Budget friendly decoration of large wall with pictures

Author: Pieter De Pauw

before vs after
before vs after

A couple of months ago, we moved to Amsterdam and managed to find a big apartment with a long private entryway. This huge area could one day become our child’s giant indoors playground, or could be used for any hobby requiring some space (like a pool table…).

This entryway, however, has a very cold and industrial look, and we decided to restyle it.  Only issue: we rent the apartment and plan to stay here for just a couple of years, so only low-cost  investments were allowed.

We thought it would be wonderful to have life-size pictures telling the stories of our holidays,  so we started looking  into decorating the place using canvases, posters or stickers, but the costs for this easily crossed the 1000 Eur milestone. Since we were facing the challenge of covering 40m2 of walls,  6 canvases of 100*150cm would only cover 9m2  and cost 150 EUR each.  On top , the whole thing would start to look cluttered.

So, we started looking around and exploring other options, and came across two cheaper solutions:

- Banners, typcially used to announce in the street

example banner
example banner

- Plastic signpost boards, typcially used by real estate agencies or on construction sites

example signpost board
example signpost board

A blockout banner (=blocking light from the back) of 5m * 2.2m, printed in high quality full color 360 dpi, costs 180 Eur.  The Signpost boards of 1.2m * 1.6m, printed in high quality full color 360dpi, cost 38 Eur per board. 1 Huge banner and 6 big signpost boards costed us 450 Eur and would reach a coverage of more than 50% of the wallspace.

Here’s how to make most of these cheap solutions.

1. The banner

Hanging the printer banner onto the wall requires a bit of DIY skills: the first I had to do, was to build a frame.  I choose wood as this is cheaper than e.g. aluminum and lighter than e.g. metal, but still strong enough to keep up a banner of 15kg (!!).

Now, given the top of the frame would have to be hung to the wall, it needed to be sufficiently rigid.  My engineering background was useful to design it. The biggest challenge was to get the angles straight (90 degrees), but this is where the big signpost boards helped out. 

Measure the frame carefully, taking into account that you need to attach the banner to the backside of the frame!

frame for banner
frame for banner

Next, I had to attach the banner to the frame, and used brackets for this.  Put the banner with the printed side onto the floor, and avoid by all means to step on it or to scratch it over the floor as this could damage the banner.   Position the frame carefully, so the sides are parallel with the sides of the banner.

To attach the banner, you start with the longest sides first (in this case e.g. the top side), always from the center to the sides. Next, you do the other side while stretching the banner as much as possible (the more you stretch, the less wrinkles you will get), again starting from the center and going to the sides.  As last and final step, you can easily do the 2 sides and hang the banner.

Attach banner to frame
Attach banner to frame
Attach banner to frame
Attach banner to frame
Result: banner on the wall
Result: banner on the wall

2. The Signpost bord

Those boards are very thin (3.5mm) and thus very classy when you hang them on a wall (more classy than an outdated canvas on a frame). On top, as they’re made out of plastic, they are very light which makes it easy to find a solution to hang them to the wall.

printed plastic signpost board
printed plastic signpost board

The result was definitely rewarding. Our dull, cold entryway now really serves as a standalone room and instead of passing through quickly, now visitors hang around a bit longer, admiring the art on the walls.