four examples of the Stencil on Wallpaper Look »

Fabulous Faux Paper

Got a yen to add color and pattern to your walls? You've probably considered wallpaper—but maybe thought twice given the hassle and high cost that go hand in hand with fancy coverings.

Happily, stenciling is a simple way to approximate the look. It's low-commitment, since you can paint over the pattern if you get tired of it, and not nearly as pricey, with many large-format stencils going for $50 or less. From traditional florals to modern geometrics, the options are as varied as wallpaper patterns but totally customizable because you pick the paint colors.

For best results, use painter's tape to hold the stencil in place, and start by completing one row from ceiling to floor. Paint with a small, dense foam roller, first rolling off excess on paper towels to prevent bleeding. Bend the stencil and use a small stencil brush to get into tight spaces. Partly overlap the already-painted pattern for the next row to ensure that it's perfectly aligned.

But don't stress over minor imperfections: That handcrafted effect is part of the look's charm.
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