Friday, September 2, 2011

how to make your (rented) house a home: add color to a white wall

I've had this idea floating around in my head for 5 years. When I was living up in the Sacramento area in 2005, going to school while my husband was in Iraq, I visited a small art gallery as part of a college class. I noticed immediately how the walls were decorated and I took note, then and there.

This particular gallery was an old house in an older part of Roseville. It was adorable. The walls were painted yellow and hung on each wall was a very large piece of ply wood. Each piece of wood was painted purple. All of the art was displayed on that wood.

I thought, "what an easy way to add color to a wall when I rent an apartment!"

For many of us renters, landlords do not allow us to paint. I guess I can understand why, but for me, white walls are the worst!! Our previous landlord allowed us to paint and I was so thankful. But in our new place we can't.

Enter: my brilliant idea!

First, find a large piece of plywood. They can be purchased at any hardware store and they'll even cut it down for you at no extra cost.

Next, pick a color and paint! Our accent wall in San Diego was this same terra cotta color, so we decided to just stick with that because our decor already matched.


Then, attach one piece of a french cleat (you can buy ones that hold up to 100 lbs or you can use multiple flesh mounts) to the back of the plywood. Be sure it's centered.

Next, determine where on the front you would like your pictures to hang. Nail your nails into the wood.

Screw the other piece of the french cleat (or flesh mounts) onto the wall in the appropriate place. And hang the wood. Make sure it's level!


Last, hang your pictures on the wood. Step back and enjoy your hard work!


I'm pretty satisfied with the end product. I have to be honest, I wish we had used a larger piece of plywood. This is just one of the pieces left over from when we made our headboard. I didn't want to waste it (I don't waste anything) and I didn't want to spend $35 on a new one (because I'm cheap :).

That's all! Do you have any tips to add color to a white wall? Let's hear 'em!!


  1. Oooh what a great idea! I always just put up fabric but this is classier.

  2. Great idea! I just might steal you idea!