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How to Apply Removable Wallpaper Without Damaging Your Walls


Renters are often faced with the dilemma of how to transform a new space into a home without damaging the walls. The solution? Enter removable wallpaper.

Unlike traditional wallpapers which require many hours of wall prep and gluing — which cannot be removed without damaging the surface of the wall — removable wallpaper features a peel-and-stick backing that can be taken down safely and easily when it’s time to move out.

Not only is removable wallpaper a non-damaging solution to decorating a rented apartment, it is also a great style choice, with many websites offering fully customizable designs. Simply upload a photo — or select from a set of stock images — and your personalized wallpaper is good to go!

Julia Hill from Luxe Walls explains how to hang temporary wallpaper and get the perfect finish.

What You’ll Need

  • Removable wallpaper
  • A ladder
  • Clean cloth
  • Sharp retractable trimming knife
  • Ruler (metal works best)


  1. Prep your walls (see the tips below).
  2. Start on the left-hand side of your wall and line up your first panel of wallpaper along the edge of the wall and ceiling, making sure it’s level. Don’t worry if it’s overhanging the wall, you can trim the excess later.
  3. Peel four inches of the backing paper from your wallpaper and stick it to the top of your wall. Once you’re happy with the position, gently peel the remaining paper from its backing and use your hand or a clean cloth to smooth it onto the wall.
  4. Remove all bubbles and wrinkles as you go. If the bubbles are too big, gently lift off your wallpaper and reapply.
  5. Line up your next panel alongside your first one, ensuring it’s level at the top and that the images on the adjoining panels line up perfectly.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4, and continue until the wall is covered.
  7. Use a sharp retractable knife to trim excess wallpaper from the bottom and right-hand side of your wall (this depends on the squareness of your walls).

How to Prep Your Walls

Before you start applying removable wallpaper, you’ll need to do a little prep work.

  1. Removable wallpaper works best on walls that are smooth, properly primed, and painted, with little or no surface variation. Julia advises against using it on flat or matte finishes, paints containing Teflon, chlorinated waxes and silicones, heavily textured finishes, and existing wallpaper.
  2. Patch any cracks, holes, or peeling paint before you start and ensure your walls are clean. Remove any picture and wall hooks. (They can be put back on the wall later.)

How to Get the Perfect Wallpaper Finish

  1. Make sure your panels line up with your line of sight. Guests’ eyes are drawn to the center of your walls, not the ceiling or floors.
  2. This job requires two people, so invite a pal to help out!

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love. 

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