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How to Make Any Wallpaper Removeable – Rental Friendly Wallpaper

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.

Making any wallpaper removable - a rental friendly wallpaper hack

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 with rental friendly wallpaper installation.

How to Make Any Wallpaper Removable Tutorial

Supplies Needed:
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)
Laser Level
Double-sided Tape (I used 4 rolls of tape)
A sharp Xacto Knife
Ladder (optional)

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.

Instructions for rental friendly wallpaper hack:
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.

Tips to make any wallpaper removable

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.

How to make any wallpaper removable

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.

Rental friendly wallpaper hack - making any wallpaper removable

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.

How to make any wallpaper removable - rental friendly wallpaper hack tutorial

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.

Make any wallpaper removable - rental friendly wallpaper hack

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.

Tutorial for making any wallpaper removable

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.

How to make traditional wallpaper removable
How to make any wallpaper removable - rental friendly wallpaper idea

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. I’m so happy with how it turned out and now I’m wondering what other spaces need some rental friendly wallpaper!

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  1. Pingback: Coastal Inspired Dining Room with lots of Rental Decorating Ideas
    1. Absolutely brilliant idea. The article is superbly written very clear and truly helpful. Keep up the good work and keep such ideas coming.

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  3. Looking at renting my first flat (Here in the UK) and I have to say this is a genius! Really want to make the place my own but don’t want to have to spend ages removing at the end. Even removable wallpaper makes me nervous and its so expensive. So I totally love this.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Removable wallpaper is insanely expensive! I considered it and opted out. I’ve applied it before and it’s tricky too. This was easier (still work) and it will be easy to remove when we leave.

  4. This is an amazing idea, but unfortunately for the light blue wallpaper I bought the green lines can be seen under. In order to do this the wallpaper needs to be darker or pretty thick. Just wanted to mention this because I taped up my whole wall but I can’t go through with it. 🙁

    1. Hey Michelle, I am so sorry to hear that. The wallpaper I bought is pretty thick (as thick as I would expect wallpaper to be). Typically wallpaper is quite thick to hold up to the paste needed to apply it to the walls. Do you mind sharing where you purchased your wallpaper?

    2. I’ve seen one person then lay beige single sided tape over the green tape to adhere to the wallpaper but not mess with the wall. 2 years later, but this might still be helpful someday!

  5. I used this method about 6 months ago to wallpaper our powder room and I sadly have to admit that this has not held up well. About a month ago we started noticing large rippling on all walls and it’s gotten to the point where we need to take it down and reapply permanently. I am so bummed since I thought this was a genius approach! We do live in Maryland where humidity is high in the spring and summer month so that may be playing a roll in this. I’m really hoping the wallpaper comes off the double stick tape intact so we can reuse rather than having to purchase again. Fingers crossed!

    1. Hi Natalie, thank you for your feedback. It’s been about 8 months since we installed this in our dining room and it’s held up really well. I suspect humidity is a factor and it could be the quality of the paper as well. Let me know how the sticky tape comes off. It would be great if you could reuse the paper!

      1. Hey Chelsea! The sticky tape did not come off well which was a bummer. The paper we used was actually the same one you did from Serena & Lily — so gorgeous! I’m blaming the humidity for the buckling and ridiculously strong tape for the removal. Double stick tape is stronger than I expected! (so is the frog tape!)

        1. Thanks for the feedback, Natalie! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. Yes, double-sided tape is super sticky. I used it several years ago (had to be at least 4 years ago) for some drawer liners and those liners are still in there super securely! It’s kind of amazing but can be pesky.

      2. Using it in your powder room i would suspect that room has higher humidity? Shower? Or is it just toilet. I was thinking about trying this method in my Drawing Room.

        1. Hi! I have only used it in my dining room so obviously less humid so I can’t speak on how it would hold up in that situation. It’s worth a shot on a small wall, I think.

    2. Unfortunately I ran into the same problem! Yet I keep searching/brainstorming (and rediscovering this otherwise brilliant post!). A couple thoughts I’ve toyed with (or some variation 🤔🤔) have been to perhaps—

      1) Get some (really basic/cheap) actual-removable peel-and-stick wallpaper, and apply the good wallpaper on top of that; or
      2) Get some ultra-thin plywood panels (or something like it) and either use a staple gun(? Or some other means) to first put it on the wall and then paper those—or to just apply it and place the panels. Either way, part of the appeal there would be the (hopeful…) reusability of it, as the wallpaper I’m trying to use (and now reuse) is pretty expensive! (I also have a gorgeous wall mural I bought years ago and have been thinking of this for awhile too, as I’m just too hesitant to “waste” it in a temporary apartment 😬).

      So anyway, those are just a couple ideas I’ll throw out there—no promises of course!! (*and please feel free to tell me if/why these are horrific ideas.) Either way, hope you all find/found something that works well for you—happy DIYing! ❤️

  6. Hi, what double sided tape did you use for this may I please ask? This is a genius hack that I’ve been trying to work out how to do, and frog tape was the answer I needed! Just serious to know which double sided tap to use with it 🙂

  7. Also wondering what double-sided tape was used. It doesn’t hold up well on smooth surfaces (high gloss walls) but it peels the backing off the paper, making it unusuable.

  8. do you think this would work with vinyl wallpaper? i am wondering if vinyl wallpaper would be too heavy or if it is similar in weight to regular wallpaper.

  9. What an amazing hack! I purchased a high quality off of Etsy and am doing an accent wall for my toddler’s room.
    I read another article regarding this method and there was concern of bubbling? Is this an issue for you? If so, how did you prevent it?
    Thank you and thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi there – I had no problem with bubbling. I think that’s more of an issue with actual peel and stick paper. The traditional paper is pretty thick and hangs very smoothly. It’s been up for nearly three years now and is going strong!

  10. Awe thank you!
    The painter’s tape is exactly the brilliant hack I was looking for.
    I’ve been wanting to brighten up my kitchen by changing the color of the (real wood) upper cabinet door “inserts” without the permanence of painting. The peel and stick reviews are sketchy as to results and removal potential so I thought paste free wall paper would be 👍, but have been struggling with the best (least messy, cost effective, non damaging) method.
    This sounds perfect!
    Please accept this virtual hug in gratitude…
    I’ll let you know how it goes 🤞

  11. Hi Tracey, How did the removal go? As frog tape says it’s removable without marks for 21 days? Would like to hear how it went further down the line 🙂

      1. This was so helpful, thank you for posting this. I was debating after hearing some types of painters tape isn’t good and saw the 21 day rule on the packaging , but relieved to read this response. I’m going to try this this week!

  12. This is genius! How has this held up over time? How does the double-stick tape hold up with humidity?