Introduction: Black Feature Wall Without Painting the Wall

About: Part MacGyver, part Martha, creator, host and producer of Engineer Your Space, an award winning DIY home design show dedicated to clever, affordable and stylish solutions for common challenges faced by renters…

After giving my bedroom a makeover, I got this crazy idea to make a black feature wall - problem is that I'm a renter and I'm not supposed to paint my walls, or if I do paint, then I need to put it back to white before I move out. I didn't want to have to repaint so I got creative and came up with a way to cover the entire wall to make it black, all without a drop of paint touching the actual wall!

Step 1: Cutting Cardboard

So after wandering around the hardware store, I found inspiration when I saw this cardboard to protect floors during construction: ram board. I got the idea to paint the cardboard to make panels and then to stick the panels onto strips of contact paper. I know, crazy!

Step 2: Painting Cardboard

I wasn't sure if this was going to work but after doing a test with paint that has primer in it, I was so happy to see that my hunch was right and the cardboard took the paint really well. I've since done this with paint without primer and it did cause the cardboard to warp a bit, so definitely best to use paint with primer combined.

Step 3: Cutting Contact Paper Into Strips

For the contact paper, I found this matte black adhesive film on Amazon that is removable and safe for walls - I did a test to make sure this was true and it worked perfectly - it removed without leaving any damage to the wall. I cut strips of 5" which will be enough to leave a 3" gap between panels and leave enough contact paper for the tape to attach to.

Step 4: Installing the Contact Paper

I installed the strips of contact paper on the wall, spaced out to accommodate the 24" panels.

Step 5: Taping the Panels to the Wall

I initially tried removable double sided carpet tape but that wasn’t strong enough to hold the cardboard along the edges. Then I tried this other tape called “Extreme Double-Sided Acrylic Mounting Tape” that is also removable and that one worked perfectly - all the sides of the ram board stayed down. The trickiest part of installing the panels was to make sure that they were straight and evenly spaced out but using tape and a level helped with that. I also removed the tape section by section to avoid the tape from sticking where I didn't want it to.

Step 6: Enjoy!

I love this new look so much - yes, painting would have been faster but I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the textured look that the matte panels give the wall. And for me, not having to paint the wall again when I move out is a plus. It's been up for over 6 months and it's still going strong.

You can see the entire project in the video - enjoy!

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