My first and only rule about living in a rental is make it your own. Sometimes, that means you have to go a little farther than throw pillows and picture frames. Our current rental home can be best described as a blank slate. There is absolutely no character, no color, and no lovely finishes. At first glance, it’s a sad space but one thing it has is potential, with some imagination and elbow grease.
Typically, the first thing I consider when moving into a new rental is painting. Usually, we are in a home for 2-3 years so it’s enough time for me to invest money and energy in painting a room or two. Since this house has a pretty open living and dining area, I had decided early that I wouldn’t paint downstairs. Also, my go-to color would be white (see my favorite white paint here) and since the entire house including the trim and doors is painted a creamy white with yellow undertones, white paint would just make the trim and doors look even more yellow. Since the painting option was out, I decided that hanging wallpaper would give me the color and character we needed.
Rental Friendly Wallpaper Hack
I’ve used removable wallpaper in our home office before and I love how rental friendly it is. It’s simple enough to install and comes off easily with no damage to the walls, the only drawback is the cost and it’s not reusable. Temporary wallpaper is expensive. I priced several options and at the low end, it was $350 to cover a 9’x8′ wall. Also, there are considerably fewer options for “temporary” wallpaper than for traditional wallpaper and I found myself finding the perfect wallpaper only to discover it wasn’t removable.
The wheels started turning when I realized we could make any wallpaper removable with this removable wallpaper hack. Now the options are endless and much more affordable making it a really great option for rental friendly wallpaper. I even sprung for the high-end paper and still spent less.
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How to Make Any Wallpaper Removable Tutorial
Wallpaper (measure and measure again before ordering your paper. I needed two rolls of this paper for my 9′ x 8′ wall)
Frog Tape® (read on for my explanation why it must be Frog Tape)
Double-sided Tape (I used 4 rolls of tape)
A sharp Xacto Knife
This project is easy to install although it does take a bit of time to do. The trick to making any wallpaper removable is using a buffer between the paper and the wall. Since we are hanging the wallpaper with double-sided tape, we have to place the tape on something other than the wall to keep the wall from being damaged. I used Frog Tape® as that buffer because it’s something that holds well but is easily removable. I feel strongly that it must be Frog Tape® (not sponsored I’m just a believer) because the other painter’s tapes don’t stick as well to the wall. In fact, I ran out of Frog Tape towards the end of this project and attempted to use another tape and it kept peeling away from the wall. You don’t want that.
The first part of this project is to create a grid that you’ll be able to adhere the wallpaper to. To begin, place a long strip of painter’s tape at the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling.
Then, using a laser level begin to create a grid by running long strips of tape across the wall every 8-10″ or so with the last piece being at the bottom of the wall where it meets the baseboard.
Complete the grid by then placing strips of tape vertically about every 8-10″ with one strip on the very left and one on the very right.
*Learn from my mistake Tip* Measure the width of your wallpaper so that you are sure to have a vertical line of tape on the edge of the wallpaper. This will ensure that the paper stays nice and tight to the wall and the edges don’t lift. I didn’t do this and had to go back and add small strips of tape to keep the edges of the paper down.
You’ll also want to add tape around any electrical boxes or light switches so that the edges stay nice and tight and do not come up around the sides of the box.
Once your grid is complete, you can start to hang your wallpaper. The first placement is the trickiest, then you get into a nice grove and can move right along. If possible, grab a partner to help. Starting on one side, line a strip of double-sided tape directly onto the Frog Tape at the top of the wall then stick the wallpaper to the tape. I taped the wallpaper to the top of the wall, then rolled the paper out so it draped loosely, this allowed me enough space to go underneath the paper, add the double-sided tape in sections along the grid and then press it down. I did this all the way down the wall, making sure to press down firmly so there weren’t any rumples in the paper.
At the very bottom of the wall, I made sure to line the double-sided tape as close to the baseboard as possible, then carefully cut the excess off with the Xacto knife.
I continued this process, across the wall. Since my wallpaper had a pattern repeat, I had to make sure to line the wallpaper up which required me to place it a bit higher on the wall then trim a bit off the top.
If you notice the paper is coming up a bit on the edges, you can put some double-sided tape onto a strip of Frog Tape and gently stick it under the paper and press down to secure it better.
As far as installation is concerned, I think this may have been an easier installation than the actual peel and stick wallpaper. Creating the grid was the most time-consuming part. Once the painter’s tape grid was up on the wall, the wallpaper went up very quickly. The biggest thing I like about this option is that is reusable. I can pull off the wallpaper, peel off the double-sided tape and roll it back up to use in another home, which makes it even more budget-friendly. No other wallpaper option is able to be removed from the wall and used again.
How’s this for a rental-friendly wallpaper hack? I’m so happy with the way the wallpaper turned out. It brings so much character to this space. You can see the before and after here.