We lived with a red mantel for over a year.
It was red when we moved in, and red it would stay. It stood out to us an unexpected choice and place for that kind of color, and we always like the unexpected. On a whim recently, we decided to paint it black for a more sophisticated look, and we can't belive the difference. Seeing it now makes us think it never really looked all that good in red. (See "After" pic below.)
We'd love to see some of your Before/After pics of small jobs or big ones (even if "before" didn't equal "bad"). Tell us what you did and why you did it...we're all eyes! We want to know what little changes you make in order to make your apartment a better place to live.