10 ways to use adhesive paper to transform your space


After a recent move, I found myself looking for cheap and temporary ways to spruce up our rental home. We couldn’t do much that was permanent because we don’t own the house. But we still wanted to make the place our own.

I kept coming across ideas online to use contact paper, vinyl cling films, temporary wallpaper, decals and the like to transform a space. I’d only ever thought to use contact paper to line drawers and shelves and to cover my textbooks. But the before and after photos were pretty impressive.

Here are some of the ideas I tried, plus some I’d still like to try out.

A quick note: The key here is to find material that says it’s easy to remove and leaves little residue. Regular wallpaper and some contact paper won’t fulfill those requirements.

1. Chalkboard

Did you know you can buy chalkboard contact paper? It may just look like black contact paper, but the temporary paper surface is like a flexible blackboard. I’ve used it to cover unsightly plywood on a wall opening in our house and then drew on the contact paper to make temporary art.

I also recently added some blackboard paper to our outdoor refrigerator. I first used chalkboard markers, which did leave some faded markings as some Amazon reviewers warned. But using regular chalk on the contact paper leaves no trace. My son is having so much fun drawing on the fridge with no consequences, and the chalkboard panel is handy for me to leave messages to party guests.

You could even cover an entire wall with the stuff in a rental where you can’t use chalkboard paint. I’ve even seen examples of chalkboard contact paper being used as a temporary table runner for labeling food with wine pairings.

Anna Weaver

2. Privacy Film

You can buy rolls of static cling vinyl with opaque and semi-transparent patterns and designs. Add them to glass doors, windows and walls for privacy without blocking out the light coming through the glass. I added some bubble-patterned film to the bathroom windows at our rental where I wanted more coverage. This was a quick and cheap solution so I didn’t have to deal with the hassle of curtain rods and curtains.

Photo: Anna Weaver

I also put some faux-stained glass, leaf-patterned window film on some privacy blocks we have in our kids’ play corner. The blocks screamed “dated” to me. But I didn’t want to block too much of the natural light coming in by hanging curtains.

Here you can see the film half applied on one side of the window. I think it softens its overall appearance.

Anna Weaver

3. Shelf Liners With Furniture

I used what was originally supposed to be a shelf and drawer liner to cover the doors on a cabinet we’re using in our bathroom. I put the pattern side of the liner facing out and attached it using velcro adhesive strips. That way I can remove them easily down the road. Now our bathroom supplies are hidden from view.

Anna Weaver

4. Wall Decor

I feel like temporary wall decals are a mom’s best friend. I was debating what to put on a large wall in my toddler son’s room. It was above his bed, so I didn’t want to hang anything he could pull down or that might fall. Enter the wall decal. The aforementioned toddler is currently obsessed with tunnels (not trains, but tunnels), so this decal was perfect for him. It was a bit of a process to get up, but it looks great in that space. And when my son moves past his tunnel fandom, we can take this down and replace it with something else.

Anna Weaver

5. Upgrade Your Appliances

I haven’t done this yet, but I’m seriously considering using a faux metallic contact paper on our white outdoor refrigerator, which is a bit rusted from sitting on our back porch. Based on some of the Amazon reviews for the product, it looks like the faux metal film also works well on ovens, dishwashers, range hoods and possibly even countertops.

Amazon | B. Lenji

6. Room Divider

An ingenious couple used old vinyl records covered in white contact paper to create a room divider in their apartment.

30E Design

7. Backsplash

This was one of the most popular ideas I saw on the home decor Facebook pages I visited. A little contact paper on your backsplash can transform the look of your kitchen. You can go with premade sheets or be extra ingenious and ambitious like this blogger and cut out individual shapes.

Walking With Dancers

8. Furniture

Contact paper is also a great way to redo your furniture. We’re in a new space so some of our stuff doesn’t quite work with the current space’s wall colors and other characteristics. This coffee table hack using faux marble contact paper would be a great way to quickly redo a piece, which could later be undone if you change your mind.


9. Stairs

We don’t have stairs at our current place, but I can see how temporary wallpaper or contact paper would be an instant update for any stairwell. I’m personally mooning over the faux tile ones I’ve seen online.


10. Countertops

I was skeptical when I saw people using contact paper on countertops and floors. Wouldn’t it easily scuff, get water damaged, rip, etc.? According to this blog, a faux marble contact paper worked well around a bathroom sink and came off easily after 10 months.

Anika's DIY Life

Will you be copying any of these looks?

DIY & Improvement, Home

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About the Author
Anna Weaver
Anna Weaver is a writer and multimedia journalist from Hawaii. Her two young kids keep her on her toes and hooked on online shopping. Anna’s also a fan of movies, reading, photography, and sharing far too many IG stories about cute dogs and capybaras. Visit Scripps News to see more of Anna's work.

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