Ephemeral walls: No-damage decor to make your walls less boring

Guestpost by Janell Turley on Jul 3rd

For the past four years, I have lived in boring, temporary spaces. Dorm room boxes of cinderblock, little houses with rules against nails and paint, basement apartments, and just plain old small, boxy, white-walled living spaces.

What is a person to do in such boring living spaces (and with very little money to decorate)? Well. I welcome you now to Pinterest — land of wishful thinking and endless creative ideas. Here's a plethora of inspiration to get you thinking:

Use stuff on your walls in a lovely way.

These take a bit of planning, and an eye for what looks rad. But hey — they rock so much. Here's to making plain-old tape and Post-it notes look fancy!

Post-it note wall


Tape wall



Make your own wallpaper with photos. Plaster your wall(s) with images of people and things that you love.



Get free stuff and put it on your walls

Always be on the lookout for interesting things, if that's what you're into. In a free box once, I found hundreds of movie posters. I collected three: Star Wars, Black Beauty, and The Last Unicorn. SCORE. Free stuff and nearly free stuff (the Goodwill bins or Craigslist, anyone?) are fantastic for dressing up bare walls. It's quite the treasure hunt, but when you have to get up and move a month after you decorate, it's not as tough to rationalize getting rid of free stuff.

Decorate with paint swatches




This can get a little more pricey than my other categories, but it doesn't have to be. There are some lovely wall tapestries to be found online, or find cheaper fabric at your local thrift store. Thrifted bed sheets can be awesome. I've found rainbow bed sheets, all sorts of movie character bed sheets, and lots of cool vintage patterns.

Drape fabric across walls and ceilings for a cozy bohemian look:


Stick stuff you already have up on the walls.

Does it matter if it was made to hang on the walls? No. Put whatever you want up there. Just the other day, my roommate redecorated our living room just using the stuff I already had in there. Sometimes it just takes another set of eyes to move things around and see things a little differently.

Make art.

Use huge pieces of paper or fabric to cover in your original work inspired by Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko! Artwork you create can be as big or little as your space requires. And it's special because it was made by YOU!

our guestroom

Even window coverings can double as art.

Project light onto the walls.

There's really neat stuff out there that can be done even without blue sticky tack, tape, and Command poster hooks. Interesting lighting, or just plain old good lighting can do SO much for the walls of a room. My lava lamp turns half of my room pink when it is on.


And look at these starry walls!

Glow in the dark plastic stars are cool, but this is way cooler! Star Master Colorful Starry Night Cosmos Projector Bed Side Lamp

Glow in the dark plastic stars are cool, but this is way cooler! Star Master Colorful Starry Night Cosmos Projector Bed Side Lamp

Moral of the story: your boring white walls DO have the potential to look beautiful and interesting. And inspiration flows endlessly from the heavenly fount of Pinterest. Be bold. Make stuff. Find stuff. Just do it. Do it this weekend.

And you know, if all else fails with your walls, just put a bird on it.

What else is possible to do temporarily to your walls? What else have you done to your own walls? Do you have any great Pinterest links (or other links) to share?

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About Janell Turley

Janell Turley is a creator of monsters, zombies, and 1950s starlets for film and theatre. She wishes she lived in the late 1960s. Janell is also a college student (in her super-senior year of school) and a hoarder on Pinterest.