Awesome Decorating Alternatives for Walls

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wall mural

For years, paint has led the interior design industry as the foundation of any good design scheme. At the same time, most property managers deny renters this basic design principle and if allowed to paint, it is often with drab colors that barely qualify as something other than eggshell white. So what are renters to do? Check out these hip ideas to cover your walls and add visual impact without getting on your property owners bad side.


Overlooked too often by color hungry designers, hanging mirrors is an awesome way to change a wall. Mirrors also give the illusion of more light and a bigger space, so if your apartment is feeling dark and cramped, consider a wall design using mirrors. For an artsy vibe, use a variety of framed mirrors (paint the frames if you must have color), and hang randomly. For a modern vibe, think shapes and hang unframed mirror tiles in a cool pattern. Use wall adhesive that leaves no holes and you have an awesome wall and a happy landlord.


Murals are another design tool that does not get enough attention when designing, but if you are looking for attention, a wall mural is your answer! From beautiful landscapes to abstract art, wall murals come in tons of styles and sizes that will make your wall pop without a drop of paint. Wall murals are also less expensive than you might guess, typically not much more than a couple gallons of paint. If you are not sure where to find wall murals, check online or with your local print shops.

DIY Drop Cloth Art

I had a friend who did this unique idea and it turned out beautifully so I thought I would share. It requires some minor construction so I will list it in steps as follows.

  1. Begin by constructing a simple wood frame in your choice of size (she made a frame six feet by six feet, so it would fit through her door when she moved).
  2. Head to your local hardware store and purchase a canvas drop cloth (used by painters ironically), a staple gun and some staples.
  3. Lay the frame on a flat surface a have a friend hold the drop cloth tight while you staple it to the frame.
  4. Paint the drop cloth in whatever color and design your heart desires!

While this idea might seem a little offbeat, my friend’s painting was so pretty and artfully crafted; I think this project is a fun one to try. Just in case you are wondering, she wanted a bright yellow wall in her kitchen (but obviously was restricted from painting), so she painted a field of sunflowers on her drop cloth canvas and put a plain yellow wall to shame.

Beaded Curtains

Once a staple in the 1970’s, but most often found in a teen’s room these days, you can decorate tastefully with beaded curtains. Instead of hanging them in the traditional doorway, hang them right on your wall. This will create color, dimension, and texture on your wall without touching a paintbrush. Try hanging them straight across (parallel with the ceiling) or staggered for extra impact. Think all beaded curtains come in obnoxious neon colors? Think again, beaded curtains now come in a huge variety of colors and even different materials such as wood or shells. Try it!

Framed Picture Collage

Pictures collages are not a new idea, but maybe you forgot they are a great way to cover a wall without painting. Thrift stores are great for inexpensive frames and the possibilities of what you can hang is endless; from magazine ads to pressed leaves. If you must have more color on your wall, consider framing colored pieces of fabric or paper. This will give your wall the color you seek without getting you in trouble with your property manager.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about ways to cover your walls and add emphasis to your living space without breaking your rental agreement. If none of these ideas suits your taste, keep thinking! Tapestries, posters, and signs are a few more, but the potential to get creative does not stop there. Just remember; try to use wall adhesive when you can to avoid holes, no paint does not mean you have to live with boring walls, and have fun with it!

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