A Bold Boston Apartment Is Full of Renter-Friendly Color Ideas

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This is my living room corner (Image credit: Karen Martin)

Name: Karen Martin
Location: Brighton neighborhood — Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 670 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, renting

I live alone in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston in a fourth floor, one-bedroom in a 1930s Art Deco apartment building. I have moved around a lot from Philly to Manhattan to here and lived in seven rentals since graduating from college, but when I viewed this apartment this spring, I had a complete “Aha!” moment and knew it was meant to be. I certainly plan to stay in this place a lot longer than the others! I work as an urban planner and my decor is largely inspired by that—maps, travel, souvenirs, design books, etc.

The entryway into the kitchen shows vintage postcards (Image credit: Karen Martin)

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Quirky, colorful, sunny, maximalist, kitsch.

I fell in love with the apartment’s retro kitchen (Image credit: Karen Martin)

What is your favorite room and why? Super tough choice but I would have to say the living room. It has an awesome arched entryway, which I fell in love with when I saw it the first time. The gallery wall is something I started in my first apartment in NYC and probably had only 10 items to start and has gradually grown and grown—it now has almost 50 pieces. I laid it out myself, painted most of the frames and have re-hung it five times in different places. I decided to go for a turquoise, pink, and yellow theme and tied it all together with this amazing Wayfair rug. The triple windows bring in so much sunlight and are the perfect home for my growing succulent collection.

In the bedroom (Image credit: Karen Martin)
(Image credit: Karen Martin)

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I’m definitely not the hugest fan of the off-white walls—I prefer bright white but as a renter, am pretty limited to this. (Although, when I viewed the apartment, it was painted navy blue, it was then painted back by management!) I also find the moldings around the edges of the walls to be quite strange and a bit limiting but I think I’ve tried to work with them the best I can.

In the living room I’ve stuck with a pink (Image credit: Karen Martin)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The pink and yellow rug for the living room just arrived and I am very in love with it—it’s the perfect pop of colors!

Another highlight is the fun retro pink bathroom!! I let the tile stand out with a completely black and white decor theme featuring this Central Park print as well as a black and white gallery wall on the opposite wall. (Image credit: Karen Martin)
The IKEA KALLAX shelf is filled with a ton of storage and my entire collected of urban planning textbooks and you can see a view out into the foyer which has a great mid-century sideboard and round copper shelf. (Image credit: Karen Martin)

Any advice for creating a home you love? Fill your house with everything you love, no matter what anyone else says! If it catches your eye, it’s probably for a reason. I collect things wherever I travel and I love finding the perfect spot for them when I return home. Not everyone will agree with your style—my mom calls my apartment an overstuffed mausoleum (haha!)—but I was recently traveling for 10 days and when I walked back into my apartment I was actually overcome by warm, fuzzy feelings, and that’s what you want! Make your space have meaning for you.

Thanks, Karen!

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