December 2, 2023


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DIY Wall-Art Hacks That Are Cheap, Creative, and Renter-Friendly

  • Insider compiled the most creative renter-friendly wall projects from TikTokers and designers. 
  • Many of the DIY projects are inexpensive, like making a rainbow wall using paint samples. 
  • One designer showed how to make a small apartment seem larger by putting artwork on the ceiling.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It can be hard to find affordable wall decorations — especially if you are living in a rented space and can’t use nails, drill holes, or paint.

Insider compiled some of the best do-it-yourself wall decor projects we’ve seen from TikTok and Instagram creators and interior designers. All of the projects are renter-friendly — meaning they won’t peel paint or cause wall damage, according to the designers and social-media users who shared them.

Whether you’re in an apartment or a house, here are four ways to spruce up your walls yourself for free or with low-cost items.

Cover a wall in paint chips 

TikTok user Skylar Capri shared a video in May showing how she made a wall of color out of free paint samples from Home Depot.

First, pick out your colors, Capri wrote in the video. Then mark the areas of the wall where you intend to put the stripes with painter’s tape to ensure straight lines, she said.

Next, lay the colors in the order you want them face down on strips of painter’s tape before pressing the strips against the wall. Keep going until you fill the whole space, as Capri said in the tutorial.


A TikToker filled an entire wall with colorful paint samples.


Capri wrote that she calls the finished product a “paint-chip art wall.”

Make the ceiling a focal point with wall decals

Apartment renter Emily Shaw shared a video on TikTok in March showing how she transformed her hallway ceiling with $5 wall decals from Target.

Shaw said she used three packs of the decals — which totaled $15 at Target at the time of writing — and dotted the stickers on her ceiling to create a playful terrazzo-style design. 


A TikToker stuck clusters of Target’s viral wall decals on the ceiling.


Shaw said in her March video that while she placed the decals on the wall, the stickers peeled and stick easily, although stretching her arms to the ceiling got tiring after a while. The whole process took just a few hours, she added in the video. 

The terrazzo-style Target decal has gone viral for its expensive look and affordable price tag, Apartment Therapy reported in March, but they were no longer available online at Target at the time of writing. 

Put art on the ceiling — in a safe way

Chelsey Brown is an interior decorator who lives in a 520-square-foot studio apartment in New York City. The author of “Rental Style” and founder of the blog City Chic Decor uses renter-friendly hacks to make her space feel larger, she previously told Insider.

The focal point of Brown’s bedroom space is her gallery wall, which has layered picture frames and extends onto the ceiling. 


Brown’s gallery wall is next to her bed.


Installing real, heavy art pieces on the ceiling could pose a danger if they fell, so Brown told Insider she created a safer alternative. She said she made the frames out of cardboard and applied them with heavy-duty adhesive strips.

Making a room feel larger and more open is “all about drawing where you want it to go,” Brown said.

Turn a shower curtain into a large canvas

Jasmine Mims, a TikToker who shares DIY projects, recently shared a video showing how to make a large canvas print out of a shower curtain and some wood. 

In the video shared on May 10, Mims attaches a shower curtain to four planks of wood to turn it into a gigantic piece of wall art. Mims said in the video that the decor cost less than $50 to create. 

Three days later, Mims posted another video giving TikTokers more details behind the process. 

Mims said in the video that she bought the shower curtain on Amazon for $20. Then she got two 48-inch pieces of wood and two 46-inch pieces of wood for the frame to hold it together. All four pieces had a 2-inch width. 

Mims added in the video that she plans to add something like metal brackets to the back of the canvas so it stays sturdy over time.