Apartment living can be frustrating for those of us trying to craft a unique style out of a space that we can’t alter. You’re essentially trying to find ways to add color, texture and visual interest without changing any of the physical structure of your space or needing to repaint later. You can’t paint or alter any existing surfaces, but you can choose and alter the portable surfaces you bring with you. Here are some ideas:
Windows are natural frames that break up the monotony of apartment walls, and if you have a lot of them, you can make up for your pad’s lack of color by picking some vibrant curtains. They certainly look more appealing than most blinds and shutters. Just take care not to put too many holes in the wall when mounting your curtain rod.
Floor and Wall Coverings
An area rug may be the single best way to define an otherwise bland area, not to mention cover up an unappealing floor. With white walls and floors, you might want to punch it up with some bold colors that add dimension to the space and act as the foundation for the rest of your decor. More information here.
We all know the trick of using mirrors to make a tiny apartment space feel larger, but they also help create visual focus on an otherwise bare wall. If the mirror frames are not adding enough, try spray-painting them a coordinating color with other elements in your décor, like throw pillows or lampshades.
Art or photography is the easy way to add color and add some visual focus to a wall, too. A single piece of art can become the focal point of the room, one which you can use to choose colors and even shapes for the rest of your style elements.
One thing I’d like to add here is the idea of wall decals. They’re not right for everybody, and they certainly won’t work easily on all wall surfaces, but properly applied decals are simple to remove, and they instantly create a piece of wall art that you would otherwise need paint to achieve.
If walls can’t be altered to act as the canvas for the rest of your décor, you have to choose furniture that brings color in and focuses the space. That means having a couch or chair that is a bit bolder or more vibrant than you might otherwise consider. If your current furniture is a bit drab, bright throw pillows and blankets can add splashes of color.
Your large pieces, like couches, bookshelves and desks, can be foundational pieces around which to add smaller furniture with colors that accentuate the main piece. Ottomans, floor pillows and baskets can fill empty floor space that could otherwise look bare. I recommend that you use bright, but not overbearing hues for the big pieces, with punchier, bold colors for the smaller furniture elements.
Large furniture can also be a surface for more color or patterns that add texture. Wallpaper the back of an old bookshelf or entertainment center. Get ambitious and decoupage a table, or add some mirrors to cabinet doors. Look for places where you can add visual appeal to pieces that don’t quite hold their own.
One of my biggest complaints about apartment living is the lack of natural and artificial light. Some areas don’t even include built-in light fixtures, which means you’ll have to rely on floor and table lamps. If they are not quite interesting enough, you can always repaint them and add stylish lamp shades to help you add some color and illuminate the space at the same time.
Even with furniture, a space can seem incomplete. That’s when you know it’s time to accessorize.
Carefully orchestrated table-settings, even for just a coffee table, give any room an organized, lived in feel that doesn’t appear cluttered. Choosing colorful or shapely elements for your shelves and side-tables can also fill up a space with eye-catching spots. Vases with flowers, rocks, seashells — anything that adds color or texture.
Take care not to over-clutter a space with accessories. There’s no definite formula to follow, here; just keep adding elements that work together until the space feels full, but not too full.
These are just a few ideas; I’m sure you have some more. So, what have you done to bring some color and style to spaces that you can’t remodel?
Author bio: When Vanessa isn’t hunting for seashells to fill vases and mason jars, she’s writing for
HomeFashionCentral.com on home décor, remodeling, and DIY subjects.