June 23, 2009

Temporary Decor Ideas for Military Housing


This past weekend I was able to visit a military base for the first time as my sister and brother-in-law, who is in the Air Force, moved onto base housing. I had never been on a base before and really found the whole thing to be very pleasant and quaint. My sisters new home is actually much nicer than I would have imagined as I feel I've always heard adverse things about military housing. The home seemed extremely well kept & up to date. Nothing fancy, but not bad at all.

As the man & I were driving back home I began to brainstorm about how you would decorate a home that didn't belong to you and that had to be kept in essentially the same condition as when you moved in, much like an apartment. My sister says that the official rule is, 'white walls in, white walls out', meaning you can paint, but you do so with the understanding that you will be required to repaint back to white before you move. With this idea in mind I've compiled a list of easy, stylish, & temporary decor ideas for base housing (which also apply to apartment dwellers as well).

In the past several years there has been a major increase in the popularity of vinyl wall decals. To be honest, I'm generally not a huge fan, however, wall decals have really taken on a life of their own and they no longer are just names & phrases. Wall decals come in nearly every shape, size, color, or design imaginable - and the best part is that they are very inexpensive temporary decor. There are tons of companies that offer standard or custom designs, they are even available on Etsy. Here are some that caught my eye:

From Dali Decals:
From Etsy seller byrdigraphic:
Wall decals are a great way to decorate a childs room, this is from Etsy seller studiojk:

Another great alternative with a big impact is temporary wallpaper or wallcoverings. Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of taking down preexisting wallpaper, but with the invention of temporary wallpaper this experience is a thing of the past. There are a few companys that carry this product, namely Sherwin Williams (Easy Change Wallpaper), Paper Apartment, and TemPaper. I wasn't able to find out much about the Sherwin Williams product, but it didn't seem super user friendly. Paper Apartment papers come in a blank paper role (choice of color) and a paint pen for making your own designs. It is attached to the wall with 3M stick tabs (the tabs sounded to me like they were essentially large scrapbook tabs). It seemed as if Paper Apartment papers weren't as user friendly and truthfully were difficult to install and time consuming to decorate. Overall it seems as if TemPaper is the favorite, and with a little research it isn't hard to see why - it is stinkin' easy to put up and take down. There are 5 VERY basic rules of application that I would liken to peeling the back off of a label and sticking it on the wall. It supposedly (from the website & individual reviews) removes as easy as a post-it. Here are some of their designs:

Another great way to cover your walls temporarily is an old method of using fabric and good old liquid starch. This is a pretty simple project and as long as you choose an inexpensive fabric it can also be done for a reasonable amount. For full directions on how to 'fabric' your walls click here.

Photo via Jesseblog:

I hope that these tips find all military and apartment dewellers doing well and feeling inspired!


  1. thanks for this really interesting post! i've never even thought of using multiple decals to create a wallpaper effect (like with the dahlia-like decals featured)--neato!

  2. Another easy way to decorate is to change out your switch plate! All you do is unscrew the old one, and screw in the new one. When the time comes to move out, replace the old one back on the wall. I have had many customers purchase my switch plates for apartments and dorm rooms!


  3. Hilaria - I also really loved that photo that created the wallpaper type effect. Like I said I'm not really all about decals, but that's something even I would consider doing.

    Krystal - Another great idea - thanks for posting!

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  5. Never would've thought of combining the decals either. You are so creative!

  6. I have seen how the liquid starch looks and it is amazing! I wanted to use it for all the rooms in my house but my husband did not let me. Then, two ylater we went to this Buenos Aires temporary rent on vacation and it had the liquid in all of the rooms. I was thrilled! They certainly know what to give you!