14 Alternative Ways to Decorate Walls Without Paint

14 Alternative Ways to Decorate Walls Without Paint

So does your landlord says you can’t paint the walls? Or is the idea of re-painting just too messy and time-consuming?

Whatever your reason for not wanting to paint, here are 14 alternatives to decorating empty walls. 

1. Temporary Wallpaper 

Temporary wallpaper is a thing, and is especially becoming a popular design trend in the USA. In the UK however, peelable easy-to-remove wallpaper is a lot harder to find. Although a quick internet search found Wall-A-Tac – who not only provide peelable wallpaper to the UK, but who also allow you to design custom wallpaper, using your own photograph!

The theory behind temporary wallpaper is pretty simple, but does it actually work? Most reviews claim that temporary wallpaper does come off relatively easily, although as mentioned here, some brands can leave behind marks.

I would advise asking for a sample, and testing it out on a small area of wall, if you’re renting and are worried about marks being left.

2. DIY wall design using Masking Tape

A little more difficult, this method requires using coloured and decorative easy-peel tape to create custom designs on your wall. One of my personal favourites, you can create some really cute designs at the price of a few rolls of tape (not very expensive), and the possibilities are endless!

The great thing about this is that the masking tape will come off cleanly and easily, so you won’t have to worry about leaving behind any marks!

3. Hanging Art/Photos

The trick with using hanging wall art is to use removable wall hooks. These require no nails or glue and can be easily removed leaving no trace behind them. One drawback however is strength; they won’t be able to stand really heavy frames, so keep that in mind to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to a huge SMASHing noise!

With large, bare walls, you’ll want to hang your art/photos in an way that makes the empty space look a lot more interesting.

4. Wall Decals

Wall decals have become increasingly popular, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are they relatively inexpensive, they are dead easy to put up and can completely transform a boring wall.

Wall decals are essentially giant stickers, but instead of traditional stickers, they are super-easy to remove from walls, so again, they are a good option for renters.

5. Tile Transfers

Have a boring tiled kitchen or bathroom? Don’t worry, you can decorate them too! Tile transfers (or tile stickers) are an easy way to add character to a tiled room without the major hassle (and cost!) of having to re-tile the whole room.

Available from most home stores in the UK, tile transfers are similar to wall decals, although not always as easy to remove. The longer you leave them, the harder it is to remove them easily, although with elbow grease and water not impossible. Although it is something to bear in mind.

6. Stretched Fabric & Tapestries

Now I LOVE the idea of using fabric to decorate walls. But is it really feasible? There are a range of different methods, this one points out that although attaching fabric is easier than painting, it is also more expensive. This method also uses screws, which is often a no-no when it comes to renting.

Other methods include using starch, which works effectively but can be quite messy; see Apartment Therapy’s guide to making removable fabric wallpaper.

But you don’t have to go for a full-on fabric wall. Opt for a tapestry, like this world map from Urban Outfitters. You can use a variety of different methods to attach it, including drapery rods, Velcro strips,  coat hangers and curtain poles.

7. Shelves

Shelving is great because in this example because it has a dual-purpose; as storage and decoration. A more permanent feature, wall shelves will be difficult to remove without having to refill/repaint the wall.

But large shelving units can also be used to break up a boring wall, if you have the space. Another reason why shelves are a good option is because you can change what they display, meaning you can quickly transform the room again if you get  bored or want to create a new theme.

8. Bamboo blinds

Yes, I know that blinds are for windows, but bamboo roller blinds in particular looks fabulous as wall panels as well. This technique also works with straw beach mats – believe me!

In this tutorial, see how you can whitewash your bamboo blinds to create a even more subtle feel, adding texture and depth their minimalist bedroom.

9. Wall-Length Curtains

Curtains do not have to be limited to just covering windows. They can be used in many rooms to add design features; in bedrooms as headboards, as room dividers and even as decor.

Use a curtain to create a feature wall, or to create a focal point in the central of the room.

This technique also makes your windows look bigger.

10. Showcase your Collection

Do you have a collection? Use your wall as a gallery to showcase this collection. Not only is it unique, but it adds personality to your home. Display your plates or even your keying's to create an eye-catching feature.

11. Fake Flowers

This one gets an A+ for creativity – and it’s so simple! Attach fake flowers to the wall with masking tape to create a ‘3D Wallpaper’ effect.

But you don’t have to stop at fake flowers, get creative and use something else equally impressive.

12. Folding Screens

Folding screens are portable and versatile piece of furniture that can be used a temporary petitions, headboards and even against a wall as decor.

Use a transparent design with a lamp behind to create a illuminating romantic feel, or a bold striking screen against a neutral wall to add striking accent colours.

To make more of your screen, you can attach photos, or pictures to create a gallery effect. This avoids having to attach pictures to the wall, which can be a problem for renters.

Folding screens can be bought new, but I like to scour vintage shops and Etsy to find more original and quirky designs.

13. Bunting/garlands

Bunting and garlands are another popular trend which were revived by the Queen’s 2012 diamond jubilee. A simple way of bring colour to a blank wall, making your own garland is a fun weekend DIY project, especially if you have kids.

14. Hang guitars/bikes to walls

Again, this technique also doubles up as a great space saver, which is ideal if you live in a small space.

A simple and effective way to fill empty wall space, hanging your possessions on the wall also brings a sense of identity and personality into your interior design.

Like this post? Share it with your friends, and comment below if you have any other alternative decoration ideas that doesn’t involve paint.