Monday, January 16, 2017

10 Cheap, Temporary Ways to Decorate Your Walls

So, you have boring walls–plain plaster, white paint, faded paper, or even cinderblock. Maybe you are a college student in a dorm room, maybe you are renting in an apartment that you can’t paint, or maybe you just can’t afford to shell out piles of cash for full renovations. Whatever your situation, your living space is blah. Luckily, there are a number of ways to liven up your walls without paying for expensive paint or papering, or leaving permanent evidence.

Postcards can make a very interesting wall collage. (This is how I survived my college dorm years). Personally, I am a big fan of vintage postcards, which tend to have more interesting colors and prints. These are available at antique or junk shops, and cost anywhere from a few cents to a couple dollars. However, you can also use postcards people have sent you, or buy new ones. You can display the postcards in a variety of ways–you could be tape them up edge to edge, with space between, or in a pattern like stripes or checkers (use painters tape for no marks). You could also get thin rope, small close-pins, and stick on hooks, and make a line to clip the postcards on. And these are only a couple of ideas–I’m sure there are many more that would work.

Paint chips aren’t just for choosing colors. If you can get enough by visiting paint stores, you can use them to add splashes of color to your walls! Again, you can display them in a variety of ways. Paint chips also offer an opportunity to organize by color. Perhaps you want to keep like colors together, perhaps you want sharp contrast, or maybe you even want to make a mosaic. If you happen to be into tech, or just see a set at a junk shop, all these principles also apply to lighting gel samples. In fact, these offer some new uses, because they are clear. I had a friend in college who used lighting gels and clear tape to make “stained-glass” on his windows and lampshades.

Decorate with nature! Yes, fresh flowers and leaves soon fade, but it is easy to press them and make them last. Gather leaves or flower that you like, place them carefully between 2 sheets of plain white paper, and then put them between very heavy books, or a flower press if you have one, and leave them for a few weeks. When you remove them, they will be dry and flattened, and you can gently mount them on paper or cardboard to decorate your walls.

You don’t have to buy expensive tapestries in order to decorate with cloth. Tape, hang, or tie up old printed scarves. If you don’t have your own, you can get these for next to nothing at vintage or thrift shops (tag sales tend to have great selection as well). Just be sure you aren’t breaking any fire safety restrictions for your building!

This one isn’t so DIY, but if you do have a bit of cash to spare (anywhere from $5.00 to $100.00, depending on what you want), vinyl wall art can be a great option. This allows you to put a pattern, picture, or words on your walls without any permanent effect. has a great selection, and many sellers on make their own pieces. You can mix and match, or use one piece to create a focal point.

Use homemade artwork to add color and whimsy. Cut up watercolor paper into small pieces, and then get to work yourself, or even have a painting party with friends. Don’t worry about designs, just drop colors you like onto the paper and let them blend. Let the paper dry, and tape it up around your walls, or use it to frame a window or door (you can trim it to be all the same size before or after painting, if you wish). I know that, for the less artistic, this sounds like it would be a disaster, but trust me, as long as you stick to colors you like it can look great.

Use temporary hooks to put up mirrors of all shapes and sizes. Again, thrift stores are a treasure trove of these, as are discount shops. Try positioning them in different ways to make the room look larger, or reflect more light!

Tape art. This is most likely one for the dorm room crowd, but fun nonetheless. All you need is a roll or two of painters tape (or, if you want to, get several in different colors), and a blank space of wall. Tear and place the tape to make a mural! If you want to be more precise, you can use scissors. The great thing about tape art is you can take it down and redo it with ease any time you like–and with a little patience, you really can make any design.

You may not be able to nail up a bulletin board, but cork does come in thin sheets of varying size that are light enough to stick on a wall with non-permanent adhesive strips. Put a few up around or cover an entire area, get a box of thumbtacks, and go wild! For a more personal touch, you can paint the cork boards before you put them up.

Specialty paint to make a surface into a chalkboard is not too expensive, and you can paint light sheets of cardboard that you can tape easily to your wall. This can be a fun take on a memo board or just a place to add drawings and designs.

Whatever method (or methods!) you choose, building restrictions and a tight budget don’t mean you have to live somewhere boring!

Labels: 10 Cheap, Temporary Ways to Decorate Your Walls

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