Decorating ideas for walls you can’t paint

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While some apartment homes welcome you adding a new coat of paint to the walls of your residence—as long as you convert the paint back to beige before you leave—some complexes insist that you leave the walls their original color. But if being surrounded by a sea of eggshell white makes you a little twitchy, we’ve got you (and your walls) covered. Here are some great ideas to add color to your walls without painting!

1. The wonderful world of stickers (and vinyl cling wallpaper!)

Trendy wall decals are all the rage for decorating, from small flowers, stars, and artfully stenciled words to full-wall images of Starry, Starry Night. With minimal prep (clean, flat walls are the best for these kind of stickers) you can dramatically change the look and feel of a room without any special skills, other than the patience to hang strips of sticky paper straight. Do a quick internet search on wall decals and lose yourself in the idea of sleeping next to a serene tropical beach or beneath a tree swaying in the breeze or beside a spray of positive messages!

2. Make a splash with colorful furniture

If you can’t do anything about the walls, what about your furniture? With some brightly colored throw pillows, blankets, and furniture coverings for your couches and chairs, you can make your furniture do the heavy color lifting in the room, serving as a bright distraction from the cool stillness of the walls behind them. Area rugs with bold color and funky patterns can also give some much-needed dimension to a neutral space.

3. Hang a collage of fun and funky art

Pick a theme—any theme—and start hunting for great art to transform one (or more!) of your walls into a celebration of what matters most to you. Whether you find your artistic treasures at thrift stores, flea markets or garage sales, you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to make a fantastic statement. Most art can be hung with your basic hammer and nails, but if you purchase a particularly heavy item, you may want to invest in a stud finder as well to ensure that your art stays on the wall.

4. Light it up!

Whether your idea of a star-filled night is a curtain of falling strands of fairy lights or a delicate twine of lights strung along the ceiling, there are dozens of artful light options from classic white to multicolor to LED. Just make sure to have sufficient outlets (and extension cords) that make sense for your space, plus an easy one-click option for turning your lights off and on, and you’ll be ready to light up the night.

5. Drape your walls in color

For an easy solution that requires nothing more than a few yards of fabric (or colorful bedding) and tacks or wall staples, consider draping your walls in fabrics. From pretty silks to airy gauze to bright cotton, there are literally thousands of patterns, colors, and textures to choose from. Cloth is an easy-up, easy-down decorating option that can help your rooms stay fresh and fun all year round. Be careful to keep cloth away from any sources of heat, and if you have pets (or small children) this may not be your best decorating option. If it suits you, however, decorating with fabric can be an inexpensive, artful feast for the eyes.

Bottom line, let your imagination flow and cover that creamy canvas in whatever bold color you wish—without cracking open a single can of paint!

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