How To: Fill A Large Wall

22 October 2012

This wall has been driving me nuts. 

Actually, figuring out what to do it has actually made me want to beat my head against a wall. Specifically this one. Not only is this the longest wall in the house, but we have pretty high ceilings for an older home, and that has only added to the expanse of space to fill. 

I have racked my brain for ideas, from a grouping of large canvases ($$) to framing up a large graphic fabric shower curtain to mimic a painted camvas, to wall tapestries. I attempted the shower curtain, but felt like it still didn't do the wall justice. I tried leaving it blank for a while and it just ate me up. Something had to be done, but I just couldn't decide on what.

Shower curtain attempt
The room felt incomplete, and because the home is a rental, I couldn't do anything permanent or drastic, like wallpaper or just knock it down. Lord knows I wanted to. I contemplated painting a mural of some sort, but cringed at the idea of my landlord seeing it and blowing an artery and having to repaint. Well, maybe I smiled a bit. She's kind of a pill. But once the mural idea was set in my brain, I knew I had to find a way to execute it.

I remembered entertaining the idea of using a wall decal for a headboard a while back, and thought I'd look into something I could use on a larger space. Now, I know most of you think 'wall decal' and think of those obnoxious FatHead commercials for oversized stickers of sports figures in action. But they actually can be done right. 

I searched on Etsy and found a great selection of vinyl wall stickers that can be arranged based on your creative whims. I love all things birch tree, so it seemed a natural choice to use a leafless birch forest for our dining room. I found my specific set here, but there are tons of styles to choose from, including chevron/geometric, animals, nature inspired, ocean, geography, kids, writing, wildlife, etc. The initial price shocked me, but when I considered the time involved of painting vs decals, and how much work would go into painting and then covering the artwork, I chose the easy-ish route. 

 So, what constitutes as 'easy-ish', you ask? Well, here's a quick how to guide of how I put this together. 

1. First of all, the decals come sandwiched between white contact paper and a semi opaque sticky layer. 

2. The trees came in rolls with multiple branches and trunks on one sheet. I cut them out individually and laid them out on the floor in the pattern that I wanted.

3. After tacking them up to the wall using blue painter's tape (white contact paper side against wall), I made sure they were spaced properly and the arrangement looked as good up as it did on the floor.

4. Starting with the center tree, I removed around 6 inches of white paper backing and starting from the top and smoothed down the decal on the wall using the pinky edge of my hand to eliminate bubbles.

5. Once secured, I continued to remove 2 feet long sections of backing and methodically smoothing the decal to the wall using a top down motion.

6. After the entire tree was applied, I went back to the top and firmly smoothed over the decal through the sticky contact paper using a small dish scraper blade (you can use a squeegee blade too). Don't be afraid to use a decent amount of pressure.

7. Using a slow, controlled movement, I pulled straight down on the tacky paper, keeping as close to the wall as possible, folding under as I went to keep the paper from sticking to my face.

8. Be careful when moving over corners or spaces, like the cuts on the sides of the trees. They have a tendency to want to peel off and may result in sticking to themselves, which renders them ruined.

9. After peeling the tacky paper off, make sure to run your hand over the decal once more to secure any loose sides that may have popped up in the process.

And then, you have this:


  1. So pretty my friend. I had no idea you used a decal!!

  2. i have really high ceilings and can't paint the walls in my apartment, so i was having a tough time filling them up as well. i also used decals that i bought on etsy! yours look amazing!

  3. Wow it looks AMAZING, love the colors too! Way to not settle and really try different things until you are completely happy!

  4. THIS LOOKS SO AMAZING (and even MORE amazing in person)!!!!!! So lucky I got to see this wall last night. :) Teach me your ways, woman!

  5. from instagram, i totally thought you painted those trees! i had a bad experience once with an ikea wall decal (the poppies) and so i've always believed i couldn't do a decal on a textured wall. your wall looks slightly textured and your decal is obviously still intact, so maybe i will give the wall decal another try. such a perfect solution to a too-big wallspace!

  6. Really nice!

    Googled second hand and found you :)

  7. Oh, I love the vinyl wall stickers! It turned out so nicely! I also like the color of the wall, to begin with! Now I want a wall like that! -Jessica L

  8. love this!! I'm inspired but am feeling lazy about the measuring ;)

  9. I absolutely love how those trees turned out!! I have a HUGE wall that is in our living room and because we are renting, there isn't too much I can do with it. Oh, and did I mention it's concrete? So that REALLY limits what can be done. This is such a great way to dress up a big wall. Thanks for the inspiration! Also, I'm now your newest follower! :)


  10. ~*swoon*~
    What a great {temporary} way to change up a space!
    Which store did you find it in on Etsy?

  11. This is amazing! I am jealous of your patience and creativity... The outcome is beautiful :)


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