White vs. Color. I can't seem to decide. My old apartment was an obvious sway in the color direction, but I found myself coveting the tranquil white rooms that are all over my favorite design blogs.

While I still swoon over pics of those amazing airy spaces, three things have happened since. First, I moved into a new apartment with white walls. Ok, apartment-off-white walls, but still. Second, I realized I can't keep my place clean and organized 24/7, and the purest white walls and furniture just aren't going to look tranquil with all of what I've got going on. And third, I started to swoon over the most colorful pictures on those same blogs.

Now this, for better or worse, was my entry way. I love having an entry way for the first time in my renting life, but this sad scene wasn't cutting it. So I did what I thought any self motivated and determined young person would do - I upholstered it. Purple.


Inspiration and starch recipe found here. Yes, this makes a great big pot of goo, but I used a whole lot of it and it's not expensive.


Step 1: Paint a bit of the wall with the starch. I slopped it on pretty thickly. Smooth your fabric up against the sticky section, leaving some overhang at all the edges. (The fabric will shrink as it dries, and you'll go back and trim it later.) Then paint again on top of that section of fabric, all the way to the corners, just to be sure everything is well saturated. I also used a couple of thumbtacks along the top to be sure the fabric would stay put, just because it was going to get heavy.


Step 2: Work your way down the wall in sections, painting the wall first, smoothing the fabric into place, and painting over the fabric. Don't worry if you need to pull up the fabric and adjust in spots. Just keep painting on the starch, and things will stick right back down.


Step 3: Let the whole mess dry. Trim along the edges with a utility knife. Enlist the help of a tall person, if necessary. Use more starch to paste those corners and edges securely onto the wall. It all dries clear, so touching up is not an issue. We had a hard time trimming around the woodwork, so we actually pasted on some extra patches to square everything up a little better. The patches just barely peek out from behind the main piece, and you really can't see they're there at all.


Step 4: Enjoy! The fabric pulls right off the wall when you're ready to move on. Supposedly you can then toss it in the wash and use it again for other projects. All the work involved took maybe 2 hours, from making the starch to trimming the edges, but I did leave it to dry overnight between steps. I bought 3 yards of fabric from Ikea for this wall. Total cost, under $10.



Jenny and Greg said...

SO COOL! How's the texture? I'm totally going to do this (but with orange!)

Betsy said...

Do yo think you could have soaked the fabric then put it on the wall and smoothed it out?

Kristen said...

Hey Betsy! Yes, I do think soaking the fabric first would have worked. But I was a little concerned that it would get heavier and messier that way, and I would end up covered in starch. And the way I did it, once the top section was tacked in place and then pasted on, the whole thing went up and stuck really easily. I imagine soaking first is more like wallpapering, which is something I only watched my mom do once when I was really young. It probably works just fine! If you try it you'll have to keep me posted.

Stephanie said...

That is amazing, like seriously, amazing.

Alviana said...

great! thanx for sharing :)

Lindsey said...

Oh wow, this is beyond awesome! Thanks for the pictures, too!

GUGAW said...

beautiful! thanks for sharing this...i'm renting and have a fixed wardrobe with frosted mirrored doors. dya think if i used this process the fabric would come off ok without damaging the mirror frosting? xx

Aly said...

Thank you for the pictures! You've just eliminated all my fears of this project (and it's a good thing too because the wallpaper in my rental is terrible!)
Beautiful job!

Anonymous said...

Love the picts - purple is my fav!!! I have a hand painted Winnie the Pooh mural my mom and I did and I refuse to paint over it. My daughter does not share the same sentiment. The mural is varnished, but I'm very nervous to wallpaper with fabric as I don't want the mural to get ruined.... how is it pulling the fabric off when you are ready to change again?
Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just moved into an apartment with a big white cement brick wall... its not terrible looking, it just doesn't go with the d├ęcor I'm going for. Do you think this method would work with cement?

Anonymous said...

This is amazing! I have been wanting to do the fabric wallpaper on my wall at school. You mentioned that you used thumbtacks to hold it up.. Unfortunately, my walls are cement.. Do you have any other ideas of holding it up while it dries?

Anonymous said...

Use 3M Command Poster strips in the top corners. They can be pulled off the walls when you remove the fabric.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Here is the wall that I did!