Adding art to your home, no matter whether you plan to stay long term or not, personalizes a space. In this project, Kelley Proxmire matched the painted lamp shades to the painted ceiling. (Angie Seckinger/Angie Seckinger)

Living in an apartment doesn’t have to mean residing in a sterile white box. Interior designer Kelley Proxmire has several suggestions to help renters make their place feel more like a home despite constraints in the leasing agreement.

1. Paint is one of the easiest ways to brighten a space and make it your own. Keep the color consistent throughout the home and consider an accent wall in a vibrant color that would work well behind a gallery wall. Keep in mind the leasing agreement might require you to paint the walls the original color when the lease ends.

2. Add art that you can take with you when you leave. Use removable hanging strips to hang the art rather than nails.


A patterned rug is a great way to add color to a room. In this project, Kelley Proxmire adds smaller items such as a side table and lamp that can be taken with you when you move. (Angie Seckinger/Angie Seckinger)

3. Incorporate rugs in each room. You can layer them in the main living area and add accent rugs under the dining table and in the bedroom. Patterns are a great way to add color to a space, especially if layered with a solid color or a sisal rug.

4. Throw in pillows that pick up the colors in the rugs for a cohesive look. Or splurge on a fun fabric for pillows to add color.

5. Buy a couple of quality pieces that you can move from place to place. Since apartments tend to be smaller than a home, limit the quality pieces to accessories, such as lamps and side tables, so that the scale will work in a future home. Acrylic tables are versatile accessories.

6. Add an ottoman when possible. Ottomans provide extra seating for guests, are compact and portable, and easily moved from place to place. Plus it’s another way to add fun fabrics and colors at a small cost.

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