7 Ways to Add Color to Your Home Without Repainting

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Renting can sometimes feel restrictive, especially if you want to show your true colors through interior design. Every home benefits from a nice color scheme, but creating one is much more difficult when you need someone else’s approval and are surrounded by boring, white walls.

Fortunately, if you’re wondering how to incorporate a pop of color without getting into trouble with your landlord for repainting, you’re in the right place! Below are some ideas to help you bring some color into your everyday renter life.

1. Can’t paint the walls? Decorate them!

Let’s start with an obvious one. Put down your paintbrush because you can easily add a pop of color to your walls without having to repaint them. For instance, you could hang art, framed photos or prints, fairy lights, and so much more! You might even consider creating your very own temporary wallpaper out of washi tape.

2. The greener, the better

It’s no secret that flowers are the best pop of color in any home. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to invest in weekly expensive bouquets; a few house plants will do just fine. Choose plants with bigger leaves so the green will truly stand out. Then, spread them throughout the apartment so you can enjoy a splash of green wherever you look.

3. Pick an accent color

Monochrome is proof that less is more. Adding a splash of color to your apartment is often easier than you think through carefully selected rugs, vibrant tapestries, or textured ottomans. All you have to do is pick an accent color and stick with it. Opt for contrast and select a different color in each room, or use the same color in a different way throughout the whole place for a more cohesive and put-together look; it’s up to you. The secret here is to pick a strong, saturated color so that even the smallest items—like candle holders or vases—will pop without overwhelming the room.

4. Play with light

It’s not always about what color the things in your apartment are. Sometimes, choosing the right light can make all the difference. Make your quarters feel homier with a warm, orange light; go for a laid-back vibe with a bluer hue, or pick a red one to make a statement. The key is to determine which type of light best suits you and your apartment. So, the next time you find yourself in a home improvement store, spend some time in the light bulbs section. Quick tip: be sure to stay away from fluorescents.

5. Look no further than the furniture

A colorful piece of furniture can be a great focus point, and it’s ok to think small; pastel, cushioned chairs and bright, red drawers will do just fine in place of big, flashy sofas or heavy curtains. You can also repaint kitchen stools and table legs, or recover old armchairs and anything else that may be in need of a textile refurbishment.

6. Trinkets, trinkets everywhere

Never underestimate the impact of small knickknacks in bringing out the true color of a home. It could be anything from your favorite cartoon characters placed together on the mantel to some vintage baubles adorning the living room shelves. Whether you favor old-school porcelain or toy-like figurines, don’t refrain from spreading them around the house. The most important thing is to stick to a specific theme.

7. Go for colorful chaos

We saved the best for last, and it’s that you don’t have to stick to a certain color palette. There are no rules for using color around the house, and that’s the beauty of it. Experiment with more accent colors; try saturated colors in one room and pastels in another; play with vibrant colors for carpets and even more so for curtains—the choice is yours. As long as the space feels homey, the sky is the limit as to how many colors you can use.

Making your home brighter and more colorful doesn’t have to mean getting approval to paint the walls. Release your inner interior designer and unleash whatever color speaks to you!

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Alexandra is a creative writer and researcher for RentCafe. With a background in e-learning content writing and a passion for knowledge-sharing platforms, she's covered topics from prop-tech to renters insurance to interior design tips. Very familiar with the renter lifestyle herself, Alexandra enjoys researching and writing about renter demographic shifts and residential real estate market trends as much as she loves writing about how to get along with roommates. You can connect with Alexandra via email.

Alexandra’s work includes collaborations with financial and business publications. Her articles have been featured in several national and international online publications, including the New York Times, Barrons, Inman, Forbes, Architectural Digest, Marketwatch, Bisnow, and Curbed. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Japanese and English and an M.A. in Journalism and Cultural Studies.

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