You read the lease and there it is: you are not allowed to paint the walls without landlord’s permission. You had your heart set on sky blue ceiling with a few puffy clouds and your favorite mint green walls. Now you have to live with Landlord White or Decorator White, White Dove, Linen White, Super White or any of the other whites your landlord’s palette includes. Yes, there’s an endless variety of whites, so your landlord will never have to use any other color.
However, before you despair, there are plenty of tricks that can bring color into your new apartment, without a paint brush in sight. All of these tried-and-true renter-friendly products let you have your color and still get your deposit back at the end of the lease.
1. Wall Art
The easiest way to add color is to hang art on your walls. Actually, white walls are ideal for showing off your photos, prints and paintings and bringing your personality to your room. You can also experiment with wall decals, just make sure yours is easily removable.
2. Removable Wallpaper
If covering the walls more completely is a must, check out removable wallpapers. You’ll find something for every taste and this “renter’s wallpaper” will not damage your walls. This can be a great solution if your heart is set on having your favorite color on your walls. If you decide to paint your wall navy blue, it will take four coats of white paint to get it back to its original color, but with a solid color removable wallpaper, you’ll just peel it off when your lease is up.
3. Wall Murals
Companies like Eazywallz.com will create a removable wall mural from your own photos. Just pick your favorite shots, email them to the company and you’ll get a mural that shows your personality to everyone who walks into the room.
4. Colorful textiles
If you have a great quilt or a beautiful piece of fabric, hang it up on your wall. This is a great way to display colorful treasures from your travels. But you don’t have to limit your color inspirations to the walls. You can add pops of color with curtains, throws, sofa pillows and other home textiles.
5. Screens and Room Dividers
You can use room dividers and screens to bring color to the room while hiding an unsightly corner of the room. Also, if you live in a studio apartment, screens are a perfect way to separate your sleeping area from your “living room” or hide your kitchen when you are entertaining.
You can also find screens featuring your favorite painting. Monet’s Water Lilies screen will bring a big pop of color to any white room.
Bonus Tip: Paint Your Thrift Store Finds
Ok, let’s pick up that paint brush, after all. If your furniture comes mainly from thrift stores, hand-me-downs and stoop sales, who says it has to remain that drab brown. A coat of bright paint will give the table or dresser a totally new look and the same goes for your white IKEA pieces. Look how our blogger Zainab spray painted an IKEA coffee table
Also check out our other posts on decorating without paint!