How to: Kids' Room Wall Decals

How to: Kids' Room Wall Decals

By Liv Buli

How to: Kids' Room Wall Decals

So here’s how it occurred to me that wall decals are like the smartest solution ever.  

When it came time to decorate Isa’s nursery (our youngest), I knew I wanted to have some fun with it, and use a bold print to create playful contrast. But let's keep in mind that we’re in a rental in Brooklyn, and while I love this apartment I have to be mindful about any work and money I put into it - I do, after all, have to give it back someday. 

I had already painted a mountainscape on her sister’s wall (DIY coming I swear) and spent hours staring at wallpaper brands I am obsessed with and other semi-permanent solutions on Pinterest. I was coming up short. It was too expensive. But then, by chance, a detour on Etsy suddenly presented the perfect plan. “Decals! I can put up a bunch of decals and make it look like wallpaper!” *cue David groaning*


alpaca and cactus wall decals above credenza with plant and pillow
In order to mimic wallpaper measure a grid and hang multiple decals. Image courtesy of KennaSatoDesigns.


It’s perfect. The selection of decals you can find online is mindboggling and they are reasonably priced. They are simple to apply with some basic tools you probably already have in your home. You can create pretty whatever you imagine, and it’s easy enough to simply scrape the decals off when you need to get rid of them. (Again, David shakes his head and places his head in his hand as he is generally the individual who is tasked with the “scraping off” portion of these kinds of projects.) 

So here’s are some tools that will come in handy for this:


tools needed to apply wall decals, scissor, sponge, pencil, decals, scraper
Wall decals are simple to apply with some basic tools you are likely to already have in your home.

You should probably wash the walls first, hence the wet sponge or cloth, and make sure they are fully dry before you get started. (In the interest of full disclosure I have on occasion skipped this step due to just a touch of laziness and it’s always worked out just peachy. Just felt I had to give you the recommended and responsible approach.) 

You’ll want to start by determining your layout, which will, of course, be determined by the decals you select. I’m just saying you should have a plan for where to put the stickers, right? 

In our case that involved what felt like a few hundred little alpacas and cacti, and I wanted this to mimic wallpaper, so we measured and marked up a three-foot by three-foot crosshatch on the wall with painters tape. Within these bounds, I didn’t mind a little asymmetry, so the next step was to start cutting out ALL the decals, and temporarily mounting them, vinyl-side in, with a bit of tape. (Don’t forget you can use a level to ensure your decals are straight if need be.)


cactus wall decal application preparation
Plan your layout by mounting your decals temporarily, vinyl-side in, with a bit of tape.  


With a plan in place, the application is pretty easy, if not a little tedious. Remove the sticker shield and press the decal with the vinyl carefully against the wall. It should still be covered by the paper backing at this point. Go over the paper and sticker with your scraper a time or ten, and then carefully start to peel away the paper, starting at the top. If the sticker starts to come off at all, you’ll just lay the paper-backing back down – you need to go over it with the scraper some more. 


application of cactus wall decal with scraper
Go over the paper and sticker with your scraper a time or ten, and then carefully start to peel away the paper, starting at the top.


Repeat 478,000 times, or if you’re smarter than me, until you have hung all three stickers. 

In the end, I am over the moon with how it came out, and I like to think Isa is too. I definitely used up some serious goodwill from David and our unsuspecting pal Kristan, given the number of stickers we applied that day, but it turned out to be a great solution at a reasonable price, not to mention easy to remove when it comes time to turn the keys back over to the super. 

Plus, no one else has anything quite like it. :)


  • This came out so well and is such a good idea! Especially for renters like me in NYC. Thanks for the design ideas :)

    Brooke on

  • These are sooo cute! I can’t wait to try this. You make it look so easy ⚡️

    Nihana on

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