Painting may be one of the easiest ways to personalize a new home, but thankfully it's not the only one! Whether you're banned from painting, lacking the skills, or just reluctant, here are five clever ideas— from elaborate to easy-peasy— for spicing up your place sans roller brush, sledge hammer, or the wrath of a navajo-white-loving landlord.
• Create interest and functionality with an art hanging structure. It may be as easy as propping up an old easel and filling it with a combination of layered leaning paintings, or it may be as elaborate as the grid-like structure in picture 1. The talented Dylan and Jean of Ladies and Gentlemen blog created the the display as a way to display art prints and other favorite things without damaging their old plaster walls. To see more of the display, which they sometimes also use as a shelving system, check out their flickr stream.
• Add a rug! Admittedly, I really need to follow my own advice here. I've been dragging my feet on this investment because I really love the look of bare wood floors, and I'm still not sold on the idea of hiding mine. BUT if you have bland wall-to-wall carpet and are looking to define a little seating area, by all means do it! If you need any convincing, look no further than Sally Steponkus's beautifully layered jute rug over her beige wall-to-wall (picture 2).
• You don't have to commit to the mess of wallpaper paste to enjoy a subtle touch of pattern and color on your walls, just frame your favorite leftover wallpaper samples or wrapping paper remnants (Picture 3). You can also try decorative papers from PaperSource — I think I could spend all day perusing their dreamy papers. The uniform white frames, and calm colors keep the multitude of patterns from looking too busy.
• Add color with painted panels. We've probably all seen large canvases painted a single color to add vibrancy to a white room, but you can use functional panels too. I love the aqua-ey peg boards that Maddie and Mike used in their sweet home (picture 4). The color adds a punch to their tiny kitchen while also tying it into all the turquoises and aquas used throughout the rest of their apartment.
• Decorate the often-overlooked spots. Kim's Mount Pleasant flat had a million and one simple touches that all added up to a highly personalized home. She used a sharpie to sketch the simple pattern, and covered it with a decoupaging medium to seal it. Small details like switch plates and doorknobs can be easily switched out or dressed up to turn something bland and overlooked into something pleasantly unexpected.
What non-permanent touches have you made to personalize your home?
Image: 1: Ladies and Gentlemen, 2: Laurey W. Glenn for Southern Living, 3: Busy Bee, 4: Annie Werbler for Apartment Therapy: NY Mike& Maddie's Sweet Nothings, 5: Leah Moss for Apartment Therapy: DC Kim's Personalized Mount Pleasant Flat.