Wall stickers: Vinyl demands

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

More striking than paint, less permanent than wallpaper, wall graphics offer pattern for commitment phobes. Clare Dwyer Hogg gets stuck in

About a year ago, as the birth of my daughter loomed, my husband and I thought we were getting prepared by sticking a vinyl wall sticker montage on the study that was to become her nursery. He stood on a chair with wheels; I sat and watched him being artistic with little birds and strips of red vinyl that were made to look like telephone wires. Some flew overhead, others were resting on the wires, a few were flying away from the cat he smoothed on to the wall nearby.

It didn't prepare us for anything other than having a nice thing to look at for a brief moment at bedtime, when we're tiptoeing past the rubble of our previous life (we didn't quite get around to moving the desk and all the papers – Elle Deco our nursery is not), but it was an extremely effective way of changing the tenor of a room. One minute: study; next minute (shut one eye so you can't see the desk): child's bedroom. It's so much less daunting than painting or wallpapering, though there's the scary bit of sticking things on the wall at the correct angle.

I bought the wall sticker collection, by a company called Blik, in a tiny independent shop on Columbia Road, Bethnal Green, London, best known for a trendy flower market. This reference is not to underline how hip the shopping choice was – although, yes, it was quite hip – as much as to show that, two years ago, that's where you'd find such things. Now there's a proliferation of shops and websites selling wall stickers, and it's becoming less niche, more the norm. Ikea sell them: it must be a trend. Blik (whatisblik.com), it turns out, is something of a forerunner in the field – in the business for eight years, it is its sole concern, and as a result Blik is a good place to start shopping. It describes what is sells as "Wall Graphics for the Commitment Phobic": many of its designs are removable. When Blik began, there was little alternative to wallpapering or painting. Today, it boasts hundreds of designs by a collection of guest designers, from Atari (if you would like little digital space invaders dotted around the room) to Threadless, the people who designed my cat on a wire montage ( "Ambition Killed The Cat", suggesting something more sinister than it looks in real life), with multiple styles and colours in between. It's an American site, but with a comprehensive list of UK stockists. And despite the many competing designs, it doesn't feel like they're clamouring too much for attention; search by colour or theme, and feel organised, not overwhelmed.

If you find too much choice a tyranny, online shop Bodie and Fou has a bijou but well-chosen collection. The range is quite whimsical (the Dandelion and Cow Parsley sticker, with oversized wild flowers waving in the wind, is typical) but it goes a step further with the Big Ben Wall Clock. A replica of the Westminster icon, it stands (or sticks) 1.5 metres high, and comes with a real clock face, black metal hands and "silent sweep" working Quartz movement. At £85, it's more expensive than an average wall sticker (they are usually around £40), but you get plenty for your money. But don't let this give you the impression that the phenomenon is mainly for children. Although the stickers do lend themselves well to children's rooms, thanks to their use of block colour and the suggestion of fun – the whiff of which is usually banished in adult-zones – they're not just for the miniature among us. More sober environments, particularly minimalist-leaning living spaces, can benefit from a glimpse of colour or pattern (that can, remember, be easily removed once you tire of it).

Ease is key. Instead of wallpapering with dubious skills, or employing someone with better skills but a dubious sense of how much it should cost, it's a speedy way to make a room look more thought-out. And it can still be fun. For instance, if space is something you need to conserve, a coat stand is a luxury – unless you buy the Coat Tree sticker from online store Skandivis. A simple tree shape that forms around coat hooks on the wall, it's fun but not (that) silly, and looks much more beautiful than plain hooks.

Before we get carried away, it's worth noting that there's always the slight danger with a DIY stickathon that you'll end up transforming your home à la Changing Rooms and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, circa 1997. Temporary but nasty design surprises – aquariums made from MDF, crinkly blue polythene and paper fish – are not the goal; be judicious in your choices, as "visual jokes" seem to wear thin more quickly than style. If amusement and utilitarianism collide, however, you're in for a treat. Rockett St George, an online design shop, stocks a clever calendar sticker (£69.95), with letters spelling "This month ... " and 35 black squares which you arrange in a box and write on with chalk. When words fit better than images, they also stock wall text stickers (£36); if you want something poignant to decorate a corner, the lettering "Life is Beautiful" isn't a bad attempt.

For those reluctant to let go of wallpaper completely, you could turn to the "cut-out kits" by designer Deborah Bowness. She's known as the wallpaper designer to go to if you want beautiful prints with unexpected themes – bookshelves and lamps, instead of more traditional patterns – and now she's doing cut-outs in the same vein. Her range (which should be stuck with wallpaper paste) includes a "Cagey Birds" pack (a cage with three feathered friends) for £37, clock faces for £26, and the "Mere Chandelier" for £45. Her retail outlet is Caravan (caravanstyle.com). They are beautifully illustrated but, again, one is probably enough per room if you don't want your walls to look like a scrapbook (although, saying that, scrapbooking was inspiration enough for Cecil Beaton).

Let's not take ourselves too seriously. Vinyl wall stickers are to the interior world what Velcro is to the sewing community. Technically, they're cheating, but in practice they're a very creative way of getting what you want, really quickly.

Where to buy

Bodie and Fou: bodieandfou.com

Caravan: caravanstyle.com

Blik: whatisblik.com

Not on the High Street:notonthehighstreet.com

Skandivis: Skandivis.co.uk

Rockett St George:rocketstgeorge.co.uk

IKEA: ikea.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London