Off the Wall Tips for Repurposing Wallpaper

Posted on Aug 28 2014 - 4:29am by Suzanne De Vita

wallpaper_rollsThis week’s #TBT is Grandma Maxine’s wallpaper collection. Yes, my dear grandmother really collected wallpaper. And not just swatches or scraps here and there – I mean rolls and rolls of the stuff. Occasionally she’d scrapbook with it, but for the most part, it remained untouched. Until, that is, she gave them to me.

I’m not a designer, nor a wallpaper installer. For whatever reason, hanging onto those little pops of pattern makes me happy. But since I’m absurdly under-qualified to actually paste them on my walls (I’d turn into Elmer, the giant glue monster terrorizing Townsville), I thought I’d explore some easier, DIY ways to repurpose it.

Punch up your décor with these off the wall ideas:

Start Small
Believe it or not, there are a lot of little things around your home that could use a facelift. That old lampshade, a wastebasket, even your light switch plates - with wallpaper, you can breathe new life into any typically unnoticed feature. If you’re looking to achieve a custom feel, well, look no further! You’d be hard-pressed to find someone with wallpapered switch plates in the exact same style and pattern. For a tutorial on those, check out this how-to from Martha Other housewares that can be wallpapered:

• Hangers
• Stools
• Serving trays
• Candle holders
• Storage bins
• Napkin rings
• Tissue box covers
• Placemats
• Magnets
• Vases
• Journals

Wallpaper Redux
Rather than make cosmetic changes, wallpaper can also replace some common household items. Swap out your drab drawer or shelf liners with wallpaper alternatives, frame and hang as artwork, or revamp a boring bookshelf by covering books with coordinating patterns. And from the creative folks at – wallpaper gift bags! More ways to re-use wallpaper:

• Painting drop cloth
• Picture frame mattes
• Pennant decorations

Go Big or Go Home

If you’re going for a bold statement, add pizzazz to your kitchen or bathroom by covering the insets of your cabinetry. For the less daring, dress up cabinets by wallpapering the back inside, which is especially eye-catching if the cabinets have glass panels. If you’ve got wallpaper fever, try it out on your stair risers, a headboard ( has a sophisticated DIY version), or even on your door! And while you’re at it, wallpaper these, too:

• Fridge
• Fronts or sides of desk or filing cabinet drawers
• Table tops (gorgeous on glass!)
• Chair seats or backs
• Divider screens

The possibilities for wallpaper really are endless.

Have you repurposed wallpaper? How did you do it?

Suzanne De Vita
is RISMedia’s Online Associate Editor and social butterfly. Aside from wallpaper, her collections include themed knee socks and cow print memorabilia.

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