One of the biggest challenges of apartment living is trying to decorate your space without breaking any of the rules outlined in your lease agreement. You might already be perusing your favorite DIY sites for inspiration, but there’s a chance that your landlord will be less than thrilled by your sudden urge to redo your space. A lot of landlords forbid their tenants from making big changes to a unit, such as painting its walls, front door, or lighting fixtures. These restrictions can make it hard to get your space feeling like it’s truly your own, but with a little creativity, you’ll be able to vivify those white walls without violating your lease. Here are a few ideas for adding some life to your apartment without ever having to lift a paintbrush:
Art, Art, and More Art
When trying to make your walls more colorful, the most obvious first step is to invest in a ton of artwork. Gallery walls are all the rage right now, and there’s really no limit to how much art a person can have in their home. Put your artwork in brightly-colored, matching frames to create a vibrant display. Choose pieces that will make your space look livelier and more cheerful — think abstract art, classroom-style maps, and vintage advertisements. The more colorful the art, the better!
Put Some Washi On It
Washi tape is a fun and affordable decorating material that’s super easy to take down, which is ideal for apartment living. Punch up a bathroom by adding some strips of Washi tape to the walls, or add polka dots to an accent wall in your living room for a fun flash of color that will undoubtedly make a great Instagram photo background. The pattern and color combinations you can create with this tape are really only limited by your imagination. Don’t like a particular one you’ve made? Washi tape makes starting from scratch the easiest thing in the world.
Add Temporary Wallpaper
With the number of renters on the rise, companies are starting to offer more renter-friendly decorating materials like temporary wallpaper. Though it requires bigger financial and time commitments than buying art or using Washi tape, temporary wallpaper is guaranteed to transform your space. Urban Outfitters and Bed Bath & Beyond have jumped on this trend and are currently offering dozens of cool, contemporary prints. Temporary wallpaper won’t damage or leave any sticky residue on your walls and can easily be applied to smooth surfaces. If you have textured walls, you may want to start by trying a small sample out before you decide to cover an entire room or hallway.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Tapestry
Though tapestries were once seen as outdated and even a little hokey, they’re making a comeback in a big way. Give your apartment a bohemian vibe by hanging an oversized tapestry from a focal wall. You can find beautiful and unique tapestries and macramé wall hangings on sites like Etsy, or try your local antique store for some truly vintage pieces. The best part is that tapestries are pretty lightweight, so you’ll never need to make large holes in your wall to support them.
Add Color with Curtains
Luckily, colorful and inexpensive curtains are not in short supply nowadays. You’d be amazed at how much a little bit of color from window treatments can transform white walls. Don’t be afraid to experiment with pattern mixing or exceptionally bold colors. After all, your goal is to brighten up the place!
Let the Furniture Do the Work
One of the best ways an apartment dweller can add color and style to their home is by making their furniture the center of attention. Painted walls might have prevented you from buying the to-die-for chair you saw at the flea market because you would’ve been afraid it was going to clash with your color scheme. Bright and colorful furniture will automatically draw people’s eyes away from your home’s white, hospital-like walls. Go for bold jewel tones in your living room or look for a couch in that popular shade of millennial pink.
Embrace the White Walls
Just because you have white walls doesn’t mean your home has to look like a sterile environment. White walls are clean, bright, and complement almost any kind of furniture. Lean into them and stick with a neutral theme throughout your apartment for a zen, almost spa-like atmosphere. Scatter a few unexpected splashes of color throughout your home in the form of beautiful sofa throws and pillows.