before and after

Before and After: Bathroom Makeover Using Tape

by Amy Azzarito

As much as I love huge elaborate makeovers, I’m really a fan of those little things you can do in an afternoon that make your home seem brighter. Lizabeth Rogers was in love with x-decals from Urban Walls and decided to take matters in her own hands, literally, and make her own. I also love the fact that this isn’t the perfect DIY, Lizabeth suggests that we learn from her, and use washi tape instead of electrical tape. But sometimes, you just need to use what you have at the moment you’re ready to make a change. Thanks, Lisabeth!   –Amy


  • metal ruler
  • one roll of washi tape, color of your choice (From Lizabeth:  I used electrical tape. According to some people, this is a big no-no. But, I couldn’t get my hands on black washi tape, and I live in a bungalow, so I do what I want. You do it the right way, though. With washi tape.)
  • scissors

See the full how-to after the jump!


Image above, from Lisabeth: After doing my best to make a straight cut across the tape, I unwound it along the edge of the ruler from the 2.5″ mark to just beyond the ruler’s end. Using the end as a guide, I again did my best to cut straight across. You’ll notice there’s extra space before the first hashmarks on the ruler–my plus signs are actually longer than 2.5″, and I was fine with that. Plan the length of your decals according to your vision.

Image above, from Lisabeth: Repeat the process directly across from the first piece of tape, on the other side of the ruler. Electrical tape has a tendency to bend and warp as your using it, another reason you should use washi tape. And really, if you’re set on perfection, consider that you get what you pay for when you buy the decals from the folks who make ‘em for real.

Image above, from Lisabeth:  Peel the second piece of tape off, eye ball where the midpoints overlap, and place. Tada!

Image above, from Lisabeth:  Temporarily stick your new decal elsewhere while you make a few gazillion more. That way, you can go to work later, placing them all at once.




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  • This is awesome. It’s also just nice to know someone else has rough walls, a small bathroom mirror and an off-centered light. I was beginning to feel like I was the only one.

  • I used to do similar things in my dorm rooms and rentals over the years! It’s such a relief to be able to claim your own space. I had the most fun with contact paper and a circle cutter. Polka dots EVERYWHERE!!! :)

  • haha…”I live in a bungalow, so I do what I want.” I recently purchased a home that we are in the middle of gutting one floor at a time. We do these type of fun experiments on a whim, knowing full well that they aren’t ‘serious’ and will be demolished later. For instance, the ugly pink kitchen cabinets have a ridiculous black chevron pattern just because we were bored. It’s nice to be a bit carefree.

  • When I was in college (pre-washi tape years, or at least I’d never heard of it), I made a big construction paper mosaic to decorate my apartment wall, using tape to adhere the pieces. Viva la temporary facelift! So good to have fun with your living space :)

  • p.s. maybe using an exacto blade instead of scissors would give more control over the tape end finish, and overall measurement of each piece? Just a thought.

  • Lisabeth love the rough wall and the fact that you have kept things basic and still managed a great makeover. Happy to know that there are others who like things that get done in a snap!

    • caridad

      this is a great option for renters because you can simply remove it (carefully, of course, to avoid damaging paint) if you’re not allowed to paint your walls.


  • Ok for real, design blogs need to STOP promoting this as acceptable or recommended. Seriously people, stop using electrical tape for decorating. It is meant to be incredibly sticky and is not made to come off cleanly. Have you ever unwound an old taped electrical junction? I have, it’s a mess afterward. This looks ok (from a distance) now, but after months of steamy showers that wall will be trashed. She will try to take it off and it will leave black goo behind. TERRIBLE IDEA!

  • ^^I think it looks rad! Makes this bathroom look kinda goth (in a really good way). Put on some Ministry and take a bubble bath!

    “Gaffer’s tape” would be a good (and cheap) alternative to electrical tape too. It’s primarily used in photography/film sets.. it’s strong, easy to remove, leaves no residue.. and is fabric-based. (it’ll have a matte look)

  • Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Rose and Sujatha, I’m glad you can relate to a home that’s a little rough around the edges. Incentive to get creative!

    Jess, though I can appreciate your concern, I’ve been candid in expressing that washi tape—not electrical tape—is the way to go.

    Maeve, while everyone’s walls are different, in my case, the decals seem to be holding up. Stick to washi tape (no pun intended?), and if it doesn’t work out, you can always remove it.

  • Where is that little shelf from, with the tiny dinosaur on it? I have been looking for a small white shelf about that size.

  • This is very cool! How chic, creative and economical! Must forward to others I know would love to try it! So glad to see it here! Thanks for sharing your good tips, too!