Most of us have leftover wallpaper scraps hanging around that for some reason we feel the need to save, rather than just recycle straight away. But that’s good news, because there are endless ways you can use your leftover paper to brighten up your home. Not got any wallpaper leftovers? Most shops will give you wallpaper samples for free – these small pieces are perfect for a whole host of projects!
Here are 39 of my favourite ideas to inspire you:
1. Paper your light switch
I can’t wait to try this gorgeous idea from Martha Stewart which uses just a small scrap of wallpaper to transform an old, tired and boring light switch plate into a thing of beauty! No need to cover all the switch plates with the same paper either – mix and match different pretty patterns throughout your home, for true shabby chic style. You’ll need to remove your switch plate from the wall to cover it (be sure to turn off the power – ask an electrician for help if you’re not 100% sure what to do). See more on MarthaStewart.com.
2. Frame your wallpaper
Some wallpaper is so pretty, it deserves to go in a frame – and arranging several wallpaper samples together in a mix of pretty prints creates a display that has a real shabby chic feel to it. The prints in the picture are by John Derian as captured on Katy Elliott’s blog – thank you Katy!
3. Create a splashback
Wallpaper is a great choice for a kitchen splashback in terms of the variety available. Of course, it’s not very splashproof – but you can protect it with a sheet of glass or perspex to make it wipe clean. Emma Britton also has a clever solution for this, which involves laminating the paper between two sheets of toughened glass giving a durable, moisture proof finish. You can see the end result above!
4. Cover a lampshade
Wallpaper scraps are a great way to cover an old shabby lampshade and give it some chic! Use this idea to make a matching lamp for your room, or mix and match prints throughout the house. It’s an easy project and there’s a video here to show you how:
5. Paper your stair rises
I’ve seen quite a few examples of wallpaper scraps used on stair rises, and for an old, shabby staircase, it really does make a lovely difference to the look of the staircase. Although your stair rises won’t be getting anywhere near as much wear as the treads, you’ll still need to cover them with a protective coat of acrylic varnish or similar. Image credit: Nifty Thrifty Girl
Here’s another beautiful example, with some instructions – follow the link underneath for more inspiration for your stairs:
Image source and more inspiration: Apartment Apothecary
6. Cut out a stencil
Wallpaper is often made up of such pretty motifs which are perfect for making your own stencils! Tape your wallpaper motif onto a thick base that you don’t mind getting scratched and cut. Then tape a sheet of transparent acetate over the motif. Finally, use a tool (e.g. a Stanley knife) to cut out the design to create your stencil. Image by: Wendell T. Webber. Source: This Old House
7. Make a privacy shade
For those little windows in your home where you don’t really have a need to open and close a curtain or blind, wallpaper makes a fantastic privacy shade. Cut your wallpaper to your window’s width and its length plus 2 feet, and fold accordian-style. Punch a hole one inch from the edge of the paper on either side, then unfold. Wrap and glue the top of the paper around a dowel, and thread the holes with string, knotted at both ends. Screw eyes into the dowel and suspend from hooks. Image by: Wendell T. Webber. Method and image source: This Old House
8. Decorate with room panels
Add just a touch of colour and interest to a boring corner with wallpaper panels that have been ‘framed’ with moulding. This is also a great solution if you find a paper you love but it’s too expensive to do a whole room! Image by: Vanessa De Vargas Interior Designers & Decorators. Image source: Haskell Interiors
9. Jazz up your pantry
If you have a food cupboard or pantry in your kitchen, this is the perfect place to use up your wallpaper scraps. I love the pretty duck egg blue printed paper used here, with the coordinating painted shelves – it gives the pantry a lovely fresh sunny feel (although is anybody’s food cupboard really this tidy?) Image by: Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC; Erika Bierman Photography. Image source: Haskell Interiors
10. Wrap up gifts
Using your wallpaper scraps to wrap up presents is a brilliant way to upcycle the leftovers. Either wrap the presents directly with the paper or use it to cover old boxes which can then be tied up with ribbons or lace. Image source: Julia Oprinesc – Deviantart
11. Line your drawers
Wallpaper is a fantastic way to give your drawers a cheery lining and protect them at the same time. Here’s another example of a dressing table drawer lined with striped wallpaper:
12. Cover your books
Books are amazing but they can be a bit of an eyesore! Wallpaper scraps are a brilliant way to make them fit in with your room decor while protecting them in the process! These pretty covers were made by The Polka Dot Closet.
13. Create new storage
Wallpaper scraps are the perfect way to transform old boxes into beautiful storage boxes to house your CDs, DVDs, make up or anything you like! It’s a great way to upcycle both the boxes themselves and the paper. The above pretty boxes were made by Yves Town.
15. Make ornaments
You can buy every cut wood shape you could imagine at Craft Shapes and the prices are so cheap – as little as a pound for four. You can then use your wallpaper scraps to transform the shapes into gorgeous decorations for use all year round. Image source: Urban Natural History (originally these were listed on Etsy but they are no longer available)
16. Revamp your drawer and cupboard fronts
What better way to brighten up a boring old unit than to give it a lick of paint and cover the door/drawer fronts with gorgeous wallpaper scraps? You’ll need to unscrew the handles and then apply a layer of matte mod podge to the drawer or door front and put on your paper, carefully smoothing out all of the wrinkles and bubbles. Once it’s dry, apply a further one or two protective coats of matte mod podge over the top and reattach your handles. Image source: detalhesmagicos.com.br (this page has loads of other lovely ideas on too!)
17. Beautify a bookcase
This is an easy way to upcycle an old bookcase and make it look interesting again. Just remove the shelves, paper the whole of the back and reinsert the shelves. For low bookcases and units, you might also consider adding a layer of wallpaper to the top too. To put your wallpaper on the back or top of the unit, first apply a layer of matte mod podge and stick down your paper, carefully smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles. Once dry, apply a further one or two protective coats of matte mod podge over the top. Image source: Salvage Savvy
18. Transform boring wall shelves
If you have any ugly laminate wall shelves, wallpaper is an amazing way to make them look fresh and new again. Just apply your wallpaper using matte mod podge, as described for 16. and 17. above. Image source: The DIY Homegirl
19. Finish your kitchen units
Kitchen end panels are super expensive and they really ramp up the total cost of a new kitchen. If your budget didn’t stretch to cover them, why not hide the ugly laminate cupboard sides with pretty wallpaper? You can either go for an attractive print, or buy tongue and groove paper and create a wood tongue and groove effect as shown here. Again, use matte mod podge to apply (see 16. and 17. above) Image source: Pinterest
20. Make a pinwheel decoration
Fold your leftover wallpaper into a pretty pinwheel and hang it up for an attractive wall decoration! The above decoration was made by Paul Vitale for Better Homes and Gardens. Image source: Paul Vitale – Behance
21. Paper your room door
Who says wallpaper is just for walls? These gorgeous doors are by Martha Stewart and have been transformed using fabulous wallpaper prints. Again, you can apply the wallpaper using matte mod podge in the same way as for 16. and 17. above. Image source: Martha Stewart
22. Create a fake headboard
Martha’s website is full of good ideas and here’s another one I want to share – a fabulous wallpaper ‘headboard’. All she’s done here is apply the wallpaper behind the bed where the headboard should be to create a wallpaper effect. It’s a fantastic way to give your bed the appearance of a headboard, without having to splash out for one! Image source: Martha Stewart
23. Cover old tin cans
Tins and old containers make perfect vases when covered with pretty wallpaper and, optionally, ribbon, lace and other embellishments. You can of course also use the tins to store pens, cooking implements, hairbrushes, drumsticks, make up brushes, straws or anything else you can think of! This lovely ‘how to’ was found on Ruffled Blog.
24. Uplift your closet
I adore the pretty paper used in this closet which has been carefully applied to the individual panel insets, the sides and the back of the unit. It completely transforms the closet and makes it look like a custom piece of furniture. Here’s the image source and more pictures: Song Bird Blog.
25. Revive a room divider
I love the fresh colours of this pretty room divider which has been repainted and papered to give it a bright new look. Image source: BHG.com
Room dividers are pretty expensive to buy so if you don’t already have one and can’t find a cheap second hand one, why not make your own? Here’s a vid that shows you the basic technique: YouTube
26. Make a little tea tray
This gorgeous little tea tray is actually a picture frame that has had the glass removed and a MDF backing board inserted. It’s an awesome idea for making a little tray using your wallpaper scraps! Picture credit and instructions: Homemaker Magazine You could of course use wallpaper to overhaul an existing tea tray. It’s fine to apply the paper with matte mod podge as above but after you’ve give it a couple of protective layers, I recommend you give it a spray with acrylic varnish to finish off.
27. Cover an old table
This is a fantastic transformation of a very boring plain LACK Ikea table. I have one of these tables and over the years they get chipped and worn, to the point where you wouldn’t want to put them on display! This cheap transformation looks absolutely amazing – and if you check out the source, you’ll see that Lizzie has taken it one step further and added decorative nails for a more expensive finish. Image source and details: Apartment Therapy
28. Create a useful notice board
This sweet little notice board made from a painted picture frame covered with old wallpaper is irresistibly pretty! You can buy the mini wooden pegs on eBay for very little. Image source: Pinterest
29. Decoupage a chair
This chair is so pretty now it has been painted and covered in gorgeous flowery wallpaper but you should see what it looked like to start with! Check out the easy-to-follow tutorial video below.
30. Make a hook rack
This is another lovely way to use wallpaper scraps as art – and create a useful storage space for keys or jewellery in the process! Just cover a block of wood with wallpaper (pretty fabric would work too) and then screw cup hooks into the bottom. Image source: Pinterest
31. Design your own clock
Wallpaper is a great way to either overhaul a cheap, ugly clock, or make one from scratch. The clock used in this picture is from Ikea and currently costs just £1.95 – or you can buy clock hand kits from Ebay or Etsy for about £2.50 which allows you to use pretty much any backing board as your clock face. The numbers in this example are stickers from a packet but you could also use transfers, or print out the numbers on a sheet of paper, cut them out, stick them down and finish with a spray of acrylic varnish. Image source and instructions: Sweet Rose Studio
32. Paper your ceiling
If your walls are fairly plain, you can add interest to a room by papering the ceiling, drawing peoples’ eyes upwards. Wallpapering a ceiling is done in exactly the same way as the walls, but it is a little more tricky and you might want to check out DIY Doctor’s guide here. Image source: download-free-wallpaper.com
33. Create a wallpaper hanging
Creating a hanging out of your leftover wallpaper is really simple – just fold over the top and the bottom and glue, creating a pocket at either end – then insert a strip of wood in each of your ‘pockets’. Finally attach some ribbon or string to the top rod at the back and hang on the wall.
34. Cover a clipboard
Clipboards are really useful hung on the wall as they can hold a huge range of bits and pieces – letters, unfiled bills, receipts, notes and whatever else you have that you really should organise! These wallpaper covered clipboards are especially pretty, giving you useful storage and a lovely display at the same time. Image source: Originally H & H, found on Apartment Therapy
35. Make fake tongue and groove
Tongue and groove can add a real architectural feature to a room but it’s tricky to get right and more expensive than paint or wallpaper. However, if you have the right kind of leftover wallpaper you can create a tongue and groove effect by papering up to the dado rail and then giving the paper several coats of paint. Image source and details: Southern Hospitality Blog
36. Give a stool a face lift
If you have a shabby little stool, a lick of paint and some wallpaper scraps can give it a fresh new look! These pretty stools were made by This Little Street and they revamp cheap Ikea stools which are currently priced at £14. Keep an eye on eBay too as this is a great way to pick up small furniture items that are ideal for upcycling.
37. Make filing interesting…
Okay perhaps that is a bit of a bold statement – filing can never be interestying – but adding some attractive wallpaper scraps to the front of your filing cabinet will certainly make you feel just a little bit better, every time you have to open the drawers. Matte mod podge is again the best way to get this done. Image source and details: Ally Laughing at the Days
38. Make a picture with cutout shapes
This clever idea originally came from Fiskarettes on Facebook but I found it with the above image on the Eclectic Home blog (check out the post for loads more lovely recycling ideas). You can get Fiskar’s punches online from around £7 each and use them to punch pieces of wallpaper out in the shape of your choice. These can then be used to create gorgeous displays. Mix in paint samples for more variety of colour!
39. Create a garland
Another idea I found on the Eclectic Home blog, these pretty garlands can be made from wallpaper scraps or any scrap paper at all and they are perfect for weddings and other events. They have a lovely handmade shabby chic feel to them and you can of course coordinate them to your colour theme. Image source: Project Wedding
I hope you’ve enjoyed these 39 ideas for using up your wallpaper scraps – if you have others I’ve not covered, please let me know below! If you’re looking for shabby chic wallpaper, click here to view our gorgeous collection!