Renting a room. The walls are pink. I'm a dude. What I cover it with?
December 18, 2013 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Is there any cheap neutral-colored wallpaper that I could use that's temporary? Or anything else that I can cover it with that I can take down later? I just can't do a pink room, man.

Last but not least, my budget is somewhere around $300. Maybe can push that a bit. But I'll only be staying here four months.
posted by suburbs to Home & Garden (28 answers total)
Temporary wallpaper is indeed a thing. I don't think it's all that cheap, though. You can also use liquid starch to stick fabric to walls, but for an entire room I'm not sure if it would work.

Could you instead just put up a bunch of posters with hyper-manly things like sports cars and semi-nude women? Because that would be hilarious.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:21 PM on December 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

Even if you're only staying four months, it might be in the landlord's best interest long-term to have a more neutral room. If you offer to paint it yourself, or even just do the labor if they pony up for the supplies, it might be a good thing. Worst that could happen is that they say no.

(Note: My parents had a tenant who painted my pink ex-bedroom light blue.)

Failing that, I am told that you can use spray starch or something to put fabric up on the walls in a way that makes it easy to take down.

You could also use a lot of very small tacks in a very unobtrusive place up near the ceiling to hang something.
posted by Madamina at 12:21 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might consider just getting a couple of direct-able lamps (desk lamps or floor lamps with multiple snake-able fixtures) and put either very warm or actual yellow bulbs in them. That should give you more or less an orangey tone.

Otherwise you can use handi-tak and very lightweight cheap fabric. Even a sheer synthetic fabric (for sheer curtains) in an ivory or eggshell would probably give you some relief.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2013

Best answer: Are all of the walls pink, or are there simply 1-2 accent walls that are pink?

If only a couple of the walls are pink and you're a fan of posters (vintage or otherwise), you could cover the walls in your favorite posters using removable adhesive strips. You could also cover the wall with large or multiple removable decals (ie: Blikart).

If all of the walls are pink, you could use fabric pinned in the corners.

I would avoid wallpaper since it requires paste to adhere to the wall and is not easily removed.
posted by stubbehtail at 12:23 PM on December 18, 2013

For that money, you could buy a gallon of paint of your choice, painting tools, and a gallon of the pink to change it back and still have a lot left over. Asking permission first is probably a good idea. They may not even want it returned to pink!
posted by cecic at 12:24 PM on December 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

Maybe some cheap Indian bedspreads? Many of them have rose and reddish tones that could play off the wall color, without looking all dainty 'n' foofy.
posted by ROTFL at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Jeez, painting it would cost you under a $100.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:26 PM on December 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Options:

1) Hang large tapestries or sheets of a neutral color/pattern.
2) Cover walls posters/art (all poster is a good place to start for those.
3) Paint the room yourself - with explicit permission from the landlord.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:28 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

since it sounds like you're not allowed to paint it, I expect, I'd experiment with colored bulbs or just ignore it.

Another thought is to tack up bulletin board paper. Do a search on "fadeless art paper" and you should get some long wide rolls within your budget.
posted by tilde at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2013

Best answer: You can put some Tom of Finland prints up to cover the walls?
posted by Napierzaza at 12:33 PM on December 18, 2013 [19 favorites]

One thing you could do is thumbtack up brown paper.

If painting isn't possible.

At least it's cheap and neutral.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:38 PM on December 18, 2013

If it makes things any easier: as late as the 1920s pink was a boy's colour. So if you can't fix it you can remind yourself that your association of pink as super-girly is not what the men who went to war in WW1, and probably not the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy more than 20 years later, would have grown up with as girly colours.

But to your question. Buy some cool black decals. The pink will contrast brilliantly and just become background. Buy a few decals. Tell a story. Make a tableau.

What I'm saying is: rather than physically covering it, train your brain to treat it as something else.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:44 PM on December 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

Four months? Unless you are planning to entertain a lot and feel your reputation is at stake (and really, your friends are better than that I hope) why spend any money for four months?

If you really can't handle it and the walls are small enough, buy cheap king size flat sheets or bedspreads in your chosen color/pattern, nail them to the wall near the top, like a tapestry, and go with that. If you're careful, you'll end up with some extra sheets and blankets, which are always handy for moving and for guests.

But honestly, I'd just save your money and put up with a little pink. You'll live.
posted by emjaybee at 12:45 PM on December 18, 2013 [6 favorites]

Wallpops is running a holiday sale.

But echoing emjaybee, for four short months I'd rather hang onto the $300, or spend it on beer. My cousin spent YEARS in a pink bedroom and he's practically a lumberjack.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:03 PM on December 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I found some really inexpensive wallpaper at a thrift store, and here's my trick.
I bought packs of bulletin board clear pins and pinned up the wallpaper on the top and down the sides. I spaced them fairly far apart. The holes were so tiny after I took it down to move, so no problem there. I was able to use it 2x more when I moved on!
posted by donaken at 1:27 PM on December 18, 2013

Nthing ask the landlord whether you can paint it. I spent a year in a cheap shoddy place where the bedroom was painted dark red. The problem was not really aesthetics: with that colour the room was darker than Dracula's tomb. Landlord was very happy to pay for inoffensive-coloured paint and have me (and some helpful friends) provide the labour. If you pay for the paint your chances of landlord approval increase even further.

Personally though for four months I'd just suck it up. Or wear yellow-tinted glasses, which should turn the pink into a nice shade of terracotta.
posted by pont at 1:33 PM on December 18, 2013

If you wear tinted sunglasses in your bedroom, you could change the color and spend less than a hundred dollars, let alone three hundred.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:44 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Unless you are aware of a compelling reason why the landlord would want to keep the room pink, by all means, ask if you can paint. Promise to do a good, careful job and use good paint. You will likely be doing them a favor.

Otherwise, I have covered walls temporarily with flat sheets and a staple gun.
posted by sageleaf at 1:55 PM on December 18, 2013

Best answer: Spend no money and get used to it, because it's just a color.

If you try temp wallpaper be careful, because I've seen people ruin underlying paint/paper with it in the past.
posted by stoneandstar at 2:49 PM on December 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. I can't paint the room since I'm subletting it from someone else who owns the entire apartment, and that's just a bunch of layers to go through.

The best option I'm thinking of at the moment is doing cloth over the walls or something like that. Those that mentioned that, do you have any good pictures of how this would look? I have the feeling that if I did it with no guidance (like an example), it'd end up looking awful.

As for wallpaper: can't use permanent stuff, and the temporary stuff seems to also potentially stain and is really expensive.

I'll continue updating this with thoughts. Thanks!
posted by suburbs at 2:59 PM on December 18, 2013

I used to do the "Indian bedspread drape" all the time. Gave a nice warm bohemian vibe to a whole lot of sterile temporary living quarters. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of what it looked like... but maybe this Pinterest photo can give you an idea.

Though I must agree that for maximal pink-neutralizing, testosterone-pumping hypermasculinity, nothing can beat a wall of Tom of Finlands.

I'm not sure exactly why pink Cannot Be, but if it's because "the guys" will mock you, maybe you could just find less insecure friends get a bunch of NFL/NBA action shots, Photoshop everyone's uniform to pink, and put huge blowups on the walls.
posted by ROTFL at 4:25 PM on December 18, 2013

I've covered walls with fabric. I used a staple gun and picked a pattern that somewhat hid the staples.

The first fabric column started at a corner, and rather than start at the top for the next, I temporarily tacked the second one over top the previous (face sides together) and stapled along the one long selvage. Then I flipped the free fabric into proper place and tacked the top. Next, staple the far edge in place, repeat. This makes an invisible seam. Cover the top and bottom with decorative trim. Or cover with wood.

Be sure and pick something that doesn't have an obvious pattern repeat or require matching at the seam.

For bonus appearance, spray starch and iron the fabric once complete.

Don't use material with stretch; cotton or linen work nicely.

It's a PITA and I wouldn't do it again unless really necessary. (It collects dust more than normal and is difficult to clean. If you select a slick fabric, that will help.
posted by mightshould at 4:52 PM on December 18, 2013

Have you checked IKEA for cheap(ish) curtains and curtain wire mounted flat against the wall?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:58 PM on December 18, 2013

If you're concerned about the pink being too girly, here are some fairly masculine/neutral rooms with a lot of pink:
A personal favourite
Even my pink hating boyfriend would live here
I think if you mix it with chocolate or deep blue accessories it could look fantastic.
posted by Wantok at 5:18 PM on December 18, 2013

How about contact paper? I used it to cover a couple of walls in my dorm room way back when. Maybe not super cheap but it didn't stain in my experience, and looked pretty good.
posted by banwa at 5:45 PM on December 18, 2013

Lower the lighting and you won't see the color. Use halogen lamps if you need light for work.
posted by bad grammar at 8:09 PM on December 18, 2013

I drove a pink car for more than a year (until it was smashed in an accident) because I could buy it for cheaper than an equivalent car of a 'normal' color. It didn't make my balls fall off, and if anyone gave me shit I just wrote it off as their own immaturity. Seriously, it's just a color; "light red". You will survive four months in a pink room with your manhood intact.
posted by moorooka at 12:23 AM on December 19, 2013

I would check with the landlord before using a staple gun. I moved into a place once where the previous tenant had used one, and it really made a mess. I ended up having to spackle and paint.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:01 AM on December 19, 2013

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