This Renter-Friendly Design Idea Costs Less than $10 but Packs Plenty of Visual Punch

published Apr 10, 2023
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Bedroom with wall with painted pink geometric shapes, bed with pink and mint green pattern bedding. Corner with accent chair with paul frank monkey pillow, black and white patterned cushions. Pale pink wall and window with sheer white curtain behind

If your blank walls are bumming you out, and you want something a little more punchy than paint to zhuzh them up, wallcoverings might be your best bet. Tons of patterns, materials, and colorways exist, and I’m about to tell you about one more option.  Regardless of whether you rent or own, have you ever considered going the route of washi tape, instead of wallpaper? One creative renter created custom wall treatments throughout her space with just a couple of rolls of colorful tape, and now she has the funkiest, most bespoke “wallpaper” I’ve seen — and it only cost a few dollars to make!

Carolyn Becker (@petite_punk on TikTok) lives in a 893-square-foot condo in Rockville, Maryland that’s colorful, creative, and filled with loads of smart, budget-friendly design ideas. Becker works full-time as the Director of Communications and Community Engagement at Goodwill, and her biggest piece of decorating advice is “Goodwill or bust!” as she says in her house tour. “Thrifting for your home is a great way to curate a space filled with style, sustainability, and surprise!” 

While she was excited to bring all of her big ideas to life after buying her condo, Becker felt restricted by her budget. “My biggest challenge was my frugality,” she says. That’s where washi tape came in: instead of turning to pricey wallpaper, Becker covered multiple walls and surfaces around her home with little pieces of bold-colored tape.

In fact, Becker’s walls, kitchen backsplash, and even her bathroom vanity are all covered in similar colorful designs that look like confectionery sprinkles, while the bed wall in her bedroom showcases a variety of geometric forms. To get this look, Becker sourced inexpensive washi tapes from Staples in a variety of colors, cut strips of even lengths for the dashes (and went a little more freeform in the bedroom), then placed pieces on the wall to get a funky, ‘90s-inspired “Saved by the Bell” look.

If you’re stuck on how to make your walls look special, don’t discount this idea. While wallpaper comes in all sorts of beautiful patterns, this tape trick gives you a bunch of designs to choose from. You can create linear zig-zags, asterisks, geometric shapes, and dashes, or even use the tape to mimic a striped wallcovering. “To me, the walls and designs symbolize courage and bravery,” Becker says, and truly, the possibility to create something special with washi tape is aplenty — all without damaging your walls or spending a fortune.