Before and After: A Bold Renter-Friendly Paint Job That Will Wow You

published Jun 16, 2020
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
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Rental Friendly
Before: dining room with white ceiling and dark walls
Credit: Honja Kocemba

Sometimes a room needs just a little something extra to take it from perfectly lovely to show-stopping. Honja Kocemba had already begun the process of transforming her outdated 1970’s dining room into a more modern space with lots of black and white and clean lines, but felt something was missing. She’d added board and batten, replaced the trim and flooring, scraped the popcorn ceiling, and was trying to come up with a way to add color and pattern.

Credit: Honja Kocemba

Honja, a designer based in Minneapolis, has an Instagram full of murals she paints around town, as well as in her own home. So it’s no surprise she decided to finish this room with a mural—on the ceiling! To make it less permanent, she used a base of peel-and-stick Tempaper paintable wallpaper. It’s a smart hack for renters or anyone else who can’t quite commit to a long-lasting pattern or color—when you’re tired of what you have, you can just peel it off.

Credit: Honja Kocemba

After applying the paper to the whole ceiling, Honja got to work painting. She first applied a base coat of pink, then projected a leaf design onto the ceiling to give her an image to trace. Once she traced, Honja painted in the pattern.

While it’s important to have an outline of the pattern for reference, Honja used hers loosely, adding or omitting paint when necessary and touching up and filling areas as the mural evolved. Honja ended up spending only about $20 on paint to create it.

Credit: Honja Kocemba

Honja ended up using two different sheens of paint for the project, which ended up making the mural even more interesting by adding texture when the layers play off the light. Placing warm colors so closely to the light source gives the room a completely different vibe, making it glow with warm light in the evening. 

As anyone who has experience with peel-and-stick wallpaper knows, the job is easier when you have an additional someone to help lend a hand. The plus side to using this plain paper, though, is that there’s no pattern matching involved. Honja recommends a slight overlap at the seams to keep paint from seeping through the paper.

Credit: Honja Kocemba

For anyone too skittish to do a ceiling mural—or even a wall one!—the temporary wallpaper provides a risk-free way to dip your toes in. And as Honja says: “It’s just paint! I enjoyed the process and have no fear of redoing the design later just for fun and a change.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.