smallcoolnyc

7 Surprising Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper DIYs That Are Easier than You Think

published Dec 27, 2023
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Side view of a pink velvet bed frame with white scalloped duvet. The room has pink walls, a black armoire and side table, and a gold framed standing mirror.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Because paint companies, beloved old-school wallpaper brands, and even interior designers have created their own peel-and-stick wallpapers, it seems like it’s easier than ever to cover a space you love with wallpaper. All the while, there are seemingly more patterns and colorways available than ever, and there are also more places to add peel-and-stick wallpaper than ever. It’s a DIY trifecta!

Having trouble thinking beyond walls? Let these designers from Apartment Therapy’s Small/Cool 2023 NYC event show you some of the many, many places and ways you can add a (completely reversible!) pop of color or pattern with peel-and-stick.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio
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Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Inside Picture Frame Molding 

Adding picture frame molding to walls to make them feel straight out of a fancy hotel has been a popular DIY project in 2023. Take that to the next level by adding peel-and-stick wallpaper to the inside of your molding, á la Kevin Francis O’Gara and Natalie Wong. This is a great project for two reasons: You’re making your wallpaper feel like art (and it is!), and it’s more economical than wallpapering an entire wall.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Inside Drawers 

You can also use just a tiny swatch of peel-and-stick (maybe even a sample-sized version!) to add a pop of color to a piece of furniture. See: The peekaboo green wallpaper Apartment Therapy’s Projects Director, Megan Baker Detloff, added to the sides of the desk drawers in the home office she designed.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

On a Whiteboard 

Detloff added more ‘70s-inspired paisley peel-and-stick to a whiteboard-bulletin board hybrid in her office space, which “is all about customizing off-the-shelf pieces with easy upgrades you can do yourself.” These pretty prints certainly beat the brown and white backgrounds that would be there otherwise, and the piece of furniture functions just the same. Best yet, you can flip to “a ‘new’ workspace look on the daily to suit your mood,” she says.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

To Fake the Look of Shiplap

When I first walked into Drew Barrymore’s Sunny Style studio, I thought it had actual shiplap on the back wall, but it’s actually white peel-and-stick wallpaper that looks like the real deal but is totally 2D. It’s a true trompe-l’œil.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Inside a (Non-Functional, of Course) Fireplace

If you have a faux fireplace made from plaster, a freestanding mantel, or even cardboard, or if your old apartment or house’s fireplace is no longer functional, you can still make the firebox look very, very real with peel-and-stick wallpaper that looks like tile or adds faux architectural detail. I love the vertical striped and checkered wallpapers Carmen René Smith used to do exactly that.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

To Line a Boot Tray

Miles Willis McDermott used polka-dot peel-and-stick paperon the inside of some trays for boots in his avant-garde entryway called Grand Entrance. You could copy this same tray technique for a small toiletry tray in a bathroom or a large centerpiece on a dining room table.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

As a Toe Kick on Cabinetry

Lastly, Maitri Modi used checkerboard pattern head-to-toe (literally) in her Creative Cabinetry kitchenette. By placing the orange checkerboard wallpaper on the toe kick beneath the cabinetry, she didn’t spare a single detail. The cabinets almost look like they’re floating.