diy: decorative details • temporary wallpaper

It’s part of the American Dream or a sign you’ve actually reached adulthood, or something to buy a house in your early thirties, right?

I don’t own a house.

I don’t own an apartment.

I do rent an apartment. An adorable apartment. And I love my apartment. Since the building was constructed in 1885 it obviously has some, let’s call it, “vintage charm”.

I’ve moved nine times since graduating college in 2006, so I’m used to living in a rental.  However, this is the first time my duration isn’t dependent on a partner’s employer. (Or simply me wanting to live in a space that had sunlight.  I’m basically a plant. Well, in my-need-of-sunlight-to-feel-alive-and-happy-way. Plants and I clearly differ in many other respects.  In fact, I realize it’s presumptuous of me to assume sunlight makes plants happy since I don’t know their capacity to feel emotions.)

Since I’ll be living here indefinitely after living for years of sharing a space that was never my home, I was elated to make this place my home. A space that honestly felt like warm and welcoming, that felt like me. I wanted to live in art and be surrounded by a sense of joy.


Alright, this is basically a very round-about way of getting to the point that, my apartment’s bathroom was bonkers (and not in a way I would categorize as “vintage charm”). It appeared to be the most recently painted, but the vibrant coral color was– intense. Based on the style of cabinetry and countertop pattern, my predecessor was maybe intending a sort of retro vibe/color scheme.

I have no idea if they were happy with the end result, but I found that much bright warm color in such a small space to be visually overwhelming–at risk of sounding like a pretentious artist.

Since my introvert nature and general anxiety made the idea of simply asking my landlord (who, thus far has only been easy to work with) if I could repaint with a lighter neutral color, was obviously out of the question. I tried to think of another possible and renter-friendly solution.

That’s where the magic of Target and temporary wallpaper came in!  Ta-da!

When it comes to wallpaper, my mother taught me it’s advantageous to pick a pattern that you don’t have to line up to match. It’s much easier to work with, and creates less waste. Being the sensible daughter I am, I took my mother’s advice. (Except for later, when I didn’t, but more about that in a minute.)

I chose this soft sea foam teal color with subtle metallic gold accents. My choices were limited, but the pattern conveniently played off the retro colors and style. Using a ruler, a utility knife and a thick soft rag to press the paper down once it was aligned, I covered the upper half of two walls. This was enough to change the entire feeling of the room. Combined with a solid shower curtain of a similar color, the salmon-color-overload-extravaganza became more of an equal partner with hey-let’s-all-just-relax-and-take-a-nice-shower-teal.

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Of course, my artistic hubris also allowed me to pick another fun style of temporary wallpaper in an attempt to cool the overall color scheme of my kitchen. Again, I loved the retro style. The design looked easy enough to line up. It was not.

Luckily, this was one of those less monumental times you will hear someone say that they should have followed their mother’s advice. I decided to leave intentional equal-spaced breaks between the wallpaper panels and chose to embrace that aesthetic. I think things turned out, as my mother would say “Not too shabby.”

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