The Easiest, Under $50 Home Upgrade You Need to Try—and It’s Not Painting

published Nov 2, 2020
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You know what I really miss? The afternoon makeover. Thanks to the HGTV-era, many of us are used to seeing major home renovations—gutted interiors, new tiles everywhere, and enough money invested to make you (and your bank account) weep. Somewhere along the way though, there’s been a bit of a loss of appreciation for the art of the interior hack that takes almost no time at all but leaves you completely reinvigorated with new love for your space. As many of us hunker down for more time spent indoors in the coming colder months, there’s no better moment for little changes that pack a big impact. 

That brings me to my current obsession: wall decals. Before you start thinking I mean inspirational quotes or directives, however, that’s not what I had in mind here. More and more, I’m seeing a decidedly modern take on the decal popping up all over Insta-worthy interiors, featuring geometric shapes—from arches to circles—in bold and neutral colors alike.

Sure, you could create something similar with paint, but that would involve far more prep work (and let’s be honest, potentially artistic skill) than you may have time for in between all those Zoom meetings and Netflix binges. Why not opt for a one-and-done peel-and-stick decal instead that—bonus!—won’t leave any damage to your wall if you’re a renter or just someone who changes their mind often? Decals can be removed easily by heating them up slightly with a hair dryer before peeling them off. Plus, with tons of inexpensive options to choose from on sites like Etsy (most are below $50, in fact), you can for sure find a style that works for your space. 

The key to nailing this look is all in the execution. You want to opt for something that’s graphic and impactful, so skip small circular dots or triangles in favor of bold, oversized arches and angular shapes. It helps to give your chosen decal a purpose, too. Sometimes they can look cool floating in the middle of a blank wall, but more often than not, it’ll appear like you just, well, stuck it there for no good reason.

Instead, integrate your decal into your room’s decor scheme, say, by hanging a semi-circle behind your bed to act as a “headboard,” sticking shapes behind a floating shelf or above a window to fake architectural detail, or placing an arch coming off your doorframe for a very cool entryway moment. The end result will be a cohesive accent that adds purposeful visual interest to any space. Etsy seems to be the best place to find these decals right now, so check out a few of my favorites available to buy below.

Removable Painted Arch Wall Decal

An arch takes at least a few hours to paint, but this decal? Just a minute or so to adhere to your wall. Choose from three different heights and twelve different colors.

Buy: Removable Painted Arch Wall Decal, Starting at $44.00

Colorblock Wall Decal Set

Some decals even come with multiple pieces, so you can go with more of a mural than just a single shape. This set includes two arches and one rectangle, and you can choose different colors for each type of shape.

Buy: Colorblock Wall Decal Set, $49.99 $42.49

Credit: Memphis Pat

Memphis Milano Wall Decal

If you like exuberant Memphis shapes and bold colors, this is the decal for you. Create a decorative little reading corner by pairing this design with an armchair and a small side table. Choose from three sizes to make sure you get the right amount of wall coverage.

Buy: Memphis Milano Wall Decal, Starting at $42.50

Boho Wall Decal

A navy arch motif is combined with a peach stair-shaped accent and a simple tan circle to create a graphic yet understated decal. Try this one behind a bed instead of a headboard or over a console for a fun backdrop for your decorative objects.

Buy: Boho Wall Decal, Starting at $46.78 for a Large Size

Half Circle Wall Decal

This half circle design comes in 63 colors, so you know one is bound to match the rest of the decor wherever you want to put it. With a diameter of 24 inches and a total height of a foot, it’s a great size to try behind a desk or even over a large doorway or window.

Buy: Half Circle Wall Decal, $27.00