10 ways to dress up your walls without paint

By on Mar 23rd

Whether you can't paint because you're renting, or don't want to because it's a hassle, fear not! Here are ten ways to change your walls without painting them.

Starched fabric

kimono template

Photo by Elaphurus. Used under Creative Commons license.


You can pick out a lively roll of fabric (hi, Mexican oilcloth!), soak it in starch, and adhere it to the wall. It's purported to be easy to remove, though I don't even have secondhand experiences with that. Here's a simple tute using spray starch.

Vinyl decals

IMG_2390

Photo by Abby Batchelder. Used under Creative Commons license.


They're all the craze. Available on Etsy, Amazon, and any number of other places.

Shelves

By: Tim CroweCC BY 2.0

Use appropriately-proportioned shelves to add color, movement and interest to icky walls.

Shelves are also awesome because you can always change up what's ON them… rainbow-sorted books, anyone?

Bamboo blinds

Check your neighborhood Asian groceries — mine has an aisle of traditional hats, rice cookers, utensils, tatami mats and bamboo window shades. They sometimes have landscapes painted on them — and they get pretty large, pretty inexpensively!

Mirrors

Finished Convex Mirror for Kelly's Birthday

Photo by Morticide. Used under Creative Commons license.


Find a big mirror with an interesting shape or group smaller, less expensive mirrors together. Mirrors also add light and space to the room.

Start a collection

Skateboards

Photo by israel-avila. Used under Creative Commons license.


My friend Suzana has a plate wall. She's tightly grouped plates to make a dynamic and colorful swoosh in her kitchen. Each plate is worth looking at, and she now often receives additional plates as gifts.

ART

Our kitchen table

6 wolf by Chris Roberts.


Okay, so this one's simple, right? Whether you frame a poster, make something, or buy an original, art adds a LOT of life to a wall.

No art? How about photos?

Photo Arrangement

Photo by palindrome6996. Used under Creative Commons license.


Print a few choice photos and spend an afternoon thrifting for frames. Mix or match or spraypaint — whatever works for you.

Ribbons or tape

Lenore shared her tape-and-tacks project on the Flickr Group:
all finished!

3M Strips

If you need to limit the holes you leave, peruse 3M's line of removable strips. I've done SO MANY THINGS with them (weirdest? Built a removable window screen) and have had good luck with their tack. You could hang framed work or use them to hang a whole panel of fabric.

That's all I've got. What'd I miss? How have you solved the I-don't-wanna-paint/my-landlord-is-a-bummer blues?

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About Cat Rocketship

I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things.