Design

An Affordable Wallpaper Trick

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Wallpaper looks so beautiful, but committing to it floor to ceiling can get expensive. Plus, what if you don’t like it? Here’s an easy and more budget-friendly idea for hanging wallpaper…

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

How pretty does it look to frame pieces of wallpaper? Most makers sell good-sized samples for as little as $5 (sometimes they’re even free!), or you can buy one full sheet or roll to cut and frame.

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

If you use a frame that opens up you can switch up your wallpaper art anytime you like. (This one with no glass would also work well.)

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Framing Wallpaper as Artwork

Have you tried this? Which wallpapers do you like? Here are a few more that would look awesome: hand-painted hummingbirds, vintage, or smudges (glow-in-the-dark!). You could also frame a favorite wrapping paper or craft paper.

P.S. More affordable art and sweet children’s wallpaper.

(Desk scene photo by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo, from the house tour of Liz Libré; fireplace scene from Remodelista; and gallery wall scene from Joanna’s apartment tour. Graphic design by Miss Moss. Wallpapers, top to bottom: marble, nightrose, ladies, tigers, abstract flowers, jungle, clementines, dark floral, holly.)

  1. This is a very cool idea! I did this with wrapping paper and it looks great (it could be cool even with printed fabric).
    But since I’m an illustrator, I began making my own :) I have some great illustrations which you can order monthly, in a box, and they come already mounted (with frame). Have a look, it’s a really cool idea for spicing up your home, most people loved it: http://box.mirunaillustration.com/

  2. Colleen says...

    Just FYI for anyone ordering a sample of the Rebecca Atwood paper. It is $5, but it is not the size that is shown in the pictures above. It is less than an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper, and one big corner chunk is cut off, so really only about 6″ x 6″ is frame-able. I’m sure this was information available to me when I ordered the swatch, but I kind of assumed it would be the size in the photos above. Not a big deal, but kind of a waste of $5.

  3. Oh wow! This is AMAZING! I was just thinking yesterday how my apartment isn’t quirky enough and would really benefit from some wallpaper – though at the same time it seems so difficult to change. This is exactly the solution I needed!! Will definitely be doing this!

  4. Ann says...

    Also wrapping paper. My first flat in London was decorated with many a (ikea) framed piece of wrapping paper. So easy to change when we got bored of it!

  5. I love the idea of framing different wallpapers and hanging them in a gallery wall format along with photos and art pieces etc. I love getting a lot of different textures together when trying to decorate a space.

    xx

    bombshell-to-be.blogspot.com

  6. Amanda Blair says...

    Oooooh good idea! I’ve been wanting to start collecting art but, have no idea where to start (what kind of art do I like?!) and no real money to invest. This idea is a nice way to ease my way into at least having more pattern in my home! Love it.

  7. Jamie says...

    Love this idea and there are so many brilliante ideas in the comments!

  8. DonnaS says...

    This is a great idea! So easy to swap out when you’re bored.

  9. LindyO says...

    I have even framed a vintage lady’s handkerchief or two. Delicate and lovely. One was my husband’s grandmother’s hand-stitched forget-me-nots.

  10. Kristen says...

    This is brilliant! Another idea I have used before is framing beautiful gift bags. An old friend use to frame the entire bag (handles and all ) of chic gift bags she found. I took the idea and have framed just a large cutout of the print. You’ll never spend more than $5 or $6 tops on a fun print, especially for kids. For more sophisticated printed bags- check out Pier1 or Papyrus.

  11. TNelly says...

    Hey, this could work with fabric too.

    • Kim says...

      I did this with a patterned fabric on my living room mantel and it worked really well.

  12. Hi Jo,

    We already have hanging artworks and wallpapers at our home and I can say those are so expensive. Here I can see more budget-friendly ideas for hanging wallpapers. I really appreciate it.

  13. Lorena says...

    Thanks so much for this idea. I feel quite inept at decorating, but this is accessible for a decor novice like me!

  14. Erika says...

    I did this side by side with the Scalemandre Zebra pattern in blue and red in my son’s nursery. I framed them in a poster sized frame and had a custom mat cut for it. I love the look of it! I think making three larger framed panels would be really cool on a bigger wall too!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      That is awesome. I LOVE that pattern so much, too.

  15. I used to do this with really nice wrapping paper in college! I’d want to buy something pretty to wrap presents in but couldn’t justify the cost. All of a sudden, buying as art the price felt affordable and I could wrap gifts with the leftovers. I found a few nice rolls at World Market with gold foil that popped nicely on my wall.

  16. Maria says...

    I’m an interior design manager for IKEA and when we are stuck for art to complete a room, we often use the metre fabric we sell and frame it. It’s amazing how great it can look, how easy to do and so affordable!

    • Erin says...

      Job goals!

  17. Faith says...

    I love this idea! I did something similar in my cubicle at work—I covered the ugly, gray, fabric bulletin board with fine paper from Paper Source. It majorly brightened my work space and I get compliments all the time. :) Totally worth the $10, in my opinion. Check out their fun prints below!

    https://www.papersource.com/giftwrap/fine-paper.html

  18. this is genius! thanks for the inspo, jo x

  19. Em says...

    Thank you thank you! What a great idea! It seems like I’m moving every other week, so this is a great trick for something pretty, but not-so-permanent.

  20. D. B. Renwick says...

    My great-grandparents had the BEST kitchen wallpaper when I was growing up. I found leftover rolls of it a few years ago in my mom’s attic, so I cut it and had it framed. It’s now hanging in my kitchen :) My sister was so jealous/nostalgic for it I had some framed for her kitchen too.

    • JessicaD says...

      That is such a wonderful idea!

  21. Jo says...

    I bought a wall calendar because I loved the images – cut out just the image part and hung them up in 10 equal sized frames as a gallery wall. Have received tons of compliments.
    The calendar being on clearance since it was for a past year, made the deal sweeter :)

    • Kavitha says...

      Great idea!

    • jen says...

      LOL, once I had a whole Brad Pitt calendar framed, 12 pictures. We called my office ‘The Pitts.”

  22. Julie says...

    Cute idea!
    FYI, I’m not sure the link to the frame that opens up (to easily switch out the picture) is correct. It looks just like a regular ‘ol frame to me.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi Julie, the frame we linked to above has opening tabs at the back so you can load and unload it as many times as you like (compared to a pricier professionally frame that’s for all intents and purposes permanent)!

  23. Tania Barnes says...

    Love!

  24. Julie Moore says...

    Has anyone ever tried to hang wallpaper? Don’t. My husband and I thought it would be charming to do it ourselves on a nursery wall while I was ripe to deliver and it resulted in the biggest quarrel we’ve ever had. It was a total ‘I Love Lucy’ experience! Fortunately we recovered and I used the extra scraps to line my kid’s drawers and the inside covers of the journal I keep for her.

    • Carrie says...

      It can be equally as bad coming down as it is going up!

    • amber says...

      I do this for a living and have been hired to rescue failed diy attempts so many times by people who could pay but think it’s not “worth” paying a pro, because, “how hard can it be?”. But I understand why people try! It is fairly easy IF you know the crucial details. That’s where the licensed “pro” part enters, though!

      And, this is a bit of a tiny rant, but this is such a good place to say this: As a woman in this profession, I often have to spell out why I charge what I do because so many clients think that if I, a petite woman, is doing it, it can’t be that difficult, ie: worth the fee, while at the same time, one of my male colleagues doesn’t get any of the resistance I do – we’ve talked about it! His business provided him with a palatial home and he is thriving. I am thriving too, I just have to really fight for people to value AND TRUST my work as a woman. It’s kind of amazing in this day and age that there is still such prejudice. Most of my clients are women too, either home owners or their decorators. At this stage in my career, I am used to it and it is just part of the job, but I hope one day it women will just be trusted in whatever field they work in. I’m very grateful to all the people who DO support me.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that must be so maddening, amber! you sound incredible, and after watching two women put up some wallpaper in our new apartment, i will forever be in awe of how experts do it — and how impossible it is get right! (the spacing, the pattern, no bumps, etc.) you sound amazing, and sending you so many good vibes!

    • Amanda Blair says...

      Amber, it’s so frustrating when I hear about ways that we STILL don’t value women as much as men. I used to not want to pay someone to do something because I felt like it wasn’t worth the money. Then I had a thought that I want to be paid for what I love to do one day and to help me do that I should start willingly pay people to do what they love to do. It’s paying it forward. Cheers to you for doing what you love!

  25. Eirian says...

    It amazing how the wallpaper patterns and colours completely change how the space feels – even with the small framed peices!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i know! we were so fascinated by that!

  26. Love this! Does anyone know how I can make my own mat for a big frame I have?

    Thanks!

    • Melissa says...

      I bought an uncut mat from Michael’s last year when I couldn’t find one with the opening I needed.

  27. Amanda G says...

    This honestly life-changing! A whole new world of wall art possibilities has opened up and I am seriously beside myself. Can’t wait to start browsing on my own, but oh my stars is that blue marble ever beautiful!

  28. Margot says...

    My sister has done this with dish towels from Anthropologie. They fit into a standard Ikea frame. Genius!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so cool, margot!

  29. Kari says...

    What a genius idea!!

  30. Twyla says...

    A friend of mine does this with pretty/expensive wrapping paper that you buy by the sheet. Pops it into an Ikea frame and voila!

  31. Anna Kleinfeld says...

    This is very clever!

  32. jean goddard says...

    What a great idea!

  33. Natalie T. says...

    What a brilliant idea! I saw this idea with favourite magazine covers framed at a JCrew. Love that inspiration can come from anywhere.

  34. papermojo.com is another good source for decorative paper that would work for a project like this.

  35. Em says...

    I love the glow in the dark idea for my bathroom! Just emailed the BF about it now… Thanks for the lovely inspiration!

  36. Sarah says...

    I’m loving the Jen Garrido wallpaper but I’m not seeing a way to purchase just a sample/one sheet from Anthropologie- any ideas?

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi Sarah! Anthropologie sends free wallpaper samples. Contact them to inquire. The samples are pretty small compared to many of the others seen here, so if you wanted a large framed piece you would need to buy one roll of wallpaper.

  37. Kara says...

    Great idea! Back in my apartment dwelling days, we would also frame pretty fabric remnants. Cheap and easy way to add color.

  38. dana says...

    I really like this idea! Does anyone have ideas for more sources, aside what’s in the post, for large samples of unique wallpaper?

    • Caroline says...

      Sweet Pea Wall Design makes removable wall paper that would be perfect for a project like this! Find them on instagram @sweetpeawalldesign

    • Amy K P says...

      Emily Henderson did a round up of wallpaper on her blog – so many beautiful choices. You can just Google to find it.
      Also, I like chasingpaper and Hygge and West for removable wallpapers that come in smaller rolls.

    • dana says...

      I really like Emily Henderson’s site. Thanks for the recommendation!

  39. Christy says...

    Love this! I’ve also done something similar with fabric (that was $150 a yard) to decorate my office as a poor graduate student. It gave me the visual impact, with a much more affordable price. When I was done staring at it for a few years (I have décor ADD), I took it out of the frame and turned it into a pillow (expensive fabric on the front and inexpensive linen fabric on the back) and put it in another room to admire. It was a refresh of something I already loved and recreating it allowed me to enjoy it in a whole new way.

    • Anna says...

      Love this idea and the continuity part is so sweet yet clever!

  40. Denise says...

    This is a great idea! I love those clementines too, perhaps in my kitchen…

  41. Shay says...

    My parents did this with Marimekko fabric in the 70s – timeless!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a fun idea!

  42. Katie Larissa says...

    I actually did something similar with a piece of uber-expensive wrapping paper from a local bookstore! (It was a map of Paris.) And to save $ on a frame, because huge frames are so expensive, I had it dry mounted at a local craft store. I think it cost like $15.

  43. Lizzie says...

    I’ve been wanting to do this for years–I saved a spare roll of the quirky owl wallpaper from my late grandmother’s bathroom after she died and thought it would be fun to cover a huge canvas frame with it. But in the absence of a huge canvas frame (#laziness), a regular frame would work just as well!

    • Jamie says...

      That sounds awesome!

  44. Sarah Beth says...

    I did this with some fancy paper from Paper Source! I got a piece of gorgeous marbled paper, and one in similar colors (teal, white, gold, navy) of ocean waves. I framed them and hung them in my dining room! It was a simple and inexpensive trick that filled up big walls when we moved. It was intended to be temporary, but I actually plan to keep it and do more of it when we move to a bigger place!

    • Lacey says...

      I was about to say the same thing! I always get the fancy Paper Source paper and frame it. They always have such a lovely selection and I would never pay that much to wrap things. Plus, most wrapping gets thrown away.

    • Jo says...

      Yes! I don’t have the heart to wrap things with that lovely paper either. cant bear to see them crumpled and thrown away.