4 Unexpected Ways You’ve Never Thought to Decorate with Temporary Wallpaper

updated May 26, 2020
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Like painting, installing removable wallpaper is one of those projects that can make a world of a difference in a space, especially if you’re partial to color and pattern. Within an afternoon’s time—or even less, truthfully, you can completely transform your walls. Temporary wallpaper has come such a long way in the past five years or so. There are more prints, brands, and price points in the game than ever, and these products have begun to rival traditional paste-the-wall and pre-pasted wallpapers in terms of style—and, dare I say, eclipsed them entirely in terms of practicality, since they’re far more flexible and DIY friendly.

Designers aren’t just installing wallpaper uniformly in a room these days either. If the recent Small/Cool Experience is any indication, they’re getting creative with application methods and ideas centered upon temporary wallpaper. You can see these new style strategies in a bunch of the Small/Cool Experience rooms, and lucky for you, I’m going to highlight a few special application ideas here, some of which you might have never thought of before.

Credit: Danie Drankwalter

Create Asymmetry

First up is designer Emily Henderson’sEclectic English” bedroom, where wallpaper plays somewhat of a supporting role in a cast that includes charming wainscoting, layered vintage-look rugs, and an old school picture rail. Wallpapering above wainscoting isn’t a new concept, but this color combo—rich, chalky red painted woodwork paired with a beige tree toile wallpaper—is what feels super fresh after years dominated by moody grays and blues. Moreover, the wainscoting that wraps around the room is two different heights. The bed wall woodwork is about a foot taller than the side walls, which means you get slightly irregularly-sized stretches of toile that draw the eye in even more than if the whole room were uniform.

Credit: Danie Drankwalter

Cut a Shape Out of Wallpaper

Painting a geometric shape or simple mural of abstract shapes on a wall is all the rage right now. Designer Gunnar Larson put a new spin on this trend, however, by creating a hexagon out of emerald grid patterned wallpaper on the left side of his “80’s Explosion” living room. Paint is great, and smaller scale projects like this can be done pretty quickly and easily. If you choose to use temporary wallpaper though, there’s zero mess and even less prep work involved. Plus, you get a pop of color and pattern in one. You just have to order enough panels or rolls to be able to cut out the shape you want—and take your time lining up the seams and sides of the shape when you install it. If you love this decorating idea and can’t decide between paint or paper, let Larson’s room be the proof that you can do both, actually. The back wall of his space features a green painted semi-circle shape, accented perfectly by a shelving unit and a painting that Larson designed himself.

Credit: Danie Drankwalter

Make Wallpaper “Stripes” Using Panels

Many temporary wallpaper products come in panels that are a few feet wide and tall. Why not exploit that rectangular strip shape to do something dramatic, just like designer Carmen René Smith of Aquilo Interiors did in her “Mix and Match” space? The designer used two different patterns—a classic plaid and an abstract geometric—to create vertical bands that intersected a wide horizontal black painted stripe. The resulting wall treatment is a dynamic interplay of color, texture, and line fit for anyone who’s loving the return to maximalism happening in design right now. 

Credit: Danie Drankwalter

Accent an Unexpected Wall

Finally, you’ve surely seen the wallpapered accent wall. There was no shortage of this treatment in the Small/Cool Experience, but I loved what designers Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25 and Angela Belt did in their rooms “Crystal Influence” and “The Dark Side,” respectively. Instead of accenting the bed walls, both switched it up and decided to to accent a side wall in their spaces instead. This simple shift to a different spot makes temporary wallpaper feel all the fresher.