Paint-Free Ways to Add Color to a Rental

Paint-Free Ways to Add Color to a Rental

Sarah Coffey
Oct 12, 2009

All of the amazing entries posted to our Room for Color contest have us fantasizing about deep, dark walls, but if your landlord has barred you from going red, blue, or green, we have a few ideas for working around the problem...

  • 1) Use colorful furnishings. The red sofa and wall hanging in Zola's Home transform a neutral corner into a bright spot.
  • 2) Pillows and throws are an easy way to add color, and they're (usually) cheap enough to switch out when you get tired of a style. (Shown above are Toast's plaid pillows.)
  • 3) As a renter there are a couple of ways to get around the issue of adding color to the walls. Go the peel-and-stick route with Casart's removable wall coverings or try out this how-to for removable fabric wallpaper. (The fabric shown above is the Turbulent Collection from Marimekko.)
  • 4) Artwork is a time-tested way to add color and depth to a room. We love how the yellow canvas in Paola and John's home brightens up their whole dining room.
  • 5) Flowers, plants, and fruit may seem like small details, but they can add a lot to a room. In Amy's home, a green plant creates a focal point in a non-working fireplace and complements the upholstery on her side chair.
  • 6) To paraphrase Jeff Bridges as the Dude in the Big Lebowski, a rug can really tie a room together. (The photo above shows the Akdamar Red Rug from the Rug Company.)
  • 7) Curtains and drapes can add color while insulating your windows. You can also switch them out seasonally if you're the type who likes to mix things up. (Shown above are Maharam shades from the Shade Store.)
  • 8) A colored light shade can completely change the tone of a room. Red Chinese lanterns, for instance, can add a sense of drama whether they're lit or not.
  • 9) Organize a collection by color to create instant decor on a budget. John and Linda Meyers offer some excellent tips on how to make an impact with the objects you collect.
  • 10) Along the same lines as collecting, people with a strong visual sensibility might like to organize a bookshelf by color. We love the way it looks in Emily and Craig's home (shown above).

Photos: Janel Laban, Toast, Marimekko, Evan Thomas, Sarah Coffey, Rug Company, Shade Store, Mark Joseph Lopez licensed under Creative Commons, John and Linda Meyers, Evan Thomas

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