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stenciled bedroom border

Image: Rachel Schwartz Design

I love the look of patterned statement walls! It enhances the style of the room and can really make a big impact.

The downside? Wallpaper is a hassle.

First you have to prep the wall, then pay someone to come install it for you, unless you decide to install wallpaper yourself, in which case it’s even more of a hassle. And then, if you ever decide you want to change the room, you have to remove the wallpaper. Who wants to spend a weekend scrapping off wallpaper? Not me.

So what’s the solution? How can you get that statement look without the time and money that wallpaper requires? With a stencil, of course!

Wall stencils give you that same great look and style but without the hassle.

Why to Use Wall Stencils

If you’re trying to decide if stenciling is right for you, consider the advantages.


If you want to cover a large area with patterned or printed wallpaper, it can be pretty costly.

According to ImproveNet.com, the average cost homeowners spend on installing wallpaper is between $344 and $438 for one room. And that’s just the installation! You still have to pay for the wallpaper itself. As you can see, the cost can quickly increase.

Stenciling is a cost-effective option that will get you the same look as wallpaper. Whether you’re looking for something geometric or maybe something a little more classic, you can find wall stencils for $50 and under. DIYorNot.com estimates it would cost $155 to have a professional do the stencils for you, or just $45 if you do them yourself.

Less Commitment

Wallpaper is meant to be a pretty durable and permanent solution, so removing it can be a burden. You can’t just get rid of it by peeling it off; it’ll take hours of scraping paper off the wall.

Stencils give you the freedom to easily change the style. It’s all the style with less of the commitment. If you stencil a pattern on the wall and a few years later decide to switch things up, you just paint over it! Simple as that.

No Threat of Moisture

Since wallpaper is, well, paper, hanging it in rooms that see a lot of moisture, like bathrooms or kitchens, is not a good idea.

If you still want a beautiful pattern in a room that you expect to get humid, stenciling is a great option. Since it’s paint, it won’t peel and come off the wall the way wallpaper can.

Where to Find Wall Stencils

stenciled bedroom wall

Image: CuttingEdgeStencil.com

If you’re not sure where to go to find wall stencils, you can start at home improvement stores, like Home Depot. They’ll have a good selection for you to choose from and all the rollers, brushes and paint you need in one spot.

If you’re looking for something a little more customizable or you have a specific look in mind and just can’t find the right stencil, check out Cutting Edge Stencil. They have thousands of stencil options, ideas and tutorials to help you in your stenciling project.

If you decide to take your stenciling a step further, they have stencils for accent pillows and curtains, even furniture and cards!

Tips and Tricks

If you’ve decided that stencils are right for you, here are some tips and tricks to help you start your project off on the right foot!

Draw it in Pencil First

Designer Rachel Schwartz of Rachel Schwartz Designs suggests penciling out the stencil first.

“Do a few in pencil to see if you like it, you can always erase and put them somewhere else. Experiment; don’t do what the box says; make it your own,” said Schwartz.

Try It on Paper

There’s nothing worse than thinking a color combination is going to be perfect and then getting it up on the wall and realizing you made a mistake.

Avoid that nightmare by testing out your color combination on a poster board first. Do you still like it? Hold it up to some of the furniture in the room. If you still love it, then hang that stencil and get to painting!

Use Painter’s Tape to Hold the Stencil

You’re going to want your stencil to stay in one place while you’re painting, so you’ll need something to hold it up. Painter’s tape is the perfect option because it’s strong enough to hold the stencil but the adhesive is gentle enough not to pull the base color off the wall.

Blot Off Excess Paint

When stenciling, it’s better to have too little paint on your brush or roller than too much paint. Before you start painting, blot off excess paint on a paper towel. This will help prevent drips or paint seeping out off the edges of the stencil.

Mark Registration Points

You’re going to have to move your stencil, and if you don’t mark your registration points, it’ll be difficult to line the stencil up each time you move it.

Registration points are the little holes in the four corners of the stencil. You can mark them easily with a pencil before moving your stencil.

When you’re ready to move the stencil, just line up the registration point you marked with the point on the stencil, and you’re ready to paint again!

Whether stenciling or wallpaper is right for you, hopefully this article helped you decide how to feature your walls. If you need some more inspiration or want to see some other options, take a look at some other wall décor trends.

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