I live in a one bedroom, 600 sq. ft. apartment. I am sick of living in what feels like an apartment, I want to put my mark on it. There are vertical blinds on the sliding glass door that leads to the balcony and that screams apartment. The vertical blinds are also in the bedroom on the one window. I obviously cannot paint but I would like to do something to make this place mine. I really like traditional style and slightly southern looking design. I just dont know how to incorporate that into an apartment that I cant do too much with. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Shauna Ann
Jun 09, 2011, 12:07 AM
Shauna Ann, Welcome to the message boards! I lived in apartments most of my adult life and I know how confining those white walls can start to feel. I'll throw out some ideas and maybe one of them will be something you can use or adapt to your situation.
First of all, you don't have to use the vertical blinds. You can take them down by carefully removing each vertical piece and then unscrewing the valance. Store all of it under your bed and put them back up when you move out. Now, you can hang any curtains you want and add big shots of color and pattern to your room. One idea is to use duvet covers as curtains with clip rings. Because duvet covers are double thickness and have extra fabric at one end, they can work really well as drapes. Also, duvet covers often have coordinating pillow shams that look great as sofa pillows, especially the Euro-sized ones.
Make inexpensive art! Almost anything is elevated to artwork status when you frame it. You can use scrapbook paper, pictures from calendars, favorite photographs, fabric scraps, etc. Use 3M Command products to hang items and you don't even have holes in the walls, so go crazy and cover your walls with made art.
Check out the Rose Bowl flea market for inexpensive decorative items. There's one at Veteran's Stadium, too, but it tends to be more limited. But, hey, check out both! You never know what you might stumble across that's perfect for your home. Haunt Target, Wal-mart and JCPenney during seasonal change-overs to find great bargains on housewares and linens.
If you have ugly carpet, consider making a large area rug by stitching together a bunch of small rugs.
Add lamps with dimmers and a few battery-operated candles. A home always feels more inviting when there's lots of layers of light, bright when you want to read or craft and dim when you want to relax or add romance.
Don't forget the power of paint! You may not be allowed to paint the walls, but you can paint furniture, lamps, vases, etc. and create great treasures from someone's cast-offs.
Most of all, make decorating your place a joyful adventure, rather than a dreaded chore.
Jun 09, 2011, 01:16 PM
Plants everywhere looks better when there are plants
Jun 09, 2011, 09:33 PM
Good advice so far and I completely agree on getting those vertical blinds out of sight.
One thing I'd like to add - something I've always insisted with my clients: Do NOT bring anything into your home that you don't LOVE. If you bring things in that mean something to you, it will feel like your own space.
Are you sure you can't paint? More and more apartment managment firms are realizing that color makes people feel more at home, and more likely to be reliable, long-term renters.
Good luck - come back and let us know what you decide to do.
Jun 10, 2011, 12:07 PM
You might ask your apartment manager if you can paint the walls if you paint them back to white when you leave. Maybe just do one accent wall, (wouldn't suggest red as is very popular in the south) but something that after it's primed is easy to paint back to white. Another way to cover those white walls is big art work, you can find something you like and bring it to Kinko's and have them enlarge it. Patterned area rugs are also great to work off when finding an accent color.
Jun 23, 2011, 02:04 PM
A nice decorative screen of some sort might work as a backdrop and add some color and interest to your room. Another thing that some apartment dwellers do instead of painting is to add fabric to their walls using starch. It can be easily removed when you vacate the apartment. If you were afraid to do this, you could get the long sheets of plywood and staple or starch fabric to these. You could stand them behind your sofa and hang artwork on them if you like. Bamboo/grass shades are relatively inexpensive. I would definitely consider replacing the vertical blinds. Another cheap fix is using spray adhesive to attach fabric to a roll-up paper shade and adding decorative trim at the bottom. Also, beautiful rug would instantly make a difference in the total look of the room.
I can imagine anything worse than having to live for an extended period of time in a generic white apartment. Hope these ideas help.
~Lady50This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lady50,
Feb 13, 2012, 01:12 PM
I believe nice lighting helps cozy up 'the apartment' look. Lamps can be purchases inexpensively at thrift shops. Most overhead lighting is convenient, but just cold.
Yes to plants/flowers as another said; anddd they help cleanse the air.
A soft throw with coordinating pillows, small stacks of books...groupings of some fave collectables... bowls of fruit or pinecones...photos
...but remember not to have toooo manyyyy little things or your space will look crowed/messy/unsettling.
also, if you don't want to remove those blinds, just hang curtain or fabric panels over them.This message has been edited. Last edited by: CJO,
Apr 29, 2012, 02:05 PM
Welcome. I agree w/ the advice to remove and store the verticles, to bring color/pattern in via drapery and to evoke the feel you seek via fabrics. Importantly, do not clutter your space, keep things in scale, focus on organization and storage and utilize vertical and "dead" space.
The liquid starch-fabric wall treatment mentioned is a popular one w/ renters as it doesn't harm walls and is removeable/reusable. Consider it below a chair rail or on a focal wall. Another option is wall decals which are found in an array of patterns on the Web. Bring more color to your walls via art such as inexpensive posters or framed papers or fabrics gallery style. Enlarge photography is another frugal option and offers a personal touch to your space. One additional option to bring color into your space is via colored lightbulbs or gells which will wash your white walls in a soft colorful hue. Draw color inspiration from your fabrics. BTW, extending your slider drapery panels to span the wall from corner to corner, if budget allows, will add a colorful soft wall in that area. Did you know that adding ecru or colored sheers can cast a warm or colorful glow during sunlight exposure to white walls?
Bring color up behind your bed via a hanging quilt, a hanging tapestry or perhaps a partical canopy treatment. An upholstered headboard is yet another DIY option to bring color and texture behind your bed. If budget and space allows, extend the feel of your living space onto your balcony which will visually enlarge your interior space.
Bring more color to your spaces via rugs, pillows, upholstered chair, bench or stool, some painted furniture, lamp bases/accessories.
Do NOT overlook the importance of ambient and task lighting to your space. Lighting can warm a space, bump a wall back when placed behind a sofa, bed or other large piece of furniture, elevate or call attention to a focal wall, along w/ lighten/brighten a space.
Is it possible this poster is not here anymore? This thread was started Jun 08, 2011 and haven't heard from her since.
Not that the tips given might not help someone else but I think Shauna has left the building.
Aug 14, 2012, 06:22 PM
Aug 24, 2012, 11:36 PM
I'm not sure what happened to Shauna, but all of your comments have been a big help to me in decorating a condo I'm renting. Thanks!!!
Aug 24, 2012, 11:41 PM
Has anyone ever used tempaper (temporary wallpaper)? I'm thinking it may be a good option to add color to the walls.
Sep 15, 2012, 05:32 PM
Color3 back in the 70s when my new DH and I lived in apartments, I used a plaid contact paper to do a focal wall in our kitchen w/ great success. It was a temporary solution that added much needed color and pattern interest. I still chuckle when I recall the telephone man asking me what color of wall phone to put in our kitchen as I sat on one of two pieces of furniture in the adjoining living room/dining room.
If the paper you're considering won't harm walls and is easily removeable, it sounds like a good option for a focal wall or above or below a chair rail. BTW, I did a quick google because although I was aware of temporary border papers, the similar wallpaper was new to me. What a great product if the walls are smooth.
Another alternative is using fabric wall decals Since you're living in an apartment, you probably want something temporary and something that won't damage your walls once you move out. We put a nice tree decal in our living room. It looks modern, it's inexpensive, and you won't lose your deposit when you move out.