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10 Reversible Ways to Add Color (and Pattern!) to a Rental

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Bemz)

If you’re a color lover, there’s one activity guaranteed to trigger your white-wall phobia—that’s right, apartment hunting. But once you’ve moved in, there are several ways to punch up the color, without picking up a paintbrush or getting in trouble with your landlord. Let me introduce you to your new best friends: slipcovers, contact paper, washi tape and temporary wallpaper.

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(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

Tempaper is one company that’s completely changing the rental customization game. Applying it to the wall is like unrolling a giant sticker, but the results look like real wallpaper. Emily Henderson covered one wall of her studio in a marble-patterned Tempaper so pretty it’s sad to think about one day tearing it down. If you want to customize the color, buy paintable Tempaper and brush on any hue.

(Image credit: Oh Joy)

If you can’t adhere wallpaper directly to your walls, take a cue from Oh Joy and cover a foam panel with wallpaper. The best part is that you can take this wallpaper with you to your next place.

(Image credit: Bemz)

If you own an IKEA sofa, armchair or ottoman, you can add some removable color to the pieces by ordering custom covers from Bemz. A range of lush colors and fabric options—including their new velvet line—lets you turn an uninspiring EKTORP into a blue velvet beauty. Want to DIY it? IKEA sells extra slipcovers, which you can hand-dye in any color you like.

(Image credit: Lonny)

To add some architectural interest and color to flat, hollow core doors, Amy Anderson used thin washi tape to imitate decorative molding. Via Lonny.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

If your rental has dull kitchen cabinets, add some color by covering each door with multiple colors of washi tape. It might take a bit, but the results are worth it. Catch the rest of this bold and glitzy apartment on Design Sponge.

(Image credit: Aunt Peaches)

Unless your apartment is newly renovated, there’s a good chance your rental came with a few past-their-prime appliances, including a dingy white refrigerator. To mask the surface of hers, Amanda from Aunt Peaches used a hexagonal patterned removable wallpaper from Chasing Paper. On move out day, just peel off the paper to reveal a landlord-approved appliance.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

The trick behind this bright floral wallpaper that can be taken down quickly? Let fabric stand in for real wallpaper, and secure it to the wall using liquid starch. Get the full how-to here.

(Image credit: Swoon Worthy)

By lining the back of her open shelving with colorful floral wallpaper, Kimberly from Swoon Worthy completely transformed her tiny kitchen.

(Image credit: Anewall)

This flower-strewn mural from Anewall ($409 for 125″ by 125″) brings soft color to an otherwise neutral living room. When you’re ready to remove it, just start with a corner and slowly peel away the design.

(Image credit: Stadshem)

In this Swedish home spotted on Stadshem, a patterned fabric wallhanging behind the bed provides one of the only hits of colors in the room.