year. Admittedly, it wasn’t fair for me to take the bet because I KNEW we weren’t going to paint (because we’re here for just a year!), but I did use the bet as an excuse to REALLY stretch my limits to find and try techniques and ideas for adding color to walls without paint. Wouldn’t you know it that after trying wallpaper, fabric, wrapping paper, cardstock, and peel-and-stick wallpaper, that I really didn’t miss paint that much after all! These days, there are so many removable and renter-friendly products on the market. If you really hate your bland walls but don’t want to paint, there are other options!

Be sure to check out these 9 things renters can put on their walls!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

9. Hire it out or DIY?

My sister uses a phrase that I have now adopted and use pretty regularly myself: you either have time or money! When it comes to painting, this phrase definitely holds true. You can save yourself SOME money by painting yourself; or you can save yourself SOME headache and hassle by hiring it out. In all cases but one, we have done the painting ourselves. Usually, the cost savings of hiring a professional is worth the 2-3 days of labor and chaos. On the other hand, the one time I paid for it a room to be painted, the entire room was done in 2 hours and put back together by bedtime. Worth.every.penny. Only your budget, your lifestyle, and your desire to have the job done right and/or fast can help you decide!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

10. Does the wall color conflict with your vision?

Last but not least, wall color is indeed a valuable and important aspect of room design. It’s not only the backdrop for all the things you will place in the room, but it can also help set the tone and mood of a space. If you have a VERY specific design plan in mind for a certain space, you might indeed find yourself with a paint brush in hand. There will be times when you can make a less-than-ideal wall color work with your design vision, and others when the clashing and mis-matching just can’t be fixed, ignored or lived-with. If you just can’t pull your vision together within the confines of your current wall color, change it. It’s only paint. If you can justify the cost, inconvenience or other aspects discussed here, paint it, bring your vision to life, and be happy!

In Conclusion!

In our last home, Henry’s nursery was painted (as shown below left) with tone-on-tone stripes and a lime green ceiling. When I started to update his room as he got older, I tried to make everything work with the current paint treatment. But as element after element came together, I found myself pining for a clean, bright white room. After weeks of trying to make it work (and with only a year left in the house!), I decided to have the room painted fresh white for $100 plus the cost of paint. Sure my decision went against my pro-DIY/not for any time less than a year mantra, but having bright white walls completed my vision for the space and allowed me to enjoy it and all the projects I had made much more fully. It made me happy every single day I went in there; so for me and at that time, it was the best decision ever.

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

I tell this story only to illustrate that deciding whether or not to paint is not black/white or a one-size-fits-all formula. As you work through some of these questions, you may find that not only is there no easy or right answer, but they don’t all hold equal weight all the time or with every house. All the various aspects of our homes and our home life have different values to each of us. What is important to some may not matter to others and vice versa.  There are times when the cost or inconvenience is prohibitive, but you just can’t get over the wall color…so you find a way to make it happen. There are other times when the color isn’t your favorite, but you can make it worth for a certain period of life or until the next house. For us, painting is a tool in our Renter’s Toolbox to help us transform bland and boring rentals into spaces that feel more like us and more like home. But it’s not a tool we use every time. Painting does require an investment of time and money, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to us to spend either.

Friends of mine here in Kansas know that if we were staying here longer, we’d likely be investing in some paint this summer. While neutral, the walls in this home have a slight pink undertone that drive me bonkers. Even though I don’t love them, I’ve done my best to work with them for our time here (knowing the “next house” is just a few months away has helped!) We don’t yet know what our walls will look like in our next home or if we will be painting or not…but now you know the things we’ll be considering when that time comes!

I’m checking out for the weekend! Next week I’ll be sharing our Basement “final” reveal as well as starting my Cricut Explore for Home Decor series! See you then!

Megan Signature