Interior Design for Renters: DIY Wallpaper

Interior Design for Renters: DIY Wallpaper

If your Living Room is a rental, you’re in good company. Whether it’s a lifestyle choice or you’re just not ready to buy, lots of Portlanders rent. Even so, your space can reflect your personal flair and offer the look and comfort you want. We’ve found an expert to help with practical solutions for creating a unique look all your own.

Ashton Ford Horejs, founder of Ashton For Design, is generously sharing solutions with Where's Your Living Room? Ashton is located in Portland, OR where she specializes in commercial and residential interior design. However, she and her husband, Joshua, have faced the renter’s dilemma. As two creatives with loads of talent, how could they design an interior space that reflected their tastes without making major changes a landlord would find unacceptable?

In this edition, we’re starting with walls. Your living room doesn’t need to look like a blank white shell. After wrestling with the problem, Ashton conceived the idea of papering a feature wall with pages from the classic Joy of Cooking cookbook. According to Ashton, books loaded with hand-drawn illustrations make the best wallpapers and importantly, “the imagery should inspire you—after all, you’ll be living with it every day.” Used books are cheap and plentiful, and a trip to Powell’s books or the local Good Will should offer options. But Ashton also recommends local home goods stores like Maven Collective and Appetite Shop.

 

DIY Wallpaper

As Ashton and Joshua (an engineering student) worked out the process together, they found it only required a few supplies and a willingness to be patient to achieve great results. By following their steps, you’ll end up with a one-of-a-kind finished product, tailored to your space and unique to your home.

Supplies

Ruler
Palette knife
A level might also come in handy

Paper Trimmer
X-acto knife
Double-sided tape (plenty of it) 

 

Preparation

Make note of the pages you want to see most prominently on your wall. Save the less desirable pages to use on the outer edges of the surface you cover. Books are joined into sections called “signatures." Typically, 10-20 pages are folded to make each signature section. Carefully separate the signatures from the spine of the book. Cut the pages of the section down the middle where they were folded.

Important Note from Joshua: this is a point where cutting a perfect a 90 degree square edge will be crucial to maintain straight lines on the wall. It’s helps to have a paper trimmer, or use an x-acto knife and take your time.

When wallpapering with this method it’s best to start in the middle and work out toward the edges. It’s typical to find walls are slightly uneven where they meet the ceiling, floor, and corners. For that reason it’s best to mark the midpoint of the wall and work outward from there.

To Apply

Tape all four edges on the back side of the page with double-sided tape. Level the page on the wall and adhere. Repeat this process in a row on both sides of the starting point until the remaining width is narrower than the page.

Finishing Edges

Adhere tape to one side of the last page in the row; the side touching the neighboring paper. Then adhere that side to wall and with the palette knife, carefully smooth the page into the corner. There will be excess paper. With the x-acto knife and ruler, trim off the excess. Finally, use the palette knife to apply double-sided tape to the free edge and adhere to the wall.


 

Connect with Ashton through her website, ashtonfordesign.com, and check out her custom residential and commercial projects.

D. Larson, editor