Using Peel and Stick Wallpaper in Your Rental Apartment: Tips & Tricks

Wallpapers are back and more popular than already, with stylish and eye-catching designs available to suit any aesthetic. But for tenants wanting a quick refresh of their space, the options are often limited to changing the lighting or rearranging the furniture. Many leases have multiple restrictive rules regarding painting, while permanent wallpapering is almost always explicitly prohibited in rental agreements. Temporary wallpaper, also known as ‘Peel and Stick’, is a popular alternative to traditional glue-on wallpaper, offering easier installation, increased accessibility and the promise of clean removal. The RentHop team has gathered and compiled the pros and cons of Peel and Stick along with tips, frequently asked questions and resources for any renter for a DIY weekend project that won’t cost you your deposit. guarantee.

Why do homeowners dislike traditional wallpaper?

Peel and stick wallpaper differs from traditional wallpaper in several key ways that make it infinitely more accessible for tenants with even the tightest leases. There is no separate paste or adhesive, the cure time is immediate, and, more importantly, it can be removed easily with little or no damage to the wall below. Homeowners forbid traditional wallpaper for various reasons; the installation and removal process can be time-consuming and expensive, while painting may not be possible depending on the material. Additionally, old wallpapers can become unsanitary and difficult to renovate, especially depending on the location and history of the home. In some cases, exposure to light and humidity can cause traditional wallpaper to fade or wrinkle, causing unsightly stains that cannot easily be replaced. Mold is also always a possibility, especially in humid climates.

Do I need to get owner approval for Peel and Stick Wallpaper?

All of these concerns are largely mitigated by modern vinyl-based peel and stick wallpapers that typically come under the lease agreement regarding hanging objects and potential wall damage. When properly installed, peel and stick wallpapers should cause no damage, ostensibly bending the rules for painting and wallpapering. However, you should ask your landlord or property manager and let them know you plan to apply temporary peel and stick wallpapers as tenants. This can mitigate any potential issues down the line, as each situation is on a case-by-case basis, depending on the stringency of your lease and the leniency of your property manager. As a general rule, however, temporary wallpapers are given a pass – with a few exceptions, discussed later.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Before committing to a full makeover of your home’s temporary wallpaper, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of this elegant solution. Below is the RentHop team’s ultimate list to help you weigh up if Peel and Stick is the right choice for you!


  • Very easy to apply – A typical tenant shouldn’t need professional assistance to apply most temporary vinyl-based wallpapers. Installation can usually be done in a few days, like a long weekend.
  • Dries immediately – no additional adhesive or glue mixing required
  • Can be reapplied, removed and adjusted dozens of times over several years
  • Easily and quickly uninstalled – no professional help needed. No damage to walls if installed and uninstalled correctly.
  • It can be applied to objects that aren’t walls – stairs, chairs, bookcases and chests of drawers are just a few examples.
  • Come in a largely endless variety of patterns, with custom designs available from several online retailers and in-person shops

The inconvenients:

  • Unique patterns can be very expensivesometimes starting at $100 per roll and increasing the expense with customization and complexity.
  • Peel and Stick Wallpaper cannot be used on textured walls or walls with certain types of washable paint. This is why it may be important to check with your property manager, as they may have information on what type of paint the walls are covered with.
  • Not as effective in spaces with high humidity, such as bathrooms or saunas – Humidity can harm the longevity of temporary wallpapers as much as traditional wallpapers, causing unsightly peeling and curled edges in extreme cases .
  • Depending on installation expertise, results can be wonky and a bit fizzy (don’t worry – we’ve provided tips below to avoid this!)

Best Tips for Temporary Wallpaper – Save Your Security Deposit!

When faced with a blank wall, setting up a peel and stick wallpaper application and removal project can be a daunting task. However, RentHop is here to prep and set you up with some pro tips to ensure your next DIY design project is a smashing success.

Check your paint: It is important to know what type of paint is on the walls you plan to apply your peel and stick wallpaper to. Most manufacturers recommend painting the wall at least two weeks before hanging your wallpaper. Additionally, you should apply the temporary wallpaper to smooth walls that have been primed with premium eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss paint.

Clean your walls: Walls should be thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry before applying temporary wallpaper. Any debris, such as hair or residue, will potentially cause bubbles and wrinkles in the vinyl. Also, any dents or flaws in the underlying paintwork will likely need to be cleaned or sanded down. This will guarantee you a smooth finish and clean lines. Just be sure to check with your property manager before sanding the walls, as this may also be prohibited by the terms of your lease and result in a deduction when paying back your security deposit.

Gather your tools: Although easy to apply, peel and stick wallpaper still requires a few specialized tools that not all homeowners have. Among these are a straight edge and scissors for cutting, a level for balance, and a wall smoothing tool for bubbles and wrinkles. A wall-smoothing tool can be purchased online, but a credit card or spatula can also be useful if missing.

Be generous with your material: To ease model-matching anxiety, the pros recommend ordering 10-15% more material than originally planned. This will allow you to make multiple cuts and cover any potential mistakes. This also applies when installing temporary wallpaper, as you should allow a small amount of excess material around the top edge and corners of the wall you are wallpapering. When fixed to the wall, this excess can be precisely cut with a straight edge to allow for the cleanest finishes.

Know your space: Temporary wallpapers should be applied in well-ventilated, low-humidity spaces for best results. This is especially important for bathrooms and kitchens, where you’ll want to avoid installing Peel and Stick too close to taps and other sources of steam and water.

Apply slowly and gently as you go: There is no need to rush the application of the temporary wallpaper. The adhesive on the other side of the panel is designed to be removed and reapplied multiple times, so don’t sweat adjusting and securing during the process. We recommend removing the adhesive backing from the front edge of the panel to be applied, peeling it away as you smooth the material during installation. This ensures that any air bubbles that form during the process are smoothed out quickly and don’t become a problem later.

Remove your temporary wallpaper: At the end of your time with your new peel and stick look, removal is a snap. You will probably need a putty knife or other sharp edge that you can use to clear a single corner. Then, like a sticker, you simply peel the panel off the surface. Be careful, though, especially if you run into any hiccups during the process. If this happens, using the sharp edge, gently work the material around until it is loose. Do not tug on it, as this may damage the underlying paint.

Experiment, mix and match: Due to the ease of application and removal, temporary wallpaper is an incredibly flexible option for interior decorating. Do not hesitate to order multiple small sections of custom designs if you’re undecided, apply them to a section of your area as a test, just like a paint swatch.

Peel and stick temporary wallpapers are a great solution for renters, as their temporary nature and easy installation make them one of the most accessible methods for reinventing a space. By following this guide, you should be able to avoid all the pitfalls by ensuring that you keep your entire security deposit at the end of your lease. With the adhesive flexibility of peel and stick wallpaper, you can even, in a sense, take your walls with you.

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