Removable Fabric "Wallpaper"

savvyhousekeeping renting cover covering a wall without painting fabric wallpaper removable cheap wood paneling
(Image via Ruche)
A friend of mine is moving and ran into a common problem for renters: she can’t paint her walls. What’s worse, her new place is full of very dark wood paneling. She is looking for a way to cover it up that doesn’t use paint or will put a lot of holes in the wall.
I remember this dilemma from my renting days. You have a wall in your house that you can’t stand to look at, but you can’t do anything about it. Hanging curtains over it doesn’t look good. Putting up shelving or hanging large paintings only partially covers it. What do you do?
I think I have found a solution: removable fabric wallpaper. You get yourself a fabric that you like enough to cover a wall with, dip it or spray it with a starch solution, and smooth it over the wall like wallpaper. When it comes time to take it down, you just peel the fabric right off the wall. It leaves no trace behind.
savvyhousekeeping renting cover covering a wall without painting fabric wallpaper removable cheap wood paneling
(Image via Apartment Therapy)
Not only does this solve the renter’s problem of not being able to paint the walls, it allows you to change things up when you get tired of looking at it. And covering a wall this way can be very inexpensive. I have read of some people doing this with muslin they bought for $.89/yard and a mixture of cornstarch and water. Apparently laundry starch also works well.
As for the type of fabric to use, they say lightweight cotton works best.
The downside of covering a wall with fabric is that it is labor intensive and messy. But it could be worth it not to have to look at that ugly wall anymore.
You can read more about how to put up your own fabric wallpaper here and here and here.
This method can also be used to make your own wall decals on the cheap. Here is the only video I could find that shows how to do it and actually has a nice result (although the girl in it is kind of awkward–sorry about that!):

If you have tried covering a wall up this way, how did it go?

Sharing is caring!

2 thoughts on “Removable Fabric "Wallpaper"”

  1. My mom did this for my room when I was a kid. My room had a long hallway entrance and she used the same tartan fabric she used for my bedspreads and curtains. It was a great way to tie the room together.
    As far as hanging, my mom put the fabric up with a few push pins first to hold the fabric in place and then applied the starch over top. She said it was a lot easier than painting or papering, and I thought it smelled better – I was able to sleep in the room the day she put it up. Plus we were able to use the fabric again in our new place when we moved!
    I do remember there being a faint residue and color transfer from the fabric when we took it down. I don’t know how much of an issue it really was, but my step-mom griped about it after moving in. 🙂


Leave a Comment