Peel-and-stick wallpaper is perfect for DIY enthusiasts, college students, rooms that need a temporary makeover (like a nursery), or individuals looking to personalize their living quarters without angering the landlord. It's an easy fix for anyone who loves the idea of wallpaper, but not the actual process of pasting it to the wall. "Peel-and-stick wallpaper is the perfect decorative feature for any homeowner or renter who is not ready to commit to a style or pattern long term. Whether you are moving, renting, or simply trying a new look, peel-and-stick wallpaper can be removed without damaging walls, making the product the perfect non-permanent design feature," says Emma Beryl Kemper, principal of Emma Beryl Interiors.
Though the earliest peel-and-stick product was a bit basic, today's brands bring an upscale look to this simple design trick and there are virtually endless patterns and styles to choose from. Whether you're looking to emulate a traditional tile for a kitchen or bathroom backsplash, or you long for something traditional like wood or stone, there's a peel-and-stick wallpaper design for you. "I suggest using temporary paper on any surface where you would put traditional wallcovering: walls, ceilings, backs of built-ins, etc. My favorite rooms to use wallpaper are powder rooms and bedrooms because they make the rooms feel instantly cozy and interesting. Peel-and-stick wallpaper creates a big impact in your space by adding color, texture, and pattern. It conveys personality and energy for you and your guests to enjoy," says Kemper.
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Pros and Cons of Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
While there's no debating that removable wallpaper has transformed the industry, it's important to note its benefits as well as its drawbacks so that you know exactly what you are getting into.
- It's DIY-friendly. This project can be tackled by design enthusiasts of all levels (saving lots of money on labor).
- The installation is not time-sensitive (unlike with traditional wallpaper, which is applied using special glue and needs to be hung quickly before the glue dries), so you can go at your own pace.
- The installation process is less messy than traditional wallpaper.
- Easy to clean.
- It can be removed and won't damage the walls in the process, which is nice for renters.
- It can be expensive. Traditional wallpaper runs around $0.42 to $0.95 per square foot compared to peel-and-stick, which ranges from $0.71 to $1.77 per square foot, making it costly for a larger space.
- Although there are many styles and patterns to choose from, some of the more eye-catching styles aren't timeless so you might tire of the pattern or color if you choose something overly trendy.
- If you don't prep your walls properly or if you don't have a smooth surface that's been painted in the proper paint finish, it can leave bubbles and/or not adhere well to the wall.
- Peel-and-stick wallpaper doesn't last as long as traditional wallpaper — around three years before it starts to peel.
25 Creative Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper Ideas
1. Line the back of a bookcase.
Add a little pattern behind the shelves of a bookcase or an old medicine cabinet with peel-and-stick wallpaper. The folks from Spoonflower used an elevated herringbone print to introduce a graphic print and a dash of contrast to this living room.
Get the look: Spoonflower Featherland Gray/White Wallpaper, $29 - $119
2. Update a table.
Got a leftover length of wallpaper? Use it to cover the top of a basic table, à la this idea spotted on Chasing Paper. This would be the perfect detail on a nightstand in a minimalist bedroom or a living room side table.
Get the look: Chasing Paper Bluebell Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper, $45 - $120
3. Jazz up a step stool.
Liven up a basic stool by covering each of the steps with a little peel-and-stick wallpaper, as shown in this idea by Chasing Paper. It's the perfect weekend project for a kid's bathroom — especially if you let them pick out the pattern!
Get the look: Chasing Paper Speckle Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper, $45 - $120
4. Add interest to the ceiling.
Designer Kevin O'Gara of the blog Thou Swell created a two-toned lattice pattern on his ceiling using removable stripe decals. It adds an almost architectural element to the white hallway, which perfectly offsets the gold mirror and swanky wall lamps.
5. Decorate a chair.
You don't need to repaint an old chair in order to give it a whole new look. Just dress up the back of it, since that's the part of the chair you see the most, anyway. Chelsea Foy of Lovely Indeed used peel-and-stick vibrant yellow and gold stripes for a colorful flourish.
6. Transform plain kitchen cabinets.
Plain white kitchen cabinets can turn into a design statement in an afternoon or less with the help of removable wallpaper, as proven by Kathy from Up to Date Interiors. She used a black-and-white floral pattern that coordinates with the color scheme.
7. Dress up the outer frame of a bookcase.
If you're partial to neutrals, peel-and-stick wallpaper in a muted colorway can still inject loads of personality. For example, this plain white bookcase now makes quite the impression thanks to a quick and easy DIY project using a terrazzo wallpaper design.
8. Upgrade the inside of a closet.
The interior of a closet might be a spot that you don't normally consider when thinking of places to use wallpaper, but Lauren McBride shows what a difference a little pattern can make. Select a hue that complements the adjacent walls, and a pattern that won't look too busy. Who knows? You may just want to leave your closet open for good.
Get the look: Spoonflower Tiny Octopus in Sea Wallpaper, $29 - $119
9. Create a headboard.
Still contemplating if you're going to splurge on a headboard for your bedroom? While you mull it over, use peel-and-stick wallpaper to add definition and color to your refuge. This floral design spotted on Tempaper has been cut into an enviable arch to stand in for a future headboard.
10. Breathe new life into an old console table.
Instead of tossing that old console table, consider giving it a facelift with the help of removable wallpaper. This idea has endless possibilities, but we're partial to the grasscloth design used in this DIY project by Hunker contributor Sara Albers. Using the peel-and-stick wallpaper, she completely wraps the piece of furniture, making it look brand new.
11. Transform kitchen appliances.
Breathe new life into functional appliances with a coating of removable wallpaper. Amanda from Aunt Peaches gave her retro refrigerator some modern flair courtesy of this speckle print from Chasing Paper.
Get the look: Chasing Paper Speckle Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper, $45 - $120
12. Introduce your office to a delightful pattern.
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is well-known for the eye-catching prints that it comes in. And since it is removable, you don't have to be afraid to bring some of that magic into your home. For instance, Emily Henderson chose to use a gingham-like pattern to dress up this home office without overwhelming the space.
Get the look: Spoonflower Hand Drawn Buffalo CheckWallpaper, $29 - $119
13. Give the stairs a makeover.
High-traffic areas, such as a staircase, can really benefit from a peel-and-stick wallpaper makeover. Take note of this DIY tutorial by Sara Albers and cover step risers to mask everyday wear and tear such as scuff marks, chips, and cracks that can develop over time.
14. Add flair to the dining room.
Sometimes it can be tricky to decide what you want to do with the wall in a dining room, especially if it opens to another space. Follow the lead of Joy Cho of Oh Joy! and go with something neutral that still adds visual interest. This gray and white squiggly pattern brings loads of personality without overwhelming the overall design.
15. Bring interest to the bathroom.
Peel-and-stick wallpapers are a phenomenal option for a powder room because it usually won't experience very much humidity. And since it is a small, enclosed space, you can experiment with a bolder color or a unique pattern. Niche Interiors shows us how it's done in this setup showcasing a teal-colored tropical print with wild animals.
16. Punch up the laundry room.
Justina Blakeney from Jungalow knows a thing or two about mixing colors and patterns. Follow her lead and liven up your laundry room with a playful wallpaper pattern. Here, a pair of blue bifold doors opens up to a tropical print on the walls and a vibrant utility sink. If this setup doesn't motivate you to do the laundry, then nothing will.
17. Spruce up the pantry.
Whether you have a walk-in pantry or a closet, this charming lemon wallpaper pattern by Nesting With Grace will make you smile every time you reach for the sugar. Follow her lead and complement with green cabinetry or shelving and lots of warm accents to amp up the cute factor.
18. Embrace a new kitchen backsplash.
Just because you can't do a kitchen renovation right now, that doesn't mean you have to stare at a blank space behind your sink or stove. Take a cue from this renter- and budget-friendly idea and give your backsplash a boost. The floral wallpaper pattern by Spoonflower adds loads of personality and a fun pop of color to boot.
Get the look: Spoonflower Springtime in the Butterflies, $29 - $119
19. Enhance the back panel of your kitchen cabinets.
Can you believe this is a rental kitchen? That's right! Medina from Grillo Designs proves that renters can have swoon-worthy culinary spaces, too. One of the coolest parts of the transformation is the redesign of the upper cabinets. She removed the doors to create open shelving, painted them white (with her landlord's approval), and added removable wallpaper to the back panel. Genius!
Get the look: Black Ink Leaves Wallpaper, $5.20 per square foot
20. Touch up a humdrum entryway.
Don't forget to show some love to your entryway, too. Brooke from Nesting With Grace gave her foyer a lovely facelift with the help of a dynamic wallpaper pattern. The soft tones keep the repeating starburst print from looking too busy.
21. Refurbish your fireplace surround.
Punctuate your living room with a fireplace surround worthy of being a focal point. Sure, you can install tile — or you can take the easy route and go with removable wallpaper, like this geometric black-and-white design, instead.
Get the look: Snazzy Decal Tile Sticker Peel-and-Stick, $14.95 - $155
22. Create the ultimate to-do list.
Have trouble staying on task? Use peel-and-stick chalkboard wallpaper to generate the ultimate to-do list. You can also hang it in a playroom or child's bedroom and let the doodling begin.
Get the look: Tempaper & Co. Chalkboard Black Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper, $45
23. Add a little embellishment to closet doors.
Just because closet doors are utilitarian, that doesn't mean that they can't also be beautiful. Marry form with function, as Megan Zietz from TF Diaries did, and cover the doors to your wardrobe with peel-and-stick wallpaper. Zietz opted for a green zebra print that looks right at home alongside the other vibrant hues used throughout the bedroom.
24. Line drawers with a fun print.
Drawer liners can protect your delicates from snagging on wood, but that doesn't mean they can't be playful, too. Have a bit of fun with the practical item (and maybe make putting your clothes away less of a chore) by selecting an interesting pattern, like the white and ochre leopard print used inside these drawers.
25. Make a statement in the bedroom.
Dabito of the blog Old Brand New isn't afraid to have fun with color, so when it came time to give this guest bedroom a redux he went all in with a bold yellow accent wall. The graphic patterned wallpaper design from Society6 makes quite the impression and injects a note of cheer into this refuge.
Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper FAQs
How long will peel-and-stick wallpaper last?
Removable paper doesn't last as long as conventional wallpaper and has a lifespan of roughly three to four years.
Do you have to prep walls for peel-and-stick wallpaper?
Peel-and-stick wallpaper adheres best to surfaces that are smooth and primed with satin or semi-gloss paint. Matte, flat, and low-sheen paint, as well as textured walls, can cause the wallpaper to bubble and peel. Wipe down the walls with a damp cloth and make sure that they've dried before hanging the wallpaper.
How do you clean peel-and-stick wallpaper?
Peel-and-stick wallpaper is easy to clean with a mix of mild detergent and water using a non-abrasive sponge.
How do you remove peel-and-stick wallpaper?
If you follow your supplier's installation guide, peel-and-stick wallpaper is easy to remove: Start at an upper corner and pull slowly and firmly at an angle (rather than straight down) to minimize damage and tearing. Bonus: Some peel-and-stick wallpaper can be reused after removal. Keep the backing of your peel-and-stick wallpaper and you can actually remove it and take it with you when you leave.