I’ve had wallpaper on the brain…and in my hands, on my furniture, and on my walls…lately! I love working with wallpaper in unexpected ways, as well as figuring out creative ways to get the wallpaper look without the hassle and permanence of the real deal! For all of you who love the look of wallpaper but are unable or unwilling to paste paper to your walls, I’ve rounded up 12 of my favorite (and completely renter-friendly!) projects to help you get your pattern fix!

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters

1. Transform a Lamp Base. Use removable/repositionable wallpaper to add personality and style to otherwise boring lamp bases. This technique works best for lamps with straight and simple shapes. Since it’s removable, it’s easy to change out as your decor or mood changes! (Used here: (this one is from Spoonflower)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Lamp

2. Dress Up Cardboard Boxes. Basic cardboard boxes can become gorgeous and functional home accents by simply covering them in metallic wallpaper. Pre-pasted wallpaper makes this project a breeze: just cut, wet, and wrap! This is a great project for using up samples or leftovers from a bigger project. (Used here: this one from Lowes)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Boxes

3. Create Graphic Pop Art. When paired with wood, paint, and clear resin, large wallpaper samples or scraps can become eye-popping, one-of-a-kind works of art that come down and move when you do. This technique can be customized to suit any decor style or color scheme by swapping out the colors, papers, and shapes. (Used here: free samples from Walls Republic)

 12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Art

4. Give Furniture a (Temporary) Face Lift. Need to quickly and easily change the look of a piece of furniture? Maybe you temporarily moved it to a new room, and it no longer matches; or you are really craving a new look but hubby won’t let you paint it. Cover the entire piece or just sections of it (in this case, the drawers!), with removable/repositionable wallpaper to give it a temporary update. Same as the lamp project above, this works best on furniture with clean, straight and simple lines! (Used here: this wallpaper from Spoonflower)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Drawers

5. Create a Focal Point. If your space is feeling a bit one dimensional or needs a distinct focal point, consider introducing a new look through wallpaper. Instead of on the wall, cover a main piece of furniture in durable and textured wallpaper to create a visually interesting accent for your space. Wallpaper is a fun and often easier alternative to paint or stain, allowing you to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for your home with ease! (Used here: this paper from Walls Republic)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Trunk

6. Make Your Own Wall Decals. Wall decals are a great way to get the wallpaper look without investing in rolls and rolls of expensive paper. From a single roll, cut shapes from pre-pasted wallpaper (using an e-cutter is best!) and secure them to the wall in an interesting, repeating pattern with water. When it’s time to go, the decals peel right off without any fancy steamers or chemicals, and leave no residue behind! (Used here: this one from Lowes)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Wall Decals

While I love a good wallpaper any day, I also love to re-create the look of wallpaper on the cheap using other materials such as wrapping paper and fabric. These next few projects utilize these other mediums, but the effect is the same and can certainly be achieved using wallpapers as well!

7. Make Your Closet Fun! In the same way that pretty paper liners add a pop of fun and whimsy to your drawers, adding fun paper to the back of closets can make putting items away a bit more exciting. Thick wrapping paper adhered with double-stick tape is the ideal faux wallpaper for renters! Unlike wallpaper though, wrapping paper rolls only contain about 12′ of paper so be sure to buy enough for your project. (Used here: wrapping paper from Marshalls)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Closet Background

8. Pretty Up Your Work Space. Patterns don’t necessarily need to go on the walls to make a graphic statement. To brighten up dark furniture surfaces or add a bit of interest to your work station, put patterned paper under a sheet of plexiglass for a cheap yet ultra chic makeover! (Used here: wrapping paper from Marshalls)

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Desk top

9. Manage Tasks In Style. Instead of using a basic dry-erase board in your work space, place patterned papers behind glass frames to create pretty and fully customizable wipe boards. Now both functional and decorative, who said office supplies couldn’t be stylish? (Used here: wrapping paper from Michaels Craft Store) 

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Dry Erase Boards

10. Create the Ultimate Accessory. This frame utilizes the same concept as above, just in tray form. Attach thick plexiglass and handles to a sturdy frame to create a clear acrylic tray. To tailor the tray to your decor or for any season that comes along, simply swap papers underneath the plexiglass (held in place with double stick tape). By swapping out decorative papers, you have one home accessory that can work all year long! (Used here: wrapping paper from World Market) 

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Tray

11. Define a Nook. Wallpaper, or in this case fabric, on the wall can help define a nook or zone in your house where there isn’t one. Here, a random corner in a hallway becomes a defined, eye-catching and stylish command center thanks to the help of polka dot fabric secured to the wall with a staple gun. Using paper or fabric in small doses like this is also a great way to keep cost and labor down! This wall used just under 3 yards of 54″ wide fabric, costing me about $25 and took me about an hour to install! (Used here: Waverly On the Spot fabric in Estate Blue). 

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Fabric Wallpaper

12. Brighten Up a Bookcase.  Dark bookcases can be brightened up, made more visually interesting, and tied into the room decor scheme by adding paper (or again, fabric) behind the shelves. This look can be achieved in a variety of ways. Here, the fabric is held in place with adhesive-backed Velcro. However, you could also adhere paper with double stick tape, staples, or tacks. For a very removable approach, adhere paper/fabric to cardboard, luan, or foam core cut to size, then slide the sheet into the back of the bookcase before inserting the shelves (which will hold the board in place!). (Used here: Premier Prints Zig Zag in Black and White ) 

12 Wallpaper Ideas for Renters - Bookcase

Just because you’re a renter (or even if you’re not but don’t want to deal with the permanence of wallpaper!), there ARE ways to use this fantastic home decor accent around your home in ways that provide major impact but are totally movable. I love that more and more sites and companies are offering amazing patterns in wallcoverings, giving me all the more reason to come up with new ways to use them up in our homes! You better bet more wallpaper projects are in my future!

Hope you’re having a great week! On Friday, I am sharing one final look/reveal from our home! See you then!

See You Soon!