Cheap and Chic Wall Makeover

In our rental, all of our walls are painted a flat white. I have never been a fan of white walls and personally find them boring but what is a tenant to do? Yes, we were given permission to paint any walls we wanted but that also would require painting the walls back to white once we moved. And that is just one added burden that I did not want to tackle when we move.

For years I have been seeing this inexpensive technique for giving your walls a new high end look by using fabric and fabric starch. I regret taking so long to test out this method of faux wallpaper because the results were so beautiful and it was actually very easy to do. It gave the wall behind the tv a great texture and added color to the blah wall tying everything together with a warm gray linen-like look.

To complete the look, I found this great Charcoal tufted accent chair with nailheads on sale for only $135 that fit perfectly next to the media stand. I added an accent pillow that I repurposed using a pillow cover from IKEA for $10.

Here is how to get the same look for your Faux Wallpaper Accent Wall:

What You Need

  • Lightweight, cotton fabric

  • Liquid starch

  • Tacks or Tape (painters or duct)

  • Drop cloth


  • Paint roller

  • Roller cover

  • Paint tray

  • Utility knife

  • Step ladder

  • Scissors

  • Measuring tape


  1. Before purchasing your fabric, measure out the space you're going to be covering to determine just how much fabric you'll need to bring home. Most fabric is 40"-50" wide and is sold in yards. After deciding what you'll need, buy an extra yard. I would suggest sticking to thin fabrics that can easily absorb the starch. So avoid heavy upholstery fabrics for this application. I chose a thin cotton that had a linen print that I found in the fabric section at Walmart.

  2. After pre-washing the fabric (don't worry if it gets wrinkled), cut off the selvage edge with nice, sharp scissors to avoid fraying the edges. Place a drop cloth under the area in which you plan to work. The liquid starch can get messy so be sure and protect your floors! Prep your wall by giving it a good wash and wait until it dries completely to move on to step 3.

  3. This next step can be done a few different ways, but the end goal is the same: place the fabric where you want it to be on the wall. You'll need your buddy for this step. Have them place the fabric while you stand back and help them guide it into place. Using tacks or push pins will work great on sheetrock, but if you are attempting to cover a plaster wall or paneling, skip the tacks and grab the tape. Be warned though: tape will fray the fabric if applied directly to the cut edge. To avoid this, fold the edge under and tape over the top. Be sure to leave an overlap at the corners, baseboard, and top of the wall for a nice clean finish. You'll trim the excess at the very end with a utility knife. Cut around any outlets with your utility knife.

  4. Coat the wall in fabric starch. Only coat the area that you will immediately be applying the fabric to—the starch dries fast! If it dries before you have a change to stick the fabric, just add more.

  5. Smooth the fabric down over the wall until it starts to adhere to the starch. Start from the top and work your way down, smoothing out wrinkles as you go (if at the edge of your wall, work out and down from the corner). Don't worry if it doesn't stick in all places, the next step will seal the deal.

  6. Roll liquid starch over the top of the fabric. You want to totally saturate surface, making sure the starch goes all the way through to the wall. Leave an overhang at your baseboards so you can cut it after it dries with your utility knife, giving it a nice, clean line. Be sure to get in to the corners with your fingers or a piece of cardboard to get everything to adhere.

  7. After your fabric has dried completely, remove the tape/tacks from the top and starch above and beneath that area.

  8. Take a straight edge and a utility knife and cut any excess fabric from the wall.


Step back and admire your hard work and beautiful new accent wall! What is so unique about this method is that removable is just as easy. Apply warm water with a large sponge to the wall and slowly peel away the fabric leaving you wall unharmed. You can use this method to change you wall seasonally as well and reuse the fabric since it is cut to size already.

Have fun selecting fun and unique patterns or colors that will give change your space instantly.

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As I watched my body change slowly from Spring to Summer for the worst last year, I felt powerless. I kept indulging, making bad and unhealthy choices but that was just part of the vicious cycle. The softer, flabbier and more lbs I put on, the more depressed I got, and the worse I treated my body.

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