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20 Top Alternatives to Paint for Your Interior Walls

A collage of living rooms with different wall design.

Your interior walls are your canvas. They’re an opportunity to add accents, interest, color, texture, storage, interest and beauty to your home’s interior.

Painting your walls is the obvious choice. It’s reasonably inexpensive, quickly done, maintenance free and you have many options. You can’t go wrong with white walls, for instance.

However, if you’re looking for a paint alternative, consider the 20 options below.

Related: Gabion Wall and Fence Ideas | Types of Wall Art | Half-Wall Decorating Trends


Here’s an overview graphic listing out all wall paint alternatives for interior room walls.

20 Paint Alternatives for Walls

1. Wallpaper

Living room with wallpaper

This is an obvious option. For many years, wallpaper has been used by us at one point or another but more recently, many manufacturers are making a simple peel-off and stick-on wallpaper.

In the last several years, dozens of companies have designed and made their own removable wallpapers, some of which are environmentally friendly by being made from recycled materials.

We do not have a limited choice either. There are thousands of different designs out there and for those of us who have a little more selective preference, some companies will print out a custom designed print. This option is one of the best alternatives to paint, especially for us renters out there.


  • Easy to install and remove
  • Does not damage walls or paint
  • Comes in many colors and designs


  • Custom designs can be costly
  • Easily peels off when rubbed against something

Approximate cost: To cover a single wall with a simple pattern could cost as little as 20 dollars, depending on the size and brand. The more unique and intricate designs can cost significantly more.

2. Drapes or Curtains

Curtains covering entire wallAnother one of the popular paint alternatives is to wall-length curtains or drapes on the wall. Not only does it distract from the unsightly paint on the walls, but it also makes it seem like the room is larger than what it really is.

Thousands of curtain styles, lengths, and different fabrics are available online, making it easier for us than going to a store that ends up not having the perfect one.


  • Can hide stained or damaged walls
  • Adds decoration and complements the room


  • Doe not cover the entire wall
  • Curtain rods and/or other mounting pieces might need to be bought

Approximate cost: The overall cost can vary depending on two factors: the size of the curtains and how many it will take to cover the selected area. Most large curtains are about 9 feet by 9 feet and cost about 40 dollars to 100 dollars. It can also cost extra depending on the color, fabric, and/or the brand.

3. Tapestries

Tapestry on wall in Interior of Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire

Tapestries have been made and used to decorate homes for hundreds of years. Kings, nobles, and some churches were the only ones to own them back then but today anyone can buy one.

They do not just come in the religious styles anymore, but also in practically any design. Some shops online even make a custom tapestry. Some popular designs include landscapes, space, cars, maps, and the most popular is mandala.


  • One of the cheapest alternatives
  • Unique and/or custom designs


  • Will need mounting equipment (pins, nails, etc.)
  • Some tapestries are not machine washable

Approximate cost: The sizes can vary but a 4-foot by 5-foot tapestry is usually around 10 dollars to 20 dollars. One of the biggest sizes, 9-foot by 9-foot, is usually about 20 dollars to 40 dollars. These are for simple designs. More complex ones can cost more.

Here are some on Amazon

4. Decals

decals on wall in living room

Not just a wall sticker used for nurseries and playrooms, hundreds of thousands of designs are out there. Also called wall stickers or wall vinyl, wall decals have been around for many years but have become more popular with teens and adults.

Because they can be elegant, cute, artistic, funny, and many more styles, they are one of the great alternatives to paint.


  • Do not damage the walls
  • Easy application and removal


  • Color fades over time
  • Easily peel off the wall

Approximate cost: For the smaller designs, it can cost anywhere from 1 dollar to 10 dollars or more. The larger ones can cost between 10 dollars to 30 dollars or more.

Here are some on Amazon

5. Wall Tiles

Tile wall in living room

Wall tiles are a lot like wall decals except they are meant to cover most if not all of the wall. Their adhesive application, like the wall decals and temporary wallpaper, does not damage the paint or wall when removing it. The most popular designs are traditional tile, wood, brick, and backsplash.


  • Many add 3D effect
  • Simple and easy application and removal


  • Can be expensive for large walls or rooms
  • Smaller selection than other options

Approximate cost: To cover roughly 30 square feet, it can cost between 20 and 70 dollars. To cover roughly 60 square feet can cost between 50 and 120 dollars. The pricing can depend on the design, brand, and/or colors.

6. Arts

Art on the wall

Art has been around for thousands of years and today is used all over to decorate homes, offices, hotels and many more locations. When we think of art, most commonly we may think of paintings, but metal, wooden, and glass wall art, as well as wall clocks, are also popular paint alternatives.


  • Largest selection compared to other choices
  • Can find pieces everywhere


  • Can be costly
  • Needs extra care and maintenance

Approximate cost: The cost can vary drastically depending on the store, the material, and if it is a famous piece. A single cheap painting on Amazon can cost about 20 to 30 dollars, depending on the size.

See 39 Wall Art Ideas here.

7. Pictures

Wall loaded with photographs

Family photos are probably the most common way of decorating a wall, but many of us out there who either have large families or love to see memories of them everyday hang a few to a dozen or more on the wall.

Using several different size pictures and frames can create an art piece in itself on your wall. We can find them practically in any store.


  • Simple and easy decoration
  • Large selection of sizes, colors, and designs


  • May need to buy hanging supplies
  • Buying frames individually can be costly

Approximate cost: Buying a set of frames is usually cheaper than buying each frame individually. Sets of about 10 frames can cost between 20 and 50 dollars. The more expensive frames, depending on the size, can cost 50 to 100 dollars per frame.

8. Lights

Light wall

Twinkle Star 300 LED Window Curtain String Light for Wedding Party Home Garden Bedroom Outdoor Indoor Wall Decorations (Warm White)

String lights

Lights are not the first thing we think of when we think of an alternative to paint, but it is actually quite popular and there are many different styles out there.

Adding a light fixture that compliments the style of the room, adding LED strip lights that can add color and lighting, or add string lights that bring a 3D aspect and mood lighting can all distract or change the appearance of the paint.


  • Adds extra light
  • Brings style and mood to the room


  • Bulbs will require regular changing
  • Increases electric bill

Approximate cost: To light a single wall can cost between 15 and 60 dollars, depending on the type of light, the brand, and/or the color.

9. Tape

tape wall decoration

One of the newest trends in decoration, using wall tape or masking tape to create a design or symmetrical pattern is another choice. It is a little less common and typically used in kids rooms, but is a simple and creative option.

It does take more time than others, depending on the design of the project, but is a great choice for us artists out there who want to create our own decoration. Most colored rolls and special designs are easily found online or in craft shops, but most other stores only have the traditional blue.


  • Cheap
  • Does not damage walls or paint


  • Can be peeled off easily
  • Can take time to apply and remove

Approximate cost: Buying a multi-color roll set can cost about 20 to 40 dollars or more while single rolls can cost about 1 to 3 dollars or more.

Here are some on Amazon

10. Bamboo Blinds

Bamboo blinds for wall decor

Almost every one of us out there who have been to an Asian restaurant has seen bamboo blinds either hanging on the walls or on the windows.

Great for homes that are eastern styled, hanging these blinds on walls has the same effect as curtains: it makes the room appear larger and gives an extra 3D appearance. Most are natural wood colored, but some have unique and intricate designs, though these are generally more expensive and rare.


  • Large selection
  • Easily found online


  • Can be costly
  • Must be cleaned to maintain
  • May need hanging equipment

Approximate cost: Larger blinds can cost about 50 to 70 dollars or more while the smaller ones can cost about 30 to 60 or more. The price can also vary depending on the material, color, size, and brand.

11. Flowers or Garlands

Flower wall

Flower wall

84 Ft-12 Pack Artificial Ivy Leaf Garland Plants Vine Hanging Wedding Garland Fake Foliage Flowers Home Kitchen Garden Office Wedding Wall Decor

Garlands for a wall

Garlands, also known as a wreath of leaves and/or flowers, have been used for hundreds of years as accessories and decoration but we use artificial ones now.

They are not only used for home decoration but also for party and wedding decorations as well. We can find them not only online but also in crafts stores and some department stores, though the selections there are limited.


  • Thousands of different styles
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Add 3D effect to a room


  • Can be costly
  • Some are cheap and easily damaged
  • May not compliment the decor

Approximate cost: A single strand of garland can be as short as 5 feet or more and can cost about 10 to 20 dollars. Single strands can also be as long as 10 feet or more, though less common, and can cost about 15 to 30 feet.

For larger stands, there are multi-strand packs which can be a total of 300 feet or more and cost about 20 dollars or more. The price can vary depending on the design if there are flowers, the length, the material, and other similar factors.

12. Living Wall

Living room with plant wall (living wall).

Obviously not for everyone, but one way to add decor to a wall is to create what is called a living wall which is a wall with plants like the one seen above.


  • Looks fabulous
  • Is unique
  • Serene


  • Requires regular care
  • Not easy to create

13. Pallet Wall

Pallet wall

I love this type of wall because it’s inexpensive, looks great and relatively easy to install. This is a terrific accent wall idea.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to create
  • Looks great


  • You don’t want to do it for every wall – best as accent wall

14. Chalkboard Wall

Chalkboard wall in the kitchen

For kitchens, home offices and kid’s bedrooms, a chalkboard wall is a brilliant option. It looks great and offers a fun/useful function. It’s fairly popular these days and not expensive.

You can buy chalkboard contact paper here.

15. Stone

Stone wall in living room

Definitely not the cheapest option, but you have to admit that a full stone wall looks amazing. Anytime you incorporate natural materials into your home, it’s bound to look fabulous. I particularly like the type of stone featured above.

16. Brick

Brick wall in the kitchen

Brick is commonly used (retained) in converted warehouse condos giving it that industrial look which is popular. However, you can easily add a brick wall into your home whether using real brick or faux brick adhesion product or brick-design tile.

I’d opt for the brick-design tile because it has the texture of real brick but is less expensive, doesn’t take up as much space and is not as heavy.

17. Built-In Cabinetry

Living room wall floor-to-ceiling built-in cabinets

Building full-wall cabinetry is a commitment because it’s very, very expensive and relatively permanent. But, with the right design it can look amazing and offer a great deal of storage.

18. Bookshelves

Bookshelf wall in the living room

I’m surprise more homes don’t create full bookshelf walls. It’s an incredible look and not all that difficult to achieve. You just need bookshelves. A full wall of books looks incredible on its own. I love the look and hope to do it soon.

19. Aquarium Wall

Aquarium wall in an apartment

For something different, you can create an entire wall that’s an aquarium. This is the most expensive paint alternative, but it’s very, very cool and unique. It’s a lot of maintenance though so you need to be committed and fish lover.

20. Mural

Mural wall in living room

The mural concept is not one  I would opt for, but it can be cool whether a mural-sized photo or painting. I’m not surprised the concept isn’t more popular, but I think it could be a terrific wall idea to experiment with in a room like a home office.