Easy Ways to Add a Little Character to a Blah Apartment

Easy Ways to Add a Little Character to a Blah Apartment

Nancy Mitchell
Nov 3, 2015

Every time I see a photo of a gorgeous Paris apartment, or of an apartment in an old New York brownstone with a fireplace and wood floors and gorgeous moldings galore, I get a little surge of jealousy. It just doesn't seem fair — you could put a cardboard box in these apartments and it would look fantastic, because the apartment itself is already so great. The good news is that, even if you're stuck with a distinctly un-unique, cookie cutter, builder-grade American apartment, there are still things you can do to give your home a little bit of character.

Vintage escutcheons at Adkins Architectural Antiques
(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

1. Swap your knobs (and even hinges) out for vintage hardware.
Little details can make such a big difference. Switching knobs, and drawer pulls, and hinges, and anything else you can imagine for quirky vintage versions can give your apartment a historic, always-been-there feel. (Just make sure that, if you're renting, you save the originals for when you move out.)

2. Go crazy with moldings.
This is why those Paris apartments look so fantastic — because of all the great architectural details. If you're even a little bit handy, moldings can be easier to add to your own apartment than you would think. If you're renting, it's definitely a good idea to check with your landlord first.

(Image credit: Domino)

3. Add wallpaper.
Wallpaper is starting to come back in a big way, and it's a great way to add a little character to a dull space. And we've got a little trick for sneaking it into your rental without losing your deposit.

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

4. Fake a fireplace.
A fireplace doesn't have to have an actual fire in it to make your space feel cozy and homey. If you don't have a fireplace, consider bringing in a mantel and treating it just like you would any other piece of furniture. You can use it to create a focal point in a space, and fill it with art or candles. Just make sure to secure it to the wall so it doesn't fall over unexpectedly.

(Image credit: Domino)

5. Add a little excitement to your cabinets.
Make your kitchen a place you love to be by adding temporary wallpaper to the inside of your cabinets, as seen on Domino.

6. Give your doors some love.
Don't forget about your doors! Doing something a little different with your doors is an easy way to add a little interest to your space without spending a ton of time.

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