Can you recreate your home's walls without paint?

You’ve embraced the warming weather and it has finally motivated you to kick off some spring cleaning–you’ve washed the windows, tossed out old clutter and rolled up winter rugs. But with the piles gone and the furniture rearranged, you find yourself staring at four less-than-inspired blank walls.

There must be a more interesting alternative than just another coat of paint, right? And indeed, there is. Here are just a couple of suggestions for shaking up the walls in your Chicago home.

Indeed, there are other options. An increasingly popular approach to walls needing a touch of personality is the self-stick removable decal, which has been popularized through websites like Blik and Etsy. Decals range in size from five or six inches to several feet and capture a limitless variety of tastes and styles.

Wishing you had a headboard for your lovely bed? Mina Javid has you covered. Her “headboard” decals, available through Blik, come in a variety of styles and colors and can be ordered for a twin, queen or king size frame. Maybe you’re after a more whimsical alternative to wallpaper. Then you really must see the many patterned wall tiles available from Threadless. Whether you’re into monsters, books or geometric shapes, these removable tiles provide even more flexibility in your creative expression.

Of course, many of you are reading this and wondering what such stickable art will do to your walls once they’re removed. Fear not. The artists contributing to Blik and Etsy are considerate with their creations, all of which can be easily removed without damaging the paint or finish underneath.

If decals just don’t sound like your “thing,” or if you were hoping for a project that would help you utilize some of that leftover paint in your garage (which you uncovered during spring cleaning efforts), you should consider stenciling.

No, it’s not hard, though it can be a little time consuming (or seriously time consuming, if you insist on stenciling an enormous wall with a small, detailed pattern). According to most pros and experienced do-it-yourselfers, the trick is to use painters tape to lay down your stencil, apply paint with a dry stippling brush (this just means you dab off most of the paint) using light pressure, and be sure to test your color and technique on a separate surface (some like to test their ideas on painter’s canvas).

Really, it comes down to these three things: 1) how much space is in need of color and attention; 2) how much money do you want to invest; and 3) how much time do you want to spend. While stenciling is probably going to be slightly less expensive, it could potentially take a lot of time. Conversely, you may front a bit more cash for decals, but they offer greater variety in a lot less time.

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