Landlords strive to keep color palettes neutral to have mass appeal. Unfortunately, too much “Navaho White” can be excruciatingly boring. Never fear, there is creative help for your condo, apartment or rental home, even if there is a “no painting rule.” Follow these six easy tips to bring color and your own personality to the space, while still preserving your security deposit.


1. Create a wall art collage

Turn your wall into an art gallery by mixing sizes of images. The trick is to pick a theme and color palette to create cohesiveness. Adding texture and three dimensional objects make the grouping unique. Stores like Pottery Barn sell “Gallery Wall in a Box” sets, or frame your own images from discarded travel magazines, event posters or whatever else catches your eye.

2. Get creative with lighting

One of the greatest finds on Amazon is an LED string of fairy lights on a copper wire, allowing you to bend and hang it just about anywhere. It even comes with a remote. Try adding lighting behind furniture like a wall cabinet, in a glass vase or around potted palms for mood lighting.

painted furniture3. Branch out from neutral-toned furniture

Go ahead and pick up that great aqua colored couch you saw on Craigslist. Your furniture doesn’t need to be bland to “match” your apartment. A colorful main piece of furniture may be just the thing to add zest to a beige background. Decorator’s tip: pick up the color in two other small accessories or pieces of art in the room.

4. Go ahead and paint- your furniture

Take that blah brown garage sale end table and give it a great multi-tone makeover with paint. The big box hardware stores sell 8oz sample paints, perfect to try on a new color. Carry that same hue to picture frames and lamp shades and pretty soon you will have a well pulled-together room that is brilliantly colorful.

5. Add a colorful rug

If your landlord is sticking with builder beige on the walls, chances are the floors are pretty neutral too. A vibrant, patterned rug will break up the monotony. Just make sure to size it appropriately. Here is what the experts at Wayfair recommend:

  • Bigger is Better
    A few inches makes all the difference between the rug pulling the room together or chopping it up. Opting for the larger option, especially if you’re between sizes, will prove worth the extra expense every time.
  • Take Cues From Your Room
    Both for the rug size and its orientation. The rug should be proportional to the space (large rooms = large rugs) and placed to echo its dimensions (long room = orient lengthwise).
  • Visualize the Final Look
    By using painter’s tape to mock the rug placement before you buy. This trade secret is an easy way to check that you have the right fit from every vantage point.

6. Hang fabric

True, you can get a wall-sized, Zen-patterned hippy dippy wall fabric and hang it up with tacks, but don’t think that is your only option when it comes to textiles. Hang a beautiful Hawaiian quilt or other textiles using  Magnetic Invisible Quilt Hangers. These attach to the wall using Command hooks and really powerful magnets, allowing you to hang and rehang materials without damaging the wall. Think about hanging other interesting textured fabrics like lauhala, tapa cloth or even a furry rug.

Go from blah to beautiful with these color, texture and design tips. If you try any out, send a photo to, we would love to see your creativity!