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Cheap Wall Covering Ideas for Bad Walls – 10 Ways

Written by Rosanne Jones /

Fact-checked by Steven D. Carrico

cheap wall covering ideas for bad walls

Bad paint jobs, uneven surfaces, and cracks or holes in the walls of your home can be such eyesores. They can ruin what could be your favorite room or a space to showcase your design skills and personal style.

Good thing there are inexpensive, DIY remedies to deal with these ugly walls that will not require a ton of construction work. From wallpaper to eccentric knick-knacks, here are 10 cheap wall covering ideas for bad walls.

Small Paint and Varnish Jobs

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Cheap wall covering ideas for walls need not be too complicated. If the bad wall is not too big and the texture issues or uneven areas are very minor, then a DIY paint job may be in order.

Begin with some spackling using drywall mud to smoothen out the small cracks or pits. Then when the repaired surfaces are smoothed down, you can apply a primer and then paint on the new surface.

Go for a flat finish instead of glossy paints. Glossy paints are less forgiving and will make any uneven spots or imperfections stand out more.

If you find yourself bothered by reclaimed wood wall panels that are looking washed out, you can put on a new layer of varnish to refine the rustic look.

Peel and Stick Wallpaper

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You can also hide bad walls without paint by using peel and stick wallpaper. Also known as temporary or removable wallpaper, these decorative wall coverings are like giant stickers that come with adhesive backing.

They can be as cheap as $1 to $1.50 per square foot. You can save money using these compared to wall panels that cost $7-40 per square foot, depending on materials.

There is a wide variety of pretty patterns or designs to choose from to transform your damaged wall into an accent wall.

Just remember to apply your peel and stick wallpaper on a clean, dry and smooth wall, without texture, and one that is not exposed to a lot of humidity. You don’t want to see your wallpaper peel at the edges months after installing.

Wall Tapestry

Another way to cover an ugly wall is by hanging an artistic tapestry. Among the affordable wall covering ideas we discuss here, this is probably the simplest and requires the least amount of effort to install.

Find a size to adequately conceal defects and damage, and you can transform an otherwise boring wall into a decorative element that warms up the room.

There are many designs to choose from, whether traditional or modern, and with different cultural influences.

Traditionally, a tapestry wall hanging is a thick woven fabric of various designs. Nowadays, you can find ‘printed’ lightweight tapestries for cheap online, like $6 -10 for 4×5 foot fabrics.

These would work well if you have uneven walls or damaged textured surfaces, where it is not advisable to stick wallpaper.

Picture Collage

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One of the most personalized DIY wall covering ideas would probably be the picture collage decor.

You can select favorite pictures of family members to print and mount on frameless foam core boards. Alternatively, use photos from magazines, postcards, or posters to create your collage.

Use high quality, low gloss prints to give your collage a polished look with minimum glare. Frameless picture art looks very modern and minimalist, and will come out cheaper too.

A 16×20 inch foam core board cost about $2-4 online, versus $20-50 per picture frame of the same dimensions.

Putting together a photo collage makes for excellent cheap covering if you have trouble spots on the center or upper portions of your walls but do not want to cover the entire surface.

Wall Decals

If you want an artsy wall covering to hide imperfections, perhaps you can consider decals. This is a kind of sticker that does not aim for full coverage of an entire wall like a peel and stick wallpaper.

Decals usually possess a whimsical look or a quirky art style that is well-suited to a kids’ room. If you are feeling particularly inspired, you can even create a large mural of fantastical scenes to make a bold statement in the room.

Wall decals are an inexpensive wall covering, priced from $10 and up on online stores, depending on the size and material. This may be the cheapest way to go, especially if the trouble spot is small and can be concealed by a modestly sized decal.

Cork Panels

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Another cheap way to cover walls is to use a cork panel, which can serve as a regular old bulletin board. It is a cheap and quick fix that can provide both style and function.

You can have that organic woodsy look from the cork and also an announcement and reminders board for the house.

You have built-in versatility with a cork board as well. It’s possible to put up photos or small pieces of art and replace them according to your mood.

These panels come in square, rectangles, or hexagonal tiles with varying dimensions. Prices range from $14 to over $40. The thicknesses are from ¼ to ½ inch, which makes them easy to install using a staple gun.

Curtains

cheapest-way

Even if there are no windows, you can cover walls with curtains to hide imperfections.

If you have visible damage on a large wall, using full-length drapes is a good option. Floor-length curtains will create the illusion of height and space. Meanwhile, a short curtain will only draw eyes towards the exposed portion of the wall.

With the right color and fabric choice, you can create an elegant backdrop for a beautiful piece of furniture or other decorative elements intended to be the focal piece of the entire room.

Full-length curtains are about $30 to $40 per 2-piece panel. If you can repurpose a nice set of drapes you already have, then there is minimal additional expense, apart from purchasing the curtain rod.

Mirrors

A mirror or set of mirrors is a stylish wall covering that will bring in light and a feeling of spaciousness to the room.

A full-length mirror with an intricate ornamental frame can surely be a bold statement piece that distracts from an ugly wall. However, it may get pricey if you end up purchasing something brand new.

If cheap wall covering is the goal, then we can either seek out an exotic mirror in thrift shops or try tile mirrors.

Like decals, tile mirrors are available in smaller cuts and have an adhesive backing, so they can be mounted directly on the wall. A 50-inch long set would be in the $20 and above price range. These are typically frameless, so they go well with a modern, minimalist look.

There are also non-glass options that have a similar reflective quality. They come in other shapes and colors like gold hexagons. These are priced in the $10 range and are another affordable option.

Fabric Wall

Perhaps, one of the more skill and labor-intensive ideas to cover damaged walls is to use fabric wall cover in place of traditional rolled wallpaper. There are several important steps to ensure your installation will be successful.

  • Firstly, this covering will not work on uneven walls, so you have to fill in cracks or holes, smooth and clean your walls before installation.
  • You have to choose a fabric that is tightly woven and of stiff texture to hold up well. Plain fabric is easier to work with than prints, as you need not bother about the continuity of patterns.
  • Dark colors may hide dirt and stains more easily, but remember that they tend to make a room seem smaller. Make sure you have a good color balance if you put a dark fabric wall in a room.
  • After carefully measuring and cutting the fabric, you can apply laundry starch or another adhesive to the wall and then smooth out the fabric to firmly attach. Excess fabric is trimmed afterward.

A carefully installed fabric wall cover could work equally well as a fresh coat of paint to create a beautiful new accent background.

Ornamental shelf

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Sometimes, to cover bad walls, we only need to put something more eye-catching in front of it. You can set up shelves and add interesting focal pieces to take attention away from a large wall that may look drab or have some damage.

A great idea is to bring out all the weird oddities you have collected to display. Even if you just cover half the wall, such accessories can change up the energy and breathe new life into an unattractive backdrop.

Best of all, you can repurpose shelving and other unique collections you may already have. Creative ways to hide wall imperfections need not require a trip to home improvement or home decor shops at all.

Conclusion

This list of cheap wall covering ideas for bad walls offers solutions for spot problems or total concealment. Depending on your room’s issues, your resources, skills and preferences, you can choose how to restore beauty to your walls.

If you have textured or uneven walls, consider:

  • Simple paint job
  • Wall Tapestry
  • Curtains
  • Ornamental Shelves

If you have smooth walls and want to conceal limited trouble spots, these alternatives may be best:

  • Peel and Stick Wallpaper
  • Picture Collage
  • Wall Decals
  • Cork Panels
  • Mirrors
  • Fabric Wall
5/5 - (2 votes)
Rosanne

Rosanne Jones

Hi, I am Roseanne Jones, an aspiring home designer that wants to make you feel more at home with your new house.With nearly five years of redecorating old residents and arranging new ones, I am confident that I can give you the best advice on your lovely place.

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