5 Wall Coverings that Aren’t Wallpaper

Wallpaper has come a long way, but it still has its drawbacks. It goes out of style quickly, is hard to hang by yourself and difficult to repair when damaged. On the other hand, it can be a useful way to hide imperfections in your walls. After all, there are some blemishes that paint will only exaggerate.

But some of us are just not wallpaper people. Just thinking about that sticky paper makes you feel frustrated. If you identify with that last statement, you’ll be happy to hear that you have plenty of options. Enough alternative wall coverings exist to suit any taste. From cork tiles to DIY map wallpaper, there’s something for everyone, so read on to find your next look!

a map as wallpaper
Via dustymars.net

Bamboo Paneling

It’s not just for the tiki bar anymore! When done right, bamboo paneling can make for a chic and sophisticated statement wall—or any kind of wall, really. And bamboo is especially forgiving on uneven walls and damaged surfaces. You can also use engineered bamboo planks (read: bamboo flooring) for walls as well, which allows for any number of stains, dyes and patterns. And because bamboo grows quickly, it’s a lot more eco-friendly than wood!

Cork Tiles

Of course, when you decide not to use conventional wall coverings, you’re probably looking for something just a little bit quirky. Cork wall tiles have beautiful, warm geometric patterns that allow you to appreciate the beauty of natural wood. And like bamboo, they’re much gentler on the world’s forests than wood planks. Try them in a room that could use some soundproofing—the soft texture of cork gives it great insulating qualities.


A space shouldn’t just feel comfortable—ideally, it should be an expression of who you are as a person. And there’s nothing more personal than your travel memories—whether they’re ones from past trips or ones you hope to make in the future! This tutorial from Yankee Magazine teaches you everything you need to know to DIY your own.

Book Pages

If you’re more into armchair traveling than anything that requires actually leaving your home, you might appreciate this next idea. Buy an extra copy of your favorite book, and use the pages to paper your walls. It works just like the map idea—except you’ll get read an excerpt of your favorite novel every night before drifting off to bed. Try with an older book for that extra vintage look.

Starched Fabric

Every browsed through a fabric store and thought, “gee, I really wish I could have that on my walls”? Well, now you can. Liquid starch and fabric is a great solution for getting any lightweight cotton fabric on the walls—Apartment Therapy walks you through the full technique here. Best of all, it’s a lot less permanent than wallpaper. In fact, you can remove it just by wetting the wall and peeling the fabric off. It’s basically commitment-free! Decorating won’t have you climbing the walls anymore!

7 Elegant Ways to Use Textured Wallpaper in Your Home

Not every Victorian trend deserves a comeback—the world is definitely not ready for a resurgence of hair jewelry, for instance. But when it came to decorating their walls, those Victorians definitely had their frilly, ornate ducks in a row. Textured wallpaper, which hails from those days chandeliers and carved fainting couches, has undergone a revival of sorts lately, and rightly so! New high-quality patterns and easy-to-apply stick-on materials make today’s wallpapers functionally and visually superior to their predecessors—and a stunning wall covering option for homes of all stripes.

The textured wallpaper on offer today is so versatile, in fact, that it can even be used to face cabinets or give new life to dull ceilings, or to add a subtle decorative note to an old, dull end table. There are about a million ways you can manipulate it to imbue your interiors with a classy, historical and kingly verve. Below are some of our favorite ways enterprising homeowners have transformed this unique material in their spaces, giving dull surfaces a royal kick in the pants!

Victorian-inspired interior

Add Pop to a Painted Accent Wall

One of the best new features of the latest textured wall coverings is the ability to paint it in any color of your choosing. You can even get it un-primed so that you can stain it, if you so desire. The end result is a carved plaster effect that really dials up the elegance on your standard accent wall. For best results, choose a flat or low gloss paint and use a roller to ensure that the paint goes on evenly. Once it dries, you’ll have a truly standout feature wall for a living room or entryway!

Use It for a Super-Easy Kitchen Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash is an ideal place to express your design point-of-view. And with about a million-and-one different textures and techniques out there, literally any kind of covering you can think of is fair game. Of course, installing one is hardly ever as fun as choosing the materials—which is why we’re in love with the idea of using vinyl peel-and-stick wallpaper as an alternative to stones or tile. This stuff goes on fast and lets you embrace the ambiance of more sophisticated, expensive materials, like native stone, pressed tin or wood paneling. It definitely takes the sting out of doing the dishes!

Try It in a Bedroom for a Casual-Chic Headboard

Piggy-backing off the backsplash idea, this idea for a textured wallpaper headboard takes bedroom decor to the next level! The floral damask featured in this project looks lovely just as it is, but a headboard also makes a great setting for more modern styles as well. Try it with a paper featuring graceful grasscloth or weathered wood boards for an ultra-sophisticated place to prop your pillows. The perfect backdrop for dreaming!

Add It to the Ceiling for a Pressed Tin Look

Do you think ceilings ever get jealous of your home’s walls? After all, they’re usually the ones getting all the decorating, while your ceilings have to stare on mutely, quietly going about with their humdrum existence. Put an end to wall envy in your home and give your ceilings something to get excited about! Specifically, a faux tin covering like this one, made from textured wallpaper and metallic paint, will certainly make your ceilings shine—which is more than enough reason to look up every now and then!

Give Cabinets an Embossed, Intricate Facing

If you thought plain-Jane was a bad look for your ceilings, just think about what it does to your cabinets! Nearly three-fourths of all homes are afflicted with plain cabinet syndrome, which is definitely a real thing and not something we just made up for the purposes of this article. Sure, you could jazz them up a little bit with paint, but why not try something really unique and face them with textured wallpaper instead? Instantly transform a builder-grade kitchen into a virtual work of art. It’s the perfect cure for the common cabinet!

Hang It In Place of Wainscoting

A wainscoted wall oozes charm like nobody’s business, but it’s also got its downsides. For one thing, beadboard and other wood paneling doesn’t exactly fare that well in kitchens, bathrooms and other moisture-prone areas. Plus, it’s a pain-and-a-half to install. Luckily, textured wallpaper provides an apt substitute. Try it in beadboard, or go with a rich damask or Anaglypta, a print designed to mimic the decorative plasters popular during the Art Deco era. Now that was a time when people knew how to cover a wall!

Give Your Side Tables a Textured Kick

Want a home fit for royalty? Then you need to get seriously regal, right down to the tiniest touches. And that means no stone should go unturned, and no coffee tables undecorated! Use embossed wallpaper to add noble dignity to humble end tables and plain IKEA finds. It’s a super quick fix for aging pieces, and using it is basically like having a fairy godmother for your furniture.

All hail the queen of wall coverings! Long may it reign!