With more people than ever wanting to bring the joy of pattern and colour to thier homes, i’m thrilled to drill into the creative DIY hack maestro that is Amara from @thepajaamahub
Amara is a firm believer in the power of colour to uplift the mood and thinking outside the decorating box to transform magnolia rooms into highly imaginative, bespoke spaces. Her instagram account is one of my favourite to follow because her home is an unabashed expression of her love for a punchy interior, a place to expresses her creativity through the ingenuous DIY design hacks and styling. Her account doesn’t just inspire renters but anyone who lis looking for an affordable and effective update. We interviewed Amara on our podcast, The Great Indoors, but i wanted to quizz her further on her damage-free, budget-friendly rental hacks. It involves lot’s of sticky stuff!
Can you believe this is a rental?! You may be well aware of ‘peel and stick’ wallpaper, but the choice of patterns and colours can be quite limited and possibly out of budget too. Amara came up with this clever hack to use clear sticky back vinyl roll adhered to the walls to protect them, before putting traditional wallpaper on top. The vinyl roll creates a protective layer. She then used regular wallpaper paste to hang the paper to the vinyl. Opt for lightweight wallpaper and extra strong wallpaper paste for best results. This way you can turn any wallpaper into customised peel and stick wallpaper, and it can be easily removed without damaging the wall. Amara’s hack allows you the freedom of choice, any print or brands will do! You can find sticky back vinyl rolls on places like eBay and Amazon from around £9 and one roll.
This is such a fashionable colour block trend, that involves painting a shape of colour to a plain wall. However if you rent your property, painting the walls isn’t always an option. Amara really wanted incorporate this trend as it resonated with her love of bold colour. She used the same self-adhesive clear vinyl that she uses for her wallpaper hack. She began by drawing an arch very lightly on the wall (A pencil tied to string held in one pint allows you to draw the perfect arc) and then stuck the self-adhesive clear vinyl on the wall. She suggests a tiny overlap where the drops meet to stop paint creeping inbetween the cracks. Using an Exacto knife, cut along the lines drawn to the arch shape. Remove the excess vinyl. Next paint three coats of emulsion paint in your chosen colour on top. Amara recommends that this idea is best for low-traffic areas.and she has saved the process in detail on her Instagram highlights.
Self-adhesive tiles are an incredibly effective and affordable way to reinvent, update and add pizazz to your rental. You can use them to update boring floors or make a striking feature wall. Amara has used peel and stick floor tiles ontop of her rentals pre-existing beige tiles, creating an amazingly cool feature wall in this bathroom. She was so impressed with how durable they were in the bathroom that she even stuck them inside the shower cubicle, and her family of five have really put this to the test and she confirms that they are still looking great! Make sure your tiles are super clean and dry before you apply. Amara sources these Poprock geometric adhesive stickers from B&Q.
You read that right! This is one of the more unusual DIY design hacks I’ve seen and must be a first! Amara explains: “I wanted to add a statement mural on one of the walls in my teen’s room. Since his style is ever-evolving and the ones I liked were quite pricey, I purchased an affordable cotton duvet cover from H&M and decided to use it as a wall mural. I opened the seams and using wallpaper paste, I applied it to the wall. Next, I used watercolours to paint the original black & white picture to create a more colourful mural. It is one of my most loved DIYs in my rental. I bribed him with a basketball jersey in exchange. Win, win!”
I like the way Amara has framed her fabric mural with simple timber beading down each leading edge, painted in the same colour as the wall. It looks really professional and the fabric will add another texture to the wall. Genius!
More vinyl roll! Amara has found a hundred uses for the stuff! This time Blackboard vinyl sheets (used to create actual blackboards so they are matt black rather than shiny and suitable to draw over) are used to cover pre-existing tiles and creating a dramatic bespoke feature. The blackboard self-adhesive vinyl sheets are waterproof, so perfect for a family bathroom. They also create a back drop for Amara to paint her own design onto, using acrylic paints. They can then be peeled off without damaging the tiles by using a blow dryer, the heat will soften the glue making it easier to remove. The cost of this project was under £30.
I love this one because it’s not just for renters. Amara came up with the idea to create a dramatic effect against a blank magnolia bedroom by adding a huge statement headboard., one which would add all the colour and all the pattern without worrying about damaging the rental walls. It is a budget-friendly and effective way to add drama and detail to any space. Amara is adept at DIY and undertook this project herself, although you could get a carpenter to cut the shape out for you.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
2x sheet 18mm hardwood plywood board (2.44 x 1.22cm) from B&Q
Wallpaper. Amara used Nivosa Vinyl textured wallpaper from B&Q.
Use two pieces of hardboard attached together to to maximise the size. Sketch out the design. You can use folded paper template to create a symmetrical design and once happy with the shape you’ve created on paper, draw around it. Cut out design with a Jigsaw. Apply the textured wallpaper using strong wallpaper paste or diluted PVA glue. Amara chose a textured paper as it is more durable than normal paper. The upholstery pins spaced out evenly around the edge make a decorative statement. You can attach your headboard to the base of your bed or but it against the wall, leaving it free-standing. If you are not renting you can attach it to the wall for added security
With more of us working from home than ever before I love Amara’s idea to create an inspirational creative corner. Cork board tiles are a great way to make a feature wall which not only looks smart but also functions as a mood board or notice board or displaying children’s ever-increasing artwork. I also love the way they introduce ta natural and textured surface into the decor, which can be especially helpful if your rental is bland and lacks character. Since they have a sticky back, simply peel off the protective sheet and stick them direct to the wall making sure each square is placed close to each other for a neat look. . Make sure to use a shape Exacto knife so get a clean finish if you need to adjust the size. You can also buy sheets of cork board from places like eBay and Amazon for bigger projects
Oh how we love a gallery wall, its a great way to add personality to a space! But one thing that holds most people back is the fear of all those nails, a complete no go in a rental. Amara got around this problem by using lightweight frames (such as Ikea Fiskbo range) with plastic instead of glass and hung them with Ikea Plutt adhesive hooks which are brilliant for renters as they can be removed without damaging the walls. Command strips are another product that allows you to hand pictures damage free. Alternatively Amara recommends thin veneer nails which are sturdy enough to hang lightweight picturs and just leave a small pin prick hole in the wall once removed.
More sticky stuff but this time on a roll of tape. Washi tape comes in a myriad of colours, widths and finishes and is typically bought from stationary shops are art supplies. Amara claims, the quickest and easiest way to define a space with colour. This was one of the first projects that she did after moving in and is in her daughter’s room. It took just a couple of hours. She used three Washi tape rolls ordered from eBay and made a random geometric pattern which added visual impact to the space instantly. I love how this metallic tape shimmers in the light- so effective!
This design hack blew my mind! Amara created this gorgeous effect of faux wallpaper and I cannot quite believe it’s not the real deal. I’m even more blown away by her ingenuity. Using basic masking tape which is cleverly close to the colour of magnolia walls (every rentals go to shade), she added it to one feature wall in evenly spaced out rows. Then simply hand painted a brush stroke design along the line of tape. Amara claims this is so quick and easy to do, you can tackle it in a weekend and better still, if you get bored of the design, simply peel them off and make a new one without breaking the bank. Even though I don’t rent I really want to try this out. Easy to do, low cost, and I can change my mind any time! What’s not to like!
Stick on wall decals are nothing new, but it’s all about the execution. eBay and Amazon have a fairly good collection to choose from but my advise is to opt for something simple and striking. Amara used these oh-so-simple triangle decals to update her boring toilet closet. And it’s so simple- literally sticking pre-cut stickers to the wall! No special tools or expertise required. If you are going for a geometric look like Amara just take the time to map it out with a pencil and ruler in advance and use a spirit level to keep the pattern looking straight. Then use a blow dryer to soften the glue when it’s time to remove them when you leave the property.
As you have probaly worked out Stick on vinyl is a great way to disguise any boring features around a rental home. Amara used basic DCFix vinyl to cover the sad-looking bathroom cabinet and perked it up further with new knobs bought from eBay. You can choose any colour to match them with your interiors. They are waterproof so one can easily use them in tricky places like kitchens and bathrooms too! And while you are here take note of the peelable wallpaper with washi tape border trim in the WC!
Huge thanks to Amara for generously sharing her DIY hacks with us here on the blog and for providing all the pictures of her wonderful colour soaked home. You can follow Amara’s Decorating progresso ver on instagram @thepajaamahub.
If you have any great decorating hacks for your rental, please pop them in the comments below!