5 Ways to Cut the Cost of Removable Wallpaper
As a renter, peel-and-stick wallpaper is one of my favorite and most reliable methods for personalizing our home, covering unsightly features, and adding that dose of pattern I love so much. Not only is the installation process is easy, removable wallpaper also comes down with relative ease and no mess, despite the strong adhesive backing. They do virtually no damage to walls upon removal, and are now available in pretty much any style, color, and pattern you can think of. So why am I not covering every last surface in our home with removable wallpaper? Well, anyone who has attempted to wallpaper a full wall, let alone a full room, can guess: the cost!!! There must be something about the peel-and-stick technology because the price point for removable wallpaper can be a little outrageous! But worry not! If you love the look of traditional wallpaper, but prefer the ease of application and temporary nature of the peel-and-stick versions, here are 5 ways to cut the cost of removable wallpaper.
1. Do a Wallpaper “Feature”
One of the best (and easiest!) ways to use temporary wallpaper in your home and not spend a fortune is to use it in small doses. Look around your room and see if there is a logical place for a wallpaper feature. Fireplace surrounds, bump outs and nooks, backs of bookcases, backsplashes, and backs of closets are all great opportunities to add a punch of pattern in a small way. Be sure you do your measurements, though. What seems like a small space may still actually require 2-3 rolls, which can add up quickly!
In our Kansas living room, a single role of peel-and-stick paper (that I found on clearance at Target) was just enough to create an eye-popping focal point. Notice that there wasn’t a TON of wall to cover. Still, I had to measure and cut strategically to make the single role work! You can see the tutorial for this project HERE.
Since we removed the doors of Sam’s nursery closet, it became the perfect place to add a fun dose of pattern. Again, this appeared to be a small nook, but still required 2+ rolls! You can see more of this wallpaper project HERE.
If you don’t have a logical wall or nook to add a small dose of wallpaper, don’t overlook your furniture. Oftentimes a small sample is just enough to add some pattern and give an old, ugly piece of furniture a fresh new look! You can see how I covered these dresser drawers with wallpaper HERE.
2. Make It Count
When peel-and-stick wallpaper is so expensive, make sure you use it where it counts. If you want to wallpaper the wall behind your massive headboard or a big bookcase, consider only papering the parts of the wall that can be seen. If you aren’t sure of your furniture placement or are prone to rearranging, this may not be a good solution for you. However, this is a great trick for not only mitigating cost, but also stretching the few roles of discontinued paper you might have on hand!
See what I mean:
In Sam’s closet, I found two rolls of the red-and-white-striped paper on a clearance endcap at Target. I didn’t have quite enough to completely paper the inside of his closet, but I wasn’t about to shell out $30 for a brand new role for just a few final inches. I knew I was going to have a shelf across the top of the closet with a bunch of boxes on it, so I first papered the areas that would be seen, and then left the top part (that would be covered with boxes) un-papered. I know it’s there, but you can’t really see it during normal day-to-day living.
3. Keep an Eye Out For Deals
I just cannot stomach the cost of $30/roll for something that is going to be a one-time use product. (Unless I REEEEAALLLY love it and will only use it in a very special/feature kind of way.) As such, I ALWAYS keep my eye out for rolls that have been marked down. Each and every time I walk through Target, Michaels and even discount stores like HomeGoods/TJMaxx/Marshalls, I will always check the clearance/damaged section to see if I can snag some rolls of temporary wallpaper that have either been discontinued or damaged. All of the wallpaper rolls I’ve bought at Target were found on end caps and marked down because the containers were damaged (but the paper inside was just fine!). Just last week, I saw three rolls of light yellow-and-white paper marked down to $13/tube at Target. I didn’t snag it, only because I have a pretty sizable collection already; but I sure hope someone did!
Get at least 2 rolls
Unless you’re doing a very small feature wall or furniture project, a single role is usually not quite enough. If I find several roles on clearance, I usually buy as many as are available. Even if I don’t end up using them all, the excess can be used to line drawers, cover books, or create artwork.
Snag it when you see it
Even if you don’t have a project in mind right away. The deal on the red-and-white striped wallpaper was too good to pass up ($6/roll!!!); yet at the time, I had NO red in our entire home. Fast forward two years to Sam’s nursery, where I was finally able to use it. The striped detail in his closet is one of my favorite parts of his whole room, and it only cost me $12 and an hour or so!
Check to see if it’s still available at full price
Sometimes rolls will be marked down because they are the final few roles available. However, other times they will be marked down because they were returns or damaged in some way. If you find a few marked down rolls but it’s not enough to do what you want, check and see if you can still buy rolls at full price. Even if you have to buy one or two at full price to round out a project, you’re still saving in the overall cost.
Follow companies that sell removable wallpaper on social media
I don’t find that companies put these products on deep discount very often, but if you do need many roles to complete a project, any small savings can add up. Take advantage of sales, discount weekends (like Black Friday weekend, Memorial Day weekend, etc), free shipping and other promotions to save a few dollars per roll.
4. Use Something Else
If you really have a specific design in mind that involves a particular wallpaper (or at the very least, some pattern on the wall) and you just can’t make room for the cost in your budget, look for wallpaper alternatives that are cheaper but give you the same effect. Wrapping paper and fabric are much cheaper by the square foot than wallpaper; and with some patience and creativity, you can often re-create patterns using paint with stencils or vinyl decals.
Vinyl + Paint
I originally fell in love with a really cool wallpaper on an image I found on Pinterest. Instead of hunting down the wallpaper (and quite possibly paying a fortune for it), I re-created a very similar look using paint and a few rolls of vinyl cut into geometric patterns (below). You can see the full tutorial for this DIY vinyl backsplash HERE.
A few years ago, I really wanted to update our entryway in a dramatic way but didn’t want to use paint. The wall was the perfect size for home decor-width fabric (54″ wide), so with a three-yard stretch and my staple gun, I was able to achieve the look and function of removable wallpaper for about $30 total. You can see the full reveal of our entryway here!
With bright kelly green, 60″ wide duck cloth, I was also able to add a major pop of color in a totally temporary way to Henry’s Kansas bedroom. See more about how I installed this beautiful fabric feature wall perfect for kids rooms here.
Wrapping paper, at a mere $2-5/roll, is also a great alternative to wallpaper. It won’t give you that clean, stuck-to-the-wall look, but it is a great solution for the backs of closets, bookcases and other small, low-traffic areas! See my tutorial for hanging wrapping paper as wallpaper HERE.
Earlier this week, I showed how you I achieved a stripe design in our current living room using vinyl stripes instead of paint or another wallpaper option. These stripes are made of the same peel-and-stick, residue-free material that the wallpaper is made of, but sell for just a fraction of the cost. While covering this full wall with wallpaper would have cost over $500, I spent just $100 to give it a patterned look. Even if wide stripes aren’t your jam, you can use vinyl stripes in fun patterns to create a design you love (plaid, grid, abstract etc)
If you are looking for even more fun alternatives to covering your walls in great patterns and colorful options, I have a whole post on temporary wall treatment ideas HERE!
5. Use Regular Wallpaper in a Temporary Way
As I suggested earlier, peel-and-stick wallpaper must be expensive to produce because it really is hard to find at a reasonable price (which is a bit ironic since it’s marketed as a temporary solution). Interestingly, using regular wallpaper can often be much cheaper. Not only are rolls of regular (as in, not peel-and-stick) wallpaper sometimes cheaper overall, but they also come in longer rolls, meaning you need less of them.
But what about installing regular wallpaper when you don’t want to commit?
As many of you long-time readers know, I’ve come up with a pretty reliable way to hang standard, non-pasted wallpaper using liquid starch. Not only is this method just as removable as the peel-and-stick alternatives, but the application is actually easier than dealing with long strips of sticky paper. The regular wallpaper also pulls off in clean strips, making them usable over and over again (whereas peel-and-stick products are typically one-time use). You can see the full tutorial on how to hang regular wallpaper in a temporary way HERE.
See what I mean:
I highly recommend this alternative method when wallpapering entire rooms because of the overall cost savings per square feet. I have installed regular wallpaper in two of our rental homes using the liquid starch application method. Wallpapering both of these rooms with peel-and-stick paper would have cost thousands of dollars. By using standard wallpaper in a temporary way, each of these rooms cost about $150-200.
You can see my home office HERE:
And check out Sam’s star nursery HERE:
I genuinely love the ease and convenience of temporary wallpaper…especially for rental living! However, I just can’t shell out hundreds of dollars on something that will be taken down and thrown out in just a year (or two or three). Using the strategies I’ve outlined here, I’ve been able to use (or get the look) of wallpaper in our rentals in a way that is much more practical for our budget and lifestyle. Hopefully these ideas will encourage you to think outside the box (errrr…tube?) and come up with clever and doable alternatives for getting this trend into your home!
14 Comments on “5 Ways to Cut the Cost of Removable Wallpaper”
Living (and surviving) military life like you – and a lover of wallpaper, too! I was wondering if removable wallpaper can be used again – can it be reapplied a second (or multiple) time? I’ve had great luck with vinyl decals the last three moves but was wondering if I could get away with similar results for the more costly wallpaper.
In my experience at least, removable wallpaper is a one-time use product. I guess if you were exceptionally meticulous about peeling off the paper (and keeping the original paper to put it back onto), you could maybe try. But I have found this paper tends to stretch quite a bit when it’s taken down. In fact, you can see some pictures of my removable process in our last home here: https://thehomesihavemade.com/2016/08/hit-miss-renter-friendly-walls/
Some sturdier papers (like the ones from Walls Need Love or Spoonflower) might endure the removal process a bit better.
Hope that helps a bit!
How has your liquid starch wall paper held up? Have you had any problems and have you tried removing any of it yet? I’m considering doing this and I’m really interested in the process and outcome!
Thanks for writing! Yes – by the time we moved out of our rental (that had the blue+white wallpaper) it was still in perfect condition. I actually recorded how it all came down and you can see it here: https://thehomesihavemade.com/2016/07/hit-miss-renter-friendly-wallpaper-removal/
I actually just did it again in our current home (with a different wallpaper and on textured walls but still using liquid starch) – and almost a year later, it’s holding up great! You can see more about this more recent installation here: https://thehomesihavemade.com/2016/10/can-you-wallpaper-textured-walls/
And just so you have it, here is the original tutorial for hanging wallpaper with liquid starch: https://thehomesihavemade.com/2015/08/renter-friendly-wallpaper-installation-yes-you-can-install-wallpaper/
I’m moving into a rental that has these horrid wood paneled walls and was going to put removable wallpaper over them. Do you think the starch method would work for that as well or would it damage it at all?
I literally JUST got this question from a reader on Facebook…here is what I replied:
I have only attempted the liquid starch method on drywall. I honestly have no idea if it would work or if it would leave any damage. I don’t *think* it would damage the paneling (and the paneling might even be easier to clean after the paper comes down bc of the glossy surface) but I would absolutely do a test before proceeding. Personally, I’m not sure that’s something I would attempt out of fear that the liquid in the starch would damage the wood. Peel-and-stick wallpaper does cost a fortune, but would be a safer approach. Sorry I can’t be of more help but good luck!
Hope that helps!
Hi – I have been doing some research on peel and stick wallpaper but what I can’t find is how the walls are after say a couple of years of having the paper up. Does it still come off easily? Does it to do anything to the paint? I am thinking about putting it in mg pantry and closets as a little oomph.
Oh and one other question – do you think brand matters?
On our 8th move right now and considering using liquid starch (but making my own since I’m overseas and can’t access Sta-Flo) and curious if it held up okay in your son’s nursery? I’m considering putting it in my daughter’s bedroom, but she’s under 1 so there will be lots of touching it, beating it, trying to climb it, etc. Also, have you used it on plaster walls?
I love the liquid starch method and very much recommend it. I will say admit, the paper behind my son’s crib has pulled away from the wall a bit along the seam because he went through a phrase where he played with it while he was falling asleep. He’s 20 months now and pretty much leaves it alone; I could go back with some fresh starch and smooth it flat again, but I just haven’t gotten to it. That said, he doesn’t play with/peel the paper anywhere else in the room. I personally wouldn’t hesitate to do it because “fixing it” is pretty easy.
Regarding your plaster walls, I’m not sure. I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t work, but it’s always a good idea to test it first before doing a larger installation!
Hope that helps!
I just ran across your blog while looking into removable wallpaper. We currently rent a home in northern Italy. My daughter’s bedroom is wallpapered with a very busy floral pattern. Have you heard of anyone using the starch method of wallpaper over existing wallpaper? I’d like to tame her room with one wall as a solid color but I need to ensure I don’t want to the original wallpaper. Any information you have would be absolutely appreciated! Thank you!
Can you please give me advice on putting removal or regular wall paper over ugly mirrors in a Bathroom????? Will it stick ????
Absolutely, the wallpaper will stick. The only issue you might run into is if the mirrors are textured/bumpy in some way. But otherwise, it should stick just fine (especially peel-and-stick). That said, I always recommend doing a small test (just a small cut) and leaving it up or a few days to make sure before you do a full installation!
Hope that helps,Megan
Im trying to cover an unsightly textured yellow orange sponged bedroom wall I have vaulted ceilings that curve. At an angle it’s only the wall behind my bed I want done for cheap I’m a renter so can’t change it I’m wanting removable wallpaper with something to help it stick better any suggestions?