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7 Unique Ways to Use Peel and Stick Wallpaper

White kitchen cabinets with a colored backsplash; a cupboard with wallpaper in the back; a staircase using pink wallpaper
@rebeccadiy/Instagram, @astoldbymichelle/Instagram, @ponderosa_and_plaid/Instagram

Peel and stick wallpaper is a great option for temporarily updating your walls—but that’s not all it can do. With a little DIY know-how, you can transform your entire space with this convenient product.

With its easy application and equally easy removal, peel and stick wallpaper is a favorite for everyone from home DIY’ers to renters looking for a removable way to personalize a space. It’s also a colorful and creative solution for upgrading furniture, adding a splash of color to unexpected places, and much more. You can use scraps of leftover wallpaper from a previous project, or start from scratch, to tackle these fun and easy projects.

Line Cabinets and Drawers

Your kitchen cabinets and drawers see a lot of use, so why not make them colorful and protected at the same time? The vinyl of peel and stick wallpaper creates a durable layer inside your drawers and cabinets, protecting the wood underneath while allowing you to customize to match your style. You can apply wallpaper to the backs of cabinets, or the bottoms of cabinets and drawers, or both.

Plus, it’s totally temporary—you can remove the paper if you decide to switch things up or if you’re moving out.

Follow these steps to transform your kitchen with very little hassle, like @astoldbymichelle demonstrates:

  1. Empty the drawer or cabinet in question. If the cabinet has removable shelves, remove them; otherwise, you can work around them.
  2. Combine 1 quart of warm water with 1 teaspoon dish detergent.
  3. Using a soft cloth and the detergent solution, wipe down the surface you intend to adhere the wallpaper to.
  4. Take a fresh cloth, dip it in clear, warm or room temperature water, and wipe down the surface again to remove any soap residue.
  5. Leave open and let dry for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how much airflow the area gets.
  6. Measure the inside area. Use a flexible tape measure, rather than a rigid one, to ensure accuracy in these small spaces.
  7. Mark the measurements out on the piece of wallpaper and cut to size.
  8. Peel off a little of the wallpaper backing, line it up at the edge of the surface, and press down to adhere.
  9. Continue working, gently peeling the backing off and pressing down the adhesive as you go.
  10. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  11. If necessary, use a utility knife tool to trim off any excess paper at the bottom.
  12. Let sit for 12 to 24 hours before putting objects back in.

Dawn Dish Soap Ultra Dishwashing Liquid

A gentle cleanser to prep your surfaces.

2 Pack Measuring Tape

Flexible measuring tapes get into those tight corners.

You can use the same process to line dresser drawers, too. Lining dresser drawers not only gives you a fun pop of color and pattern every time you open your drawers, but it also helps protect your clothes. It provides a smooth, durable surface to place your clothes against—no risk of snagging your favorite clothes on a rough spot in the drawer.

If you happen to have leftover bits of paper from other projects, they can come in handy when dealing with drawers. Instead of just lining the bottom of the drawer, you can often use those smaller bits to line the sides and back of the drawer as well.

Add Color to a Staircase

You use your stairs all the time, so why not make them stand out? You can use peel and stick wallpaper to temporarily turn your stairs into striking accent features. This is especially great for using up the leftovers from a previous project, but you can do it on its own as well. The only requirement is having stairs with hard sides, not carpeted.

Then, just follow these steps, similar to how @ponderosa_and_plaid does in the reel above:

  1. Measure the dimensions of the front-facing panel of your stairs. Check that all the stairs are uniform, or if they vary in height at all.
  2. Wipe the stairs with a dish soap and water solution, as described above, and let dry for at least 12 hours.
  3. Cut your wallpaper pieces to the dimensions you found in Step 1. If you leave a bit of extra material on the edges, that’s okay—you’ll trim it off later.
  4. Start on the top step. Peel off a little of the wallpaper backing on your first piece, line it up at a top corner of the panel, and press down to adhere.
  5. Continue working, gently peeling the backing off and pressing down the adhesive as you go.
  6. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  7. If necessary, use a utility knife tool to trim off any excess paper at the bottom.

Make a Wallpaper Headboard

Instead of a regular old headboard, why not spruce up your walls with an “illusion” wallpaper headboard? By covering part of the wall in the shape of a headboard, you can make a bold, colorful, or patterned “headboard” unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Just follow these simple steps, as shown in this video by Charlotte Smith, aka @atcharlotteshouse:

  1. Measure the length and width of the space you want to turn into the “headboard.”
  2. On the floor or other flat surface, lay out panels of peel and stick wallpaper until you’ve reached the desired dimensions. Lightly tape the panels together, but just to temporarily hold them—you’ll remove the tape later.
  3. Trace and cut any arch or other shape, trimming away the excess until you’re left with a large, joined-together sheet of wallpaper in the exact shape of the “headboard.”
  4. Clean the wall with a dish soap solution, as suggested above, then with clear water.
  5. Let dry for 12 to 24 hours before applying the wallpaper.
  6. Use light pencil markings to mark the wall where you want the headboard to go.
  7. Remove the tape from the wallpaper panels.
  8. Start with one of the edge pieces, then peel off a little of the wallpaper backing, line it up with your pencil line at the top, and press down to adhere.
  9. Continue working, gently peeling the backing off and pressing down the adhesive as you go.
  10. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  11. Repeat for each panel, lining up the pattern as you go.

tiptopcarbon Wallpaper Smoothing Tool Kit

Ensure your wallpaper is smooth and bubble-free.

Add a Pop of Color to Your Closet

Your closet doesn’t have to just be a space to store clothes and other stuff. It can be a statement of style just as much as the items it holds! Every time you open your closet door, you’ll get to see something beautiful and personalized, but it’s also easy to remove if you’re renting or if you just change your mind.

Follow these easy steps for a gorgeous, custom closet like this one by @astoldbymichelle without a custom-work price tag:

  1. Pull everything out of your closet and store it elsewhere temporarily.
  2. Clean the wall with a dish soap solution, as suggested above, then with clear water.
  3. Let dry for 12 to 24 hours before applying the wallpaper.
  4. Measure each section of wall that you plan to cover. Since closets may have several small panels and corners, try to break it into rectangular “sections” as much as possible. Label each section with a letter or number and keep track—it will help you line up pattern edges when installing the wallpaper.
  5. Cut individual pieces of wallpaper, ensuring that adjacent sections are cut from adjacent pieces so that the patterns will line up.
  6. Start with a corner section of wall. Peel off a little of the wallpaper backing, line it up at the edge of the wall, and press down to adhere.
  7. Continue working, gently peeling the backing off and pressing down the adhesive as you go.
  8. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  9. Repeat steps 4-6 with the adjacent section of wallpaper, being sure to line up the pattern as closely as possible.
  10. Continue repeating, working out from each section, until you’ve covered everywhere you want to.
  11. If necessary, use a utility knife tool to trim off any excess paper at the edges, or around shelf corners and racks.
  12. Let sit for 12-24 hours before replacing clothes in the closet.

Amazon Basics Folding Utility Knife

A basic utility knife helps ensure a professional-looking application.

Customize a Bookshelf

Want to make your bookshelves into even more of a focal point? Cover the back panels with peel and stick wallpaper for a colorful, personalized touch. Whether your bookshelves are loaded up with books and the back just barely peeks out, or you’ve styled them with more open space and visibility, a pop of color or pattern can really turn a basic piece into a customized standout, like the team at @dualconceptdesign shows above.

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove everything from the bookshelves.
  2. If possible, remove the shelves themselves. If they are anchored in place, that’s okay too.
  3. Take the measurements of the back of the bookshelf, whether in individual shelves or the whole back, depending on whether you were able to remove the shelves.
  4. Starting with the top corner, take a panel of peel and stick wallpaper, peel a little of the backing off, and press the adhesive to the back of the bookshelf.
  5. Continue working, gently peeling the backing off and pressing down the adhesive as you go.
  6. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  7. If necessary, use a utility knife tool to trim off any excess paper at the bottom.
  8. Repeat as needed with each new panel. If the pieces of wallpaper are directly adjacent to one another, make sure the seams and patterns line up.

Furinno Jaya Simple Home Bookcase

A simple bookshelf provides the perfect canvas for customizing with wallpaper.

Add a Kitchen Backsplash

Want to make your kitchen stand out, but don’t have the budget or ability to totally retile? Make a new backsplash out of peel and stick wallpaper! The vinyl is super-easy to wipe down, making it a great choice for kitchens, and it’s easy to remove when you’re ready for a change.

Follow these steps, as Rebecca Propes (@rebeccadiy) demonstrates above:

  1. Clear out everything from in front of the backsplash area.
  2. Wipe down the wall or tile with a dish soap solution, as shown above, then with clear water.
  3. Let dry for 12 to 24 hours before applying the wallpaper.
  4. Take a panel of wallpaper and peel off a little of the wallpaper backing.
  5. Line it up at the top corner underneath your cabinets, and press down the adhesive.
  6. Continue working downward, peeling away from the backing and pressing down the adhesive side as you go.
  7. Repeat with the next panel, checking to match the pattern.
  8. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  9. If necessary, use a utility knife tool to trim off any excess paper at the bottom.

Customize the Front of Cabinets or Drawers

Peel and stick wallpaper can spruce up your cabinets and drawers without a fuss and without committing to a permanent change. Whether you’re renting and can’t make major changes, or you just aren’t sure you want to spend the time and money on a bigger overhaul, removable wallpaper is a great solution, as @astoldbymichelle demonstrates in the video above.

Here’s how you can add a pop of personality to your cabinets or drawers:

  1. Temporarily remove handles and other hardware.
  2. Measure the area on the cabinet front that you wish to cover. If your cabinets or drawers have inset “panels”, the best option is usually to cover that area and leave the “outer ring” uncovered.
  3. Wipe down the front of the panels with the dish soap/water solution as described above, then with clear water.
  4. Let dry for 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Use the measurements from Step 1 and a pencil to mark where to cut your sheets of wallpaper, then cut to size.
  6. Peel off a little of the wallpaper backing, line it up at the top edge of the panel, and press down to adhere.
  7. Continue working in a downward motion, gently peeling the backing off and pressing down the adhesive as you go.
  8. Use a plastic smoothing tool to smooth out any air bubbles beneath the surface.
  9. If necessary, use a utility knife tool to trim off any excess paper at the bottom.
  10. Repeat on other segments until done.

You can do so much more with peel and stick wallpaper than you might imagine. With these easy how-to guides and a little creativity, you can transform any part of your space into a personalized, beautiful focal point you’ll love.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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