Accent Wall Ideas with Removable Wallpaper and Wall Stencils - Featured TNP 3

Removable Wallpaper and Wall Stencil Ideas


What started as a post about our son’s accent wall has grown into something larger. Join us as we delve into the fascinating New World of Wallpaper (especially Removable Wallpaper!) and Wall Stencils with some awesome wallpaper and wall stencil ideas for your home and ours!

Wallpaper is Back…

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the living room…

It’s baaaaaack!

I never would have guessed it, but wallpaper is back and almost as popular as it was during the stylistically-challenged 70s and 80s!

This proves two things:

  1. I know nuthin‘ (as usual).
  2. Those spearheading this Wallpaper Renaissance must be too young to have lived through the hideous atrocities committed against innocent walls across America during the 1980s, or they would never even think of reviving such a gruesome practice.

Look, I’m not going to name names here, but I may or may not have spent a significant amount of time in a certain house in the 1980s that had a foyer covered in shiny metallic floral wallpaper! (Some say that wallpaper hangs there to this day, but my lips are sealed on the subject.)

…and it’s Better than Ever!

The bright side of this renaissance is that the Science of Style has come a long way during the Decades of Painted Walls, so the wallpaper offerings today are not only tasteful and stylish now, but they should remain so for more than just a few years. There is something for everyone’s taste. Even I’m on board with the Wallpaper Renaissance!

And Handan?

She absolutely loves the new designs, and she’s already planning where she can hang the first strip of what will surely be many.

Perhaps the best part of these newfangled wallpapers is that many of them are removable! This is a game changer for someone like Handan who has major commitment issues when it comes to walls.

Don’t believe me? Well, we’ve painted this entire house THREE times in five years!

Thank god, she hasn’t gotten sick and tired of me, yet!

(I hope!)

Traditional Wallpaper Ideas

Now, for those who don’t have commitment issues, there is a wonderful world of traditional wallpaper (that’s the unpasted kind). Here are four examples we love that would be perfect in any room.

When we were searching for inspiration for an accent wall for Barish’s teen bedroom makeover, Handan searched online for over a week to find suitable wallpaper choices. Among those that made her shortlist, this Shibori Indigo wallpaper was our hands-down favorite.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a prepasted or a peel and stick version of it, and with Handan’s aforementioned commitment issues when it comes to walls, well, we decided that a stencil would be a better choice for Barish’s accent wall.

Prepasted Wallpaper Ideas

If you’ve got wall-commitment issues like my Dearest Wife, well there’s good news! Most of the prepasted wallpapers and all of the peel and stick wallpapers are easily removable.

(Remember trying to remove wallpaper back in the 70s and 80s? It would have been easier just to knock down the wall and build a new one!)

The following four examples are some of our favorites among the prepasted wallpaper designs. We certainly weren’t considering anything floral for Barish’s bedroom, but any of these would look great in our guest bedroom. (Yup, that makeover is in the pipeline!)

Peel and Stick Wallpaper Ideas

And that brings us to peel and stick. There is a vibrant and colorful ocean of peel and stick wallpapers, wall murals and wall decals.

A few short weeks ago, I thought that hanging wallpaper would be the same pain-in-the-ass DIY job that it was last century, but my eyes have been opened!

Hanging wallpaper is now as easy as placing a sticker on a wall!

And the best part?

They are removable!

This is not only a god-send for a wishy-washy wall warrior like Handan, but really, it’s any DIYers dream come true!

Oh, the possibilities are endless, and we just can’t wait for our guest bedroom and master bedroom makeovers!

Wall Stencil Ideas

As we searched for suitable boy-friendly wallpaper ideas for Barish’s accent wall, we never considered wall murals or wall decals. Instead, we decided the easiest way for us to create an accent wall would be with a wall stencil, so off Handan went to the digital playground of Etsy to do a little stencil shopping.

She found some great wall stencils at StencilsLabNYStenCilit, and Gypsy Mint Stencils. Together, we managed to narrow them down to four and then after weighing the opinions of our dear readers, we called in Barish to cast the deciding vote. It’s his room, after all!

It didn’t take him more than a couple of seconds to choose the Polka Dot Drop Down Boarder Stencil by Gypsy Mint Stencils.

Applying a Wall Stencil

When our stencil arrived, Handan pulled it from its tube and ran upstairs to get started. She’d been waiting a long time for this accent wall!

The process couldn’t be easier.

Align the stencil

She simply aligned the top of the stencil with the ceiling and secured the sides and bottom corners with painter’s tape.

She had already started the second run before I had a chance to catch a picture. (While she was stenciling, I was in the basement hacking a Kallax.)

woman placing a wall stencil on a white wall

The wall stencil is designed so that the first and last columns of dots are the same. This allows for precise alignment of the next run.

Wall stencil hanging on a white wall

Paint the wall stencil

The color Handan, Barish and I unanimously chose is Behr’s Beacon Blue (P510-7). It is an intense and beautiful blue similar to International Klein Blue, which is one of my all-time favorite colors.

I considered giving the online color swatch below, but it really looks nothing like it does in real life, so let the paint tray below be your guide. Of course, when it dries, it loses just a bit of that brilliance, but not much.

woman loading a paint roller with blue paint

Handan applied the Beacon Blue with a small roller until no white was visible in the stencil areas.

woman stenciling the wall with blue paint

Remove wall stencil and reposition

To remove the stencil, she started from the top, and carefully pulled back.

woman peeling the stencil off of the wall

While the most recent paint dried a bit, we laid the stencil on a piece of cardboard to prevent getting paint on the carpet.

After about 15-20 minutes, she repositioned the wall stencil, taped it down and painted over it again. The slight buildup of paint after several uses does lead to a small amount of bleed-under, but really, the shapes are already so amorphous that it’s not really noticeable and not at all distracting.

stencil laying on a cardboard

While Beacon Blue would likely be too intense for an entire wall, it is perfect for a stencil, as the intensity of the blue is muted by the surrounding white.

blue stenciled white wall

Ah, there is nothing so fine as blue and white together! Pretty soon, you’ll see some beautiful DIY wooden wall art for that accent wall.

If you’re following along with the teen bedroom makeover, here’s how we stand:

Teen Bedroom Makeover Checklist (for The First Room)

Click here to see more teen bedroom makeover posts as we continue to cross items off our checklist!

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  1. Looks great!! I was hoping you were going to tell me how to get vinyl wallpaper off a wall without damaging the wall!! That’s my task…pealing, but still STUCK! Ugh. Yes, the house was built in the mid 70s and is afflicted with wallpaper!

  2. LOVE! and from someone who just finished removing 80’s wallpaper, and having dry wall guys in to float a coat after the damage from removal, I am happy to hear their is removable without damage paper out there! 🙂

  3. Your mention of the lovely metallic wallpaper brought to mind the joys of stripping FLOCKED wallpaper from my parent’s foyer – vintage 70’s in harvest gold no less.
    I’ve found that moist/warm areas are the worst to strip – bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms. Try a blow dryer on some areas. Overall though, a spray bottle with water, lots of patience and a sense of humor, and single edged razor blades do the trick.
    Note to the wise (and this is written in Sharpie behind the big mirror in my bathroom because we did NOT!) : “MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE”

    1. Flocked! Wow, I remember that stuff! I loved it as a kid – it was like a wall full of stuffed animals! 🙂 Good tips on removing the tough stuff!

  4. I LOVE wallpaper. Period. I’ ve peeled, scraped, etc. ..lots…I Still love wallpaper. Probably why my husband moved us into a log cabin…therefore, I LOVE vicariously. Go forth and paper!!! franki

    1. HAHAHAHA! Really? So you have log walls now that you can’t paper? And your husband did that on purpose? LOL, Franki, where there’s a will there’s a way. Have you tried papering the logs?? 😀

  5. I love the look of this stencil and the blue. So vibrant and I’m looking forward to your future wallpapering. Parts of me still shutter and/or pucker at the word “wallpaper”. It was all over our 1970’s ranch. Don’t know how the previous owners could go from room to room it was all so busy. The best way I found to remove wallpaper was to score it and steam with a Shark handheld steamer. However I have tried a small amount of removable paintable wallpaper and it is easy to remove. Getting anxious to see the room come together.

    1. Thanks, Barb! I was with you regarding wallpaper, but Handan has really opened my eyes on the subject. The designs have come along way in the past 30 years!

  6. Everything is looking nice but then I like all the projects you all do. I laugh at your thoughts on 70’s & 80’s wallpaper, trust me that wallpaper was great to install compared to wallpaper in the 50’s. Thankfully I was too young to do more than help put paste on it or help hold a strip flat while it was being matched and cut. That stuff could cause nightmares!

  7. Looking good. Stencils are so much better.

    I so remember those hideous papers from the 80s. A friend’s parents had metallic roses in their bathroom. My house was chock full of questionable wall paper choices from circa 1989 when we bought it in the late 90s. Dare I say my dining room was awash in big peacocks and a guest bedroom had paper with a black background and dinner plate size pink peonies. Oh yes, that room gave me a headache to look at so that paper was the first to go (though actually the previous owner who selected this dubious style also glued it directly on unprimed wall board so I couldn’t remove it without damaging the wall. I had to re-line the walls with a special paper before painting them.

    As for the peacocks, a friend really liked the paper from some reason (but I question his taste) so I cut out a nice piece of a whole peacock, matted it and framed it for him as a joke. But it’s all paint now baby! And I ain’t ever going back.

    1. Oh my god, do you have any pictures? Send them to – we’d love to see that old wallpaper! I understand your desire never to return to the land of paper. I was in the same boat! But I’m willing to try out some removable wallpaper. We’re eyeing our master bath for the initial run (or maybe the guest room). 🙂

      1. Hi Greg,

        I don’t have any digital pics of either room from when we bought the house–there are print photos stashed somewhere. But I still have a piece of the peacock paper to bring back not so fond memories. I just emailed a photo of it to you. Enjoy the laugh.

  8. When I moved into my house in 2002 the majority of the house was wallpapered AND bordered (the house was built on the 90’s) The only rooms not papered were the bathrooms. I had never seen so much peach, mint green and silver flowers! Despite having to remove it all, I still papered an accent wall in my dining room. I recently redid my dining room and repapered that wall again! I’ll have to try removable next time! I love the stencil and can’t wait to see the finished product

  9. I remember watching my Dad scrape and peel away layer after layer of orange patterned wallpaper (to match the orange shag carpets! They had also been glued down…) in the house he bought. It was built in the sixties and clearly people had just been wallpapering over the old wallpaper for many a renovation. The got the house for a steal because of the hideous decor and old fashioned fixtures but as Dad is also a handyman he made short work of everything from wallpaper to bathroom. I’m sad I don’t have a picture of just how horrible it was, as I’m sure you would have appreciated it.

    I’m actually planning on putting up some peel and stick wallpaper in my room but as we live in a rental I’m always concerned about possible damage. Does it come off clean, do you know? No sticky mess left behind? A few bits of flaked paint I can always hide but I don’t want to be trying to clean sticky gunk off the walls!

    1. Good lord, so the bad taste of the 60s was a global phenomenon, eh? LOL! Regarding the peel and stick, we haven’t used it yet, so I can’t say. I’ve heard from a few sources that it peels cleanly, but I can’t speak from personal experience.