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Before & after: Apartment decorating with removable wall decals

Posted by Melissa Massello  November 19, 2012 12:43 PM

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When you're an avid DIY-er living in an apartment rental, there are few things more frustrating than being bound by a lease or a landlord that doesn't allow you to put stuff on the walls. (And, at least from my firsthand experience, Boston is full of those apartments.) Fret not, fair makers: several reusable, removable products aim to ease your nesting woes, like the catalog of modern wall decal designs from Blik in Los Angeles.

Inspired by a Shoestring interview we did last year with Kara Butterfield, a Syndey expat living and working in Boston as an interior stylist, extolling the virtues and vision of using wall decals as a modern apartment decor solution, I finally broke down and bought a huge "Olivia" wall decal headboard from designer Mina Javid (one of Blik's best-selling decals). The installation instructions marked it as "Grab a Pal" in difficulty, so on a recent Saturday morning, I called Kara up and enlisted her to help me install the decal on my bedroom wall.

Here's a "before" photo:

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We started by unpacking the headboard decal (which came in four pieces for the King size bed frame) and unfurled them on the floor, then gave the entire wall a quick dusting and wipe-down with a damp cloth. Kara had the genius idea to mark and cut out holes for the electical outlet wall plates, which came in very handy later on when we installed the pieces.

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A decal "squeegee" comes with the decals, in order to smooth out all the air bubbles in the decal as you're installing it, but Kara also brought her own, which we highly recommend for any large "grab a pal" size projects. Hello, hipster moustache!

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Using lots of blue painters tape, we lined the middle piece of the decal up on the wall and made sure it was secure and centered before beginning to remove the backing and stick the decal onto the wall.

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We removed the backing in sections, squeegee-ing all the air bubbles out from one side to the other (right to left), carefully maneuvering around the outlet covers and spot-checking every foot or so to make sure the decal was still lining up with the baseboards. Once the decal was in place and the entire backing was removed, we squeegeed the entire decal one more time, then repeated with the top piece of the headboard and the feet pieces.

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Whole headboard is up! Now we just needed the feet, which was a little tricky with the baseboard. On Kara's suggestion, we flowed them over the lip of the baseboard and then down the wall to the floor, creating a cool 3-D effect (not shown, sorry).

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With the new headboard up, it was time to put the room back together. (Decals, unlike paint, need no time at all to cure or dry.) Ahhh…Home Sweet Home.

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Here are two more local decal projects that Kara styled, one at her home in the South End (top) and the other at her restaurant in South Boston, KO Pies (bottom). Click through the images for more expert tips from Kara on decorating with wall decals.

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KO_pies_wall_decal_kara_butterfield.jpg

So, we're dying to know: have you ever decorated with decals? Tweet pics of your own projects to @DIYBoston or tell us all about them in the comments below! We'd love to hear your experiences, and of course what you think of our first Before & After project!

~ Melissa

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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