(Avoid) Living with Bare Walls: What to Do When You Can't Hang Artwork

(Avoid) Living with Bare Walls: What to Do When You Can't Hang Artwork

Eleanor Büsing
Mar 13, 2012

It's the one thing absolutely no one wants to see on their new lease: the no-nails-in-the-wall clause. Though it's (thankfully) a rare occurrence, it does pop up occasionally. So what's an art-loving renter to do? To ensure you won't be staring at empty walls for the duration of your tenancy, check out these ideas below.

1. Try to negotiate. If your landlord can provide you with the brand and name of the paint of your walls, you're halfway there. Go out and buy a sample-sized tin, a tube of spackle and a palette knife. Mention that you've done this, and suggest adding a clause to the contract stating that you'll return the walls to their hole-free original state when you leave. Once your landlord sees how on the ball and responsible you are, a few pieces of artwork might not be such a big deal.

2. Use lighter art. Let your inner high schooler out to play, and adorn your walls with posters, polaroids, postcards and other lightweight items. Use adhesive hooks, Blu-tack or masking tape for a clean look, or work with the messy style and use some pretty Japanese washi tapes.

3. Lean artwork against the walls. This shouldn't even be considered a compromise; propped-up artwork is cool and casual, not to mention easy to rotate and change when the mood strikes. Larger pieces work well on the floor, and smaller ones can be placed atop dressers and bookshelves.

4. Look for display-friendly furniture and fixtures. This tip is a continuation of the one above; consider investing in some furniture which gives you more options for leaning displays. I'm a big fan of the popular leaning bookshelves for this, but quirkier options like a vintage ladder or easel work too. If your place has period fixtures, consider leaning lighter items on a dado rail, or using hanging chains to make use of a picture rail.

5. Use decals. Display options aren't just limited to artwork; there's a huge variety of wall decals, stickers, and removable wallpaper out there which are great for renters.

6. Use paint instead. I know, it's unlikely that a landlord who isn't cool with nail holes would want any hue but "apartment beige" on their walls, but you never know. If you can paint your place, choose a color you love and go for it. When the shade is this beautiful, who needs anything else?

Have you ever had to live with blank walls? Share your survival tips below!

Images: 1. Home-Designing 2. Vosegesparis 3. Design*Sponge 4. emmas designblogg 5. Blik 6. Design*Sponge

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