coffee bar with whitewashed brick paver wallpaper backsplash

Peel and Stick Wallpaper: A Renter’s ‘How TO’

Before any great room transformation there is a dilimna we all face… how do I make this space feel more personalized and how much time/money can I budget to this project. I understand the dilemma of making a house feel like your home, yet not wanting to invest money into something you can’t take with you when it comes time to move. Start with a small space that gets lots of visability. My guess is, there is an accent wall, small room, or designated wall space which needs some texture, color, and personality but you might feel a bit stuck with options. Fret no more. I’ve come up with a ways to make the generic visually disappear and it’s called peel and stick wallpaper!

Yes, this stuff works! It’s easy to instal, easy to remove and there are more pattern options out there than throw pillows (close to it at least). To show you how this stuff works I am redoing the kitchen backsplash in our rental home. The kitchen is said to be the hub of the home; for us, it’s wherever the coffee pot is. In this case, our coffee station is located in our kitchen, making it highly trafficked by early risers, remote workers, and visiting loved ones. In a rental house, however, the kitchen can be one of the most challenging spaces to personalize. The counters, cabinets, flooring, layout, and appliances are already chosen, so how do you make a standard suburbia kitchen feel like…YOURS!?

When decorating any space in my home I ask myself two questions: How is this space used and what do I want my eyes to notice. Sometimes I poll my husband to understand his perspective as well, after all he lives here, too.

For the kitchen, I needed a way to add some visual interest and highlight our cute white dishes and countertop canisters rather than the cabinets. One way to do this is by bringing color and texture to your backsplash (or lack thereof). This can be done with paint, but when you move it will need to be repainted; it can be done with tile, but this can get pricey; or it can be accomplished with a peel and stick wallpaper! Yep, I used wallpaper as my backsplash. The downfall is ya can’t take it with you when you go, but when it does come time to move, this stuff peels right off!

Installation is super simple and can be done alone or with one helpful friend. Essentially, it’s a kitchen-sized puzzle with instant satisfaction.

installing peel and stick wallpaper

1. Start by removing all outlet covers.
2. Wipe off the walls with a damp rag to remove any grease splatters.
3. Measure the distance between counter and cabinets, then cut a strip of wallpaper to a manageable size.
4. Peel and stick! I smoothed out each piece with a credit card beginning in the center and working towards the edges.

5. The trick is to line up your pattern so seams become near invisible. Notice in the picture above I did NOT do this. Similar to doing a 1000 piece puzzle, after staring at the pieces for a while your eyes start to pick up on all the little intricacies. This was exactly how I felt installing this wallpaper. A couple pieces in and I had the pattern down.
*If you mess up, the paper is easy to remove and can be saved for a different location.

brick paver wallpaper

6. Once smooth, trim up the edges using an exacto knife, removing any excess paper.
7. Finally, screw back on the outlet covers.

faux brick paver backsplash

And there you have it! A simple, easy installation and some much needed texture for the kitchen walls. For most projects this is where you would organize countertop utensils and call it a job well done, but I am a bit of a perfectionist. After a day or two, I realized this was actually a bit too much contrast and a little busy for my liking. While it did draw the eye away from the cabinets, it also drew the eye away from my dishes rather than highlight them.

whitewash brick paver wallpaper backsplash

I decided to whitewash the backsplash by brushing a light coat of ivory paint over the wallpaper. If you plan to whitewash your backsplash do this in small sections. Immediately after painting quickly dabbed the wall with a paper towel to remove excess paint and conceal brush strokes. This dilutes the color while also enhancing the texture of the “brick.”

Love it! My backsplash is complete. It’s still got enough color and texture to liven up our kitchen, but it’s subtle enough to be the perfect backdrop for dishes on display.

whitewash brick paver wallpaper

Sometimes simple touches make a big difference, and to me this one was completely worth it! More on our kitchen to come : )

coffee bar with whitewashed brick paver wallpaper backsplash

6 thoughts on “Peel and Stick Wallpaper: A Renter’s ‘How TO’

  1. Bobby Stroup says:

    This is the first blogpost of yours that I’ve read, and wow! This was really well written. It’s quick and interesting with easy to follow instructions and helpful photos. I’ll definitely be reading more!

    • admin says:

      Hi Bobby! You are so sweet, thank you for the support and positive feedback: ) Glad you found your way to my blog.

  2. Nancy Zirbas says:

    This looks great Dusti. I LOVE that you washed the wallpaper with a little paint. It looks like it’s always been there. Don’t you just LOVE all the patterns of peel and stick wallpaper they have. At work they moved my office (4 time in 5 years,but I don’t care). They moved me to a vacant classroom with light tan walls. LOTS of awesome windows for natural light but very boring walls. I was told about a produce called “Better than Paper” that could be found in teacher supply stores. It is awesome!!! Comes in several modern, trendy patterns and is $15 for a 4′ x 12′ roll. AND IT’S DRY ERASE!!! I spent the last few days putting this paper in the classroom in the corner to identify my little space. I really love how it came out. When I get moved again next year, I can simply take it down and re-use it. This produce might be something you would like for your adorable vanilla home. Go check out my facebook and see what you think. Love you dear one. Nancy Z.

    • admin says:

      Thank you! Yes, I was a bit nervous at first but committed to it and am so thrilled with the result. WILL USE AGAIN : )

      Your classroom corner sounds super cute and multifunctional. Thanks for the tip : )

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