11 wallpaper project ideas to freshen up your home in under 2 hours

One roll, regular or peel-and-stick wallpaper projects for an impactful but budget-friendly refresh

Wallpapering a closet
(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

These mini wallpaper projects aren't time-consuming or expensive and make the perfect DIY to refresh a ton of spots around your home, quickly. 

It usually takes around two hours to hang wallpaper anyhow, and full disclosure here, I managed to complete a few of these wallpaper projects just using just double-sided duct tape...

If you prefer to wallpaper the traditional way, you will need the same materials to get the job done right, for that professional finish. And, to make life even easier, you could even go down the peel-and-stick wallpaper route which means you won't even need paste, or duct tape for that matter.

Elizabeth Rees, founder of Chasing Paper says how 'Peel-and-stick wallpaper can be extremely versatile, and a good tool for transforming a space – whether you install a full wall or tackle a smaller-scale DIY.'

For cheap DIY projects under $100, Rees notes how just a few 2’ x 4’ panels can makeover the backing of a bookshelf, a small closet, or resurfacing a refrigerator and more.

Jennifer Matthews, co-founder and CCO of Tempaper agrees that temporary wallpaper offers designers and DIY enthusiasts endless ways to add personal style to just about any smooth surface. 'We have had customers cover bathroom sinks, refrigerators and even lampshades with the product.'

Wallpaper project ideas to DIY

This is how it all started, last year we headed up to my sister's home, in Minnesota-- an 1800s riverside charmer. And as usual, we squeezed some time in for a little bonding over all our favorite DIY projects

She is super lucky to have a large dressing room and closet just off her bedroom. Because that much space opens a world of opportunity in interiors, right? We got to thinking outside the box when it came to the walls and eventually planned to add one roll of bold wallpaper to the back wall-- pretty birds from Burke Decor on a black background. This pattern I had actually used to decorate our powder room, as well. For such a simple DIY, it just goes to show how it's sometimes the smaller projects that can have the most impact. Whether you're on a budget or not, even just having one spare roll of wallpaper to hand can be the start of something beautiful.

You will need

1. Regular wallpaper or a peel-and-stick design

2. Paste (if using traditional wallpaper)/Double-sided duct tape makes an easy cheat to using paste!

3. Wallpaper smoother – something basic from Amazon will do

4. Exacto knife as recommended by Rees also

5. Brush & paint tray (if using paste)

6. Your best roller

7. Scissors

8. Measuring tape

9. Pencil

10. Rag

I’m currently loving nature-inspired papers. Think birds, botanicals, and chinoiserie murals. They make dramatic backdrops for small projects so it's no wonder they are big wallpaper trends for 2022. There are plenty more prints to choose from too of course, it depends on your home's style.

1. Jazz up the back of a bookshelf

Wallpapering projects around the home

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

I didn’t even use paste for this job. Just a roll of good, old double-sided duct tape-- an essential DIY supply in my opinion. It makes it easy to swap the bookshelf background when you tire of the pattern, too. Which is perfect if you're anything like me and want to try out all the wallpaper ideas going throughout the year.

2. Add interest to a drab entryway ceiling

Wallpapering projects around the home

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

If your small entry lacks personality, just look up and add character to the ceiling. Here’s another project installed with double sided duct tape. Wallpapering ceilings is by far the most difficult, in my opinion. The tape has stronger adhesion than paste, giving your arms a break as you install overhead.

Wallpapering projects

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Here you can see how a little wallpaper on the ceiling leading onto our mudroom creates a loftier appearance and adds design depth also. 

3. Leopard up a small space

Wallpapering projects around the home

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

For our small entryway, I found a single roll of Iconic Leopard, Schumacher wallpaper on Ebay for $25. A whopping 90 percent off retail. In fact, most of these projects I completed with cast off rolls of paper found online. I search using my favorite brands such as Schumacher, Thibault, and York and set up an alert for any paper patterns I desire. It's even more cost-effective if you pick up an Ebay discount code too.

4. Go half and half in a powder room

Wallpapering projects around the home

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Why not glam up a powder room with half tiled walls or a chair rail? This was only a single roll install, but in the interest of transparency, it took more than a couple hours, with all the cuts. Powder rooms often have mirrors, outlets, cabinets, and windows to cut around-- so take extra care to ensure a quality install. 

5. Brighten up closet doors

White floral wallpapered closet doors

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Wallpapering closet door insets is a great starter project for a wallpaper novice. There are no areas to cut around and often just two or three straight cut pieces to align

6. Dress up a linen closet

Wallpapering projects around the home

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

Finally, I dressed up our linen closet with a partial mural strip leftover from a previous project and finished by painting it in a coordinating shade of blue. It turned out great and was such a budget-friendly upgrade.

Wallpapering a closet

(Image credit: Ruth Jackson)

7. Jazz up exposed shelving

Peel and stick plaid wallpaper in grey to update old built-in hallway cabinet

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

Fellow DIY-er Dori Turner made some cool changes to her hallway using wallpaper also. This is what she did: 'Our upstairs hallway was lacking character and I really wanted to add something to make it pop. I decided to remove the doors from the upper cabinet at the end of the hall to start and then thought some peel and stick wallpaper would help jazz up the exposed shelving. I had painted the cabinet black inside and out and found a black and white checkered wallpaper on Amazon that gave that farmhouse feel I wanted. Peel and stick is the way to go, especially when working in a tight space. I measured the walls and cut the wallpaper accordingly. Instead of peeling all of the backing off at once, I applied a corner of the wallpaper to the space then peeled the backing as I smoothed the wallpaper across the wall. This helped to keep it from sticking to itself and created a flawless finish. I finished off the space with storage bins to house extra sheets and toiletries. The wallpaper added depth and character to this small space!' 

8. Cover a cheap refrigerator

Wallpaper on fridge in small apartment kitchen

(Image credit: Chasing Paper)

If you rent and aren't able to bring your favorite refrigerator into your home, covering the one you have temporarily with wallpaper is an easy way to make it look a little more swanky. For this look you'll want to use Chasing Paper's Speckle in black or another color. Rees notes: 'Before ordering your wallpaper, be sure to measure the area(s) you will be covering (at least twice!) to ensure you order the correct amount. For a bookshelf, remove the shelves if you are able and measure the height and width. If you aren’t able to, measure the backing space between each shelf, keeping in mind pattern repeat (if it is over 2’ wide and the panels are 2’ wide, you may need to order twice the amount to line up correctly). For a refrigerator and closet, the process will be similar - measure all area(s) you would like to cover, keeping in mind the pattern repeat.'

9. Upgrade basic stair risers

Blue star stair risers covered using peel and stick wallpaper

(Image credit: Tempaper)

Stair risers looking a little damaged or just dated? Upgrade a stairwell quickly by covering the risers in wallpaper. Choose a funky color and pattern to add more personality to your entryway, instantly!

These risers were upgraded with Soleil in Santorini Blue by Tempaper, adding Mediterranean flair to an otherwise forgotten area.

10. Add subtle color to a white bathroom

White bathroom with cabinet covered using pink marble effect peel and stick wallpaper

(Image credit: Tempaper)

Another great way to add more of your personality to a rented home, if your bathroom is super basic, white and just lacking luster in every way, cover surfaces with a peel-and-stick wallpaper like Queen Emma in Lopen from Tempaper. Matthews says how 'Your bathroom will never be bland with fun prints lining your cabinetry.'

11. Add design interest to drawers

Inside of a drawer upgraded using blue and white check peel and stick wallpaper

(Image credit: Tempaper)

If opening your drawers is less than exciting, pretty them up with a geometric pattern. Matthews says how 'Lining your drawers with wallpaper adds a patterned pop to your morning routine.' We love this look using Checkmate in Very Periwinkle by Tempaper.

Top Tips if using peel-and-stick wallpaper

Rees shares her top tips on installing peel-and-stick for smooth results: 'Before installing the wallpaper, wipe down and clean the surface to remove any dust or dirt, allowing the surface to dry completely. Then, line up your panel with a top or bottom corner, peeling back 2-3 inches to start. Smooth out the initial 2-3 with your hand or a smoothing tool. Once this is complete, peel back another 2-3 inches and repeat until the full area is covered. If you encounter any stubborn air bubbles, simply use a tack or pin to prick a small hole in the center, and smooth over. Repeat with the additional panels until the project is complete, and trim any excess wallpaper with an Xacto knife.'

Whether you're keen to get out the wallpaper paste, use a little duct tape or try peel and stick designs for an even easier wallpaper project, just look around your home for any bare walls or spots where wallpaper could be the one to fill it with, beautifully.

Ruthie Jackson is an Iowa-based DIYer, furniture flipper, certified interior decorator, and lover of all things vintage. She's currently renovating her family's 1930s colonial home, which she documents on Instagram at @miracleonthirtyfourth.

With contributions from