Temporary Wallpaper for Renters - 8 Tips for Less Expensive, Commitment-Free Decorating

If you're a renter, you're among the millions of people who took the standard detour between leaving home and home ownership. Renting doesn't catch quite the flak it did a few years ago, because today's renter doesn't risk taking on an underwater mortgage, rising home repair costs, or a devastating foreclosure. Of course, we're all crossing our fingers and toes for better economic times ahead.
In the meantime, you, the style-savvy renter, don't have to give up your dream of living in a space you'll absolutely love to come home to. The biggest challenge to your goal is obeying your lease's decorating limitations. I've heard that there are landlords out there who don't mind spackling and repainting between tenants, but I imagine most landlords simply don't know how much time and money their renters spend restoring a rented apartment after they've painted and decorated it themselves. If your landlord and lease don't allow painting or alterations, you don't have to pencil in an extra week of restoration duties before moving out - here are eight tips for less expensive, commitment-free decorating with temporary wallpaper for renters:
1. Eliminate the need for accessories. Notice I didn't say, "Eliminate accessories altogether." Shopping for the perfect throw or lamp is a joy no one should be denied, but bending your decorating budget won't be as urgent once you've designed a temporary focal wall to break up the monotony caused by matching furniture (that happens to also match the carpet and existing interior paint job). Choose patterned temporary wallpaper that moves you and design an accent wall to trump even the fanciest home accessories.
2. Replace traditional hanging wall art with a wall covered in temporary wallpaper. You don't necessarily need a hammer and nails to give your walls dimension. Apply an eye-catching pattern over a solid wall color and you'll feel better about retiring (or propping up) your collection of framed photos for a while.
3. Cover up any preexisting wall flaws without sacrificing your own time and money. That structural eyesore you temporarily inherited? It belongs behind something, where it can't rear its ugly head every time you enter the room. If rearranging furniture isn't an option, cover it with temporary wallpaper and transform the entire space to one you actually like in one short afternoon.
4. Redirect attention from missing furniture. If you've always wanted a headboard to adorn the mattress you'd live on, were it large enough to also hold a shower and stove, you can easily design your own. Make a few measurements and use a pencil to outline a straight or scalloped square on a piece of temporary wallpaper. Trim it carefully with a pair of scissors and, voila, you've created a stick on headboard to bring out the color in all those cute sheet sets you've collected.
5. Add details without drilling. Cultivating a few stylish elements to enhance your current living space doesn't necessarily require making alterations to your landlord's property. Use temporary wallpaper to cover a desktop, redesign a walk-in closet, or, if you happen to like the paint color already in place, create complementary patterned stripes with a pair of scissors and a steady hand.
6. Avoid spending on and storing paint and painting supplies. Unless you have your landlord's blessing to paint the apartment without repainting it back to normal before you move out, you should plan to spend on at least two full cans of paint - one of your choosing and one that matches the original color. In order to save on supplies between the two rounds of painting, you'll also need to hang on to the brushes, rollers, border tape, and trays until it's time to repaint before moving out. Temporary wallpaper goes on and comes off, leaving the landlord's paint job completely intact and your extra closet space open for wardrobe expansion or storing seasonal decorations.
7. Save your roll of contact paper for the silverware drawer in the break room. Contact paper is fiercely adhesive and rarely comes off without wreaking havoc on surfaces. Your landlord would probably prefer you use it to permanently line the drawers and cabinets in your office's employee lounge instead. If bare bureaus and unlined cupboards make you uneasy, no problem - you can use extra scraps of temporary wallpaper to get the job done without causing damage.
8. Take it with you when you go. If you're working with the reusable kind of temporary wallpaper, you can remove it and pack it with your things when it's time to move out. Simply store it on its original backing and reuse it to reinvent a nest, whether it's finally yours or still someone else's (for now).
Allison Krongard is the founder and president of WallCandy® Arts, a U.S.A. manufacturer and distributor of modern, unique, high quality, removable, reusable, and repositionable vinyl wall decals and temporary wallpaper for nurseries, kid's rooms, dorm room decor, play rooms, classrooms and rooms for teens and adults.
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