How to Add Color to an Apartment You Can’t Paint

No one likes beige, boring walls. Yet most apartments come with exactly those kinds of colors. Your first instinct? To paint the walls, brighten the space and make it yours.

[ Related: Apartment Decorating Ideas That Won’t Violate Your Lease ]

However, sometimes leasing rules dictate that you can’t alter your living space—unless you want to pay a hefty fee. And if you’re not planning on staying in one place for very long, it might not be an option to break out the paint swatches.

Color is an essential part of elevating your apartment from a place to live to a home. If the rules state that you can’t paint, these tips will help you bring color back into your apartment life with more than your furniture:

  1. Pillows Add Comfort and Color
Throw Pillows

Throw pillows add a burst of color.

Pillows are a fantastic way to add bold splashes of color without committing to something permanent or taking the effort to hang something on the walls. It’s the easiest way to tie a room together by adding complementary colors or to switch decorating with the seasons.

The smaller the apartment, the larger the impact any given color choice makes. If you’re not sure about a bold hue, pillows are a great way to experiment, too.


  1. Tell Your Story On the Walls
Vintage Map

Credit: Vintage Map c. 1879 by lacasavictoria

Peppering your walls with artistic achievements and memories adds color to an otherwise boring room. Art doesn’t have to be expensive to be colorful or beautiful; with the rise of paint bars and other DIY fixes, anyone can add their creative touch to a room.

[ Search: Find Apartments for Rent in Herndon ]

Framing maps, vintage travel posters, or postcards can also make something budget-friendly into something beautiful—and can remind you of the places you like to visit.

Better yet, showcase yourself or your family! Printing out photos from pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens can cost as little as 12 cents a print. Turn your Facebook and Instagram photos into something worth hanging on the wall with new services like CanvasPop or Social Print Studio.


  1. Bold Wall Patterns With Tapestries
Vibrant Wall Tapestries

Credit: multimate_collection on instagram

Another way to get a bold splash of color quickly—without damaging the walls—is through a tapestry. This can be something traditional or quirky, depending on your design sensibility.

If you don’t find a tapestry in the right dimensions, look at sarongs at your local surf shop—you’ll never know the patterns you might find! Sites like Etsy allow you to find artists from all over the world and create custom prints that you love the most.


  1. Bring The Outside In
Bouquet of Flowers

Credit: Unsplash on pixabay

The most natural way to bring color into your home? Plants, flowers, gardens, and terrariums all add a splash of color without being too overbearing. There are other benefits from having natural elements, too. Plants are natural air filters that also add humidity and oxygen back into your living environment, so you can breathe deeper and easier.

[ Related: Smart Tips for Brightening Up a Dark Room ]

Whatever you choose, apartment decoration reflects who you are. Brighten up your living space and you’ll find yourself happier (and maybe healthier, too)!

Find your next apartment in the area with Apartment Showcase.


Kayla Lewkowicz

Kayla Lewkowicz

Kayla Lewkowicz hails from the small town of Hopkinton, MA, home of the Boston Marathon. A digital marketer by day and freelance writer by night, she's a passionate storyteller, reader, hiker, swimmer, runner, and eater. Like what she has to say? Subscribe to her blog or say hello on Twitter @kllewkow.

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