Secretly decorate your rental with temporary chalk art

December 4 | Guest post by Dreamdeer
Remember, it's folk-art -- you don't have to be Michelangelo.
Remember, it's folk-art — you don't have to be Michelangelo.

Love to decorate your walls but your landlord won't allow you to paint them? I found that artist's chalks work great for temporary chalk art!

Don't be put off by the warning not to use them on regular chalkboards; that's just because the colors won't wipe off with a standard board eraser. When it comes time to move on, they come off just fine with ordinary spray cleanser.

Cleaning tip: position your cleaning-rag under the design before spraying it, because the pigments will come flooding down — but they will come off entirely.

I accented an arched kitchen doorway with a chalk vine (you can probably draw better!) and pumped it up by hanging some fake grapes bought at a dollar-store.

Design tip: If you want to do a ceiling border, you can keep it even all around by shoving a book the size of the space you want against the ceiling and marking the lower edge with dots of chalk that you can erase later or incorporate into the design. Holding the book horizontally or vertically doesn't matter, so long as it has the right measure and you keep it consistent.

Of course, with chalk art, you will have to make designs near the roof, or in other hard-to-reach areas, so that they won't smudge from contact with everyday life. But even with that restriction, temporary chalk murals can still set your place apart.

What are your favorite temporary rental decorating hacks?

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  1. Oh my gosh, I love this! I'm lucky enough to have a landlord who doesn't care if we put nails in the wall to hang art, but I think I'll have to try this idea for holiday decorating 🙂

    1 agrees
    • That is a great idea! Snowflakes everywhere!

      I will probably do a test patch, though, just to make sure whatever brand I have comes off whatever type of paint is on the walls. It might matter if the paint has any gloss to it or not.

      3 agree
      • There's a lot of variety in the color/brand/length of stay on the wall that have an impact on how (not) easy chalk is to remove. I work with college students who decorate whole walls, and then are stuck with a bill at the end of the year because the chalk won't come off or has colored the paint.

        3 agree
      • Yeah, the paint at our paramours' old rental got discolored *from cleaning it*! Definitely check first.

        • Inside a closet might be a good place to test. That's where I snuck crayon drawings as a child (I loved the toothiness of stucco!)

  2. Ooooooooooo! My boyfriend has been itching to put a mural on our rented apartment's walls. He painted one in his bedroom as a teenager, and it made the room really badass, colorful, and unique. We've toyed with the idea of painting one in our apartment anyway and then painting back over it come moving day, but this idea seems MUCH easier to manage with equally awesome results!

    1 agrees
  3. In my previous apartment I had those really dark 70's kitchen cabinets with the raised border around the doors. So I used double sided tape and some bright and cheery wrapping paper in the inset of the doors. Loved it!

    2 agree
  4. IMPORTANT ADDENDUM!!! After writing this, I did move, and discovered that ordinary cleanser only cleaned up some of the chalk–particularly the color that I originally tested. The good news is that my husband discovered that rubbing alcohol cleaned the rest up easily–after much difficult trial and error with other substances. Remember that: RUBBING ALCOHOL.

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