Q. I rent (and therefore cannot paint) a house whose walls are off-white and BORING. Do you have any unique, inexpensive ideas to make my cold walls more cozy?
-Emily (Park City, Utah)
A. Wow, in the nine years I have rented, it never even occurred to me to ask my landlord if I was allowed to paint. This could explain the missing sums of money from my security deposits (I always thought it was because my Golden Retriever liked to eat holes in the beautifully painted walls). Ok, well there are certainly a ton of options for spicing up your walls that do not include paint!
The First Option:
Fill up the wall with frames! Command Picture Hanging Strips by 3M will allow you to hang as many frames as you like with zero damage to your walls. I love picking up frames at thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales. You can find nice frames with cool vintage appeal for super cheap. I also buy frames at Ikea or Target for between $3-10 a piece. If you want them all the same color, just pick up a can of spray paint! Here are some interesting ways to add frames to your space:
The Second Option: Another option for adding tons of color to a space is by adding textiles to the wall! Below I show some inspiring images of drapery walls as well as suggest a few really inexpensive hardware options. It is helpful to sew metal washers to the bottom of the drapery panels to keep them hanging straight to the floor.
There are a ton of options for curtain hardware. They can get really expensive though! Be sure to use wall anchors to attach the window hardware to the wall so that it can support the weight of a wall of drapes. I’ve had them rip right out of the wall before causing huge holes because I didn’t use anchors. Ikea sells a few different curtain wires like this:
As for curtain options, the sky is the limit! If you are handy at all, you can save a ton of money by buying fabric by the yard, finishing the edges, and then just sewing a simple pocket at the top for the curtain rod or wire. You can even use Stitch Witch if you don’t have a sewing machine. You just use your iron to create the seams! If you’re not so handy, overstock.com is a great place to find discount drapery panels. I like to go to Anthropologie.com, West Elm.com, or UrbanOutfitters.com for inspiration and then try to find similar options at lower prices elsewhere. The best part about this is that you can take it all down when you’re ready to move and take it with you!
The Third Option:
The last option you have is to EMBRACE the blessing of having all off-white walls! My first instinct as a designer is always to paint it all white or cream and then work from there. Having basic, neutral walls is the easiest way to get a really elegant designer look. Here’s some inspiration:
Off white walls, I command you to be boring no more!