Apartment Life: How to Work With Something You Can't Change
Ahhh apartment living...how fondly I remember those days. Renters enjoy not having the burden of a mortgage. They also have the freedom of being able to relocate quickly. But for many, apartment living has one small drawback: The need to work around undesirable decor or design choices that cannot be changed. One of those things is paint color.
Let's be honest, some landlords do a horrible job of choosing paint colors. Why they don't just stick to neutral beige and gray paints is a mystery to me. Perhaps some view their rental property as a place to test out paint colors they're too afraid to put into their personal homes. Or maybe the paint color chosen was what was on sale at the time. Whatever the reason, this presents a sure decorating dilemma for renters.
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If you've found yourself in this most unfortunate of circumstances, what are some ways you can work around it? Visual references always make it easier for me to explain things. So, after a bit of searching, I was able to locate a pretty realistic example.
The photo below was taken by a renter in Georgia who was having difficulty getting her decor to work with her new apartment.
She specifically wanted to know how to get her existing pieces to work with the wall paint. Here are a few principles to make it work.
How to Work Around Your Landlord's Paint Job
1. When In Rome...
Do as the Romans. That is unless you want to stick out like a sore thumb. Having said that, one of the best ways to disguise a paint color you don't like is to blend in with it as best as you can. Doing the opposite of that will only attract more attention to the wall color. Ignoring the existing paint color will also downgrade your furnishings making them appear cheap, even if they aren't.
How to do it:
- Choose room accessories in similar or complimentary colors. Instead of trying to match the wall color exactly, choose a lighter or darker shade of the same color.
- nce you've decided on a shade you like, purchase accessories and disperse them in at least three places around the room. This will anchor the room and make it look cohesive.
ow that we've considered our first tip, what items would you remove from the photo above? Also, what items do you think might compliment the 80's peach painted walls? Here are a few items this renter could consider.
2. Compliment the Paint with Art
Keep in mind that our goal is to draw attention away from the color on the wall. So when shopping for artwork choose pieces that will compliment almost ANY color scheme. This is an important tip for renters who relocate often.
How to do it:
- Black and white prints, whether they be photographs, sketches, or abstract drawings will work with any wall color imaginable.
- Go for tyography art. Print out your favorite saying in large black print and frame it.
- Use an app to turn a memorable photo into black and white. Send it to the nearest printer to enlarge and print it. Then frame it.
- Channel your inner artist by purchasing a canvas, some black acrylic paint to create your own abstract art.
Not convinced this will work? Test it out. The good news is that black and white artwork doesn't have to cost a fortune.
3. Invest in a Killer Rug
As apartment living goes, ugly floors often follow bad wall paint colors. The renter above was fortunate to have found a place with pretty good wood laminate flooring. However, an awesome rug in the right size can do wonders to enhance a room.
How to Do It:
- A renter who is constantly on the move might want to purchase a 5'x7' rug. Why? This size will fit into most apartments, and can be floated over a larger, less expensive rug later if needed.
These are my three main apartment decorating principles in mind. Would you like to see how I would put them into practice?
Notice how all the accessories draw your eye away from the color of the wall? The addition of a few plants and books, along with an appropriately sized, and placed coffee table, makes everything come together beautifully. Now, it looks as if the paint color was chosen specifically for the renter.
- Can you see how these principles might work in just about any apartment?
- Renters, what other decor or placement challenges do you face?
I look forward to reading your comments below.
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