A new apartment is, in many ways, a blank canvas. In fact, your apartment was specially-designed so that its architectural elements would work well with a broad range of décor options, so that each resident could bring his or her unique style and make it their own. Are you taking your move into a new apartment as an opportunity to express yourself in a new way? Wondering what to do with all this fresh, white wall space? Not sure where to start? Here are a few fast, easy, and inexpensive ways to make your space more beautiful, inviting, comforting, and reflective of what makes you who you are.
Turn a white wall into a bright wall. Ask your property management team if painted accent walls are allowed. Sometimes they’ll even allow you to choose from a list of approved colors and have the wall painted for you; or they may allow you to go the DYI route—just be certain that you completely understand what’s allowed, first. Great locations for an accent wall include the headboard wall of your bedroom, a wall in your dining area, or one wall of your living room. Do a quick Google Image search for “accent wall” and you’ll be instantly inspired by what a little color can do! If painting is not allowed consider using a colored sheet or fabric and cornstarch to hang it on the wall.
Add a removable mural. Another great way to add personality to your apartment walls is with a removable, decorative mural. You’ll find thousands of options online, from classical landscape scenes to modern graphic options. And we’re not just talking little window vignettes here—there are even companies offering full-on wallpapers that you can peel, stick, and remove. Whether you’re going for a full wall or a smaller accent piece, you’ll want to choose a product with a proven track record for being both easy to install and fully removable without leaving staining or sticky residue behind. We love, love, love these colorful and inspiring Words murals at EazyWalls (http://www.eazywallz.com/words/); and all their other styles are fabulous, as well.
Create a theme wall. There are generally two basic routes when it comes to hanging art or photos on apartment walls. You can distribute your art conservatively throughout the space, or create a bigger statement by grouping pieces together along a common theme. Your “theme” can be an eclectic one in which the pieces aren’t really tied together by anything but proximity; and in this case, you can either marry the elements by using similar framing, or go as crazy as you want to by varying frame colors and styles. Another popular option is to create a family wall by similarly framing photos of your family members—this looks really classic when done with all black and white or sepia photos, and makes for an easy afternoon project when you start with a prefab frame set (Target has some really great ones for around $20). Or pick a favorite theme—a nature wall full of florals or birds; an urban art theme of photos of graffiti or buildings taken in your own city; a word wall where each frame includes a word or words that inspire you. Mix plaques and photos and paintings and plates together, or stick with one particular kind of art—the choice is all yours and the possibilities are endless. If it’s lightweight enough to hang and has a place to securely attach a hanger, it can become an element in your art wall; so keep an open mind. Great locations for themed art walls include above the sofa or headboard, or one wall of the dining area. To save your security deposit, invest in a few packs of removable Command Strips—they’ll let you go crazy with the artwork without putting a crazy number of holes in your apartment’s walls.
Display a favorite collection. A blank wall is a great opportunity to display a collection and make your apartment reflective of what you love! Think shadowboxes filled with vintage salt and pepper shakers; a kitchen wall of fun cookie cutters, vintage spoon rests, or fancy cake molds; a dining room wall of framed, antique table linens; a child’s bedroom wall of framed storybook cover art; a group of framed favorite albums surrounding your stereo (check out the album frames at www.urbanoutfitters.com that let you easily pop the record back out anytime you want to play). If you’re worried about securely hanging something from a wall, most apartment management teams will be happy to send a member of the service team around to help choose a good location, based on the size and weight of what you’d like to display; so don’t be afraid to ask.
Add texture. Nobody ever said that your apartment’s walls have to be flat and uninteresting; so how about creating a statement wall that literally jumps out at you? Check out these fantastic, paintable, foot-square molded paper panels from Mio ) that come in 12-packs, enough to give crazy cool texture and your own signature color to twelve square feet of wall for under $50. The best part is that they’re lightweight, so they can be installed with removable double-stick tape.
Those are just a few ideas to get you started; and they’re by no means the only great ones out there! Have you heard about the popular wine and painting parties? How about throwing your own paint party where friends are invited to join you in painting small canvases to create an art wall in your new apartment? Add a fun twist by assigning each guest to paint their self-portrait! Or here’s another great idea: add a removable tile or panel backsplash to your new kitchen. You’ll find some great options at your local hardware superstore. And now, with a little careful planning and creativity and an emphasis on removability, go forth and confidently make your apartment’s walls your own!