I’ve had a lot of inquiries lately from you renters out there who cannot paint your walls right now. It is perfectly fine for your walls to be left neutral, and you renters out there have no choice. Believe me, I know how you feel. I lived in a town home for four years and all the walls were white.  It really is ok. Don’t get discouraged. In fact, when your walls are white or another nuetral, it is much easier to go bold in your choices throughout your space.
Below are four easy ways to decorate without painting your walls:

#1: Add a bold rug. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to add color to your space. Below is my decor three years ago in our rental. I picked a bold red rug for two reasons: 1. to protect the almost white carpet and 2. to add color to the space. 

2: Use throw pillows and curtains to add color to your space.

This pillow collage is full of pillows that I have found by searching etsy stores and internet sites. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure the specific origination of most of them, but hopefully you can see that using pillows is a really fun way to use color in your space.

This above picture is from Pottery Barn. The walls are white, and the color comes from the curtain choices. Are you beginning to see that all you renters out there can still decorate with color?

3. Use dramatic colors in your art and accessories.
Back in October I designed this room for Emry, a spunky 13 year old. It was one of my favorite rooms to design.

Emry’s mom Tracie wanted to keep her walls neutral and it was fun to use the art, mosquito net, and bedding to bring in the color in the room.This art piece was made out of embroidery hoops, and you can find the instructions on a previous post found HERE. 

See how the art and accessories radiate the color scheme throughout the space. The walls are wonderfully neutral.

4. Add color with your furniture: Furniture is an easy way to introduce more color to any room. I am currently obsessed with painting furniture (I’m sure you can tell!) My style is far from “matchy matchy” and I love the dimension that different furniture brings into a space.

Don’t be afraid to go bold! Most of the time when I discuss decorating with clients, most are very clear on the color scheme that they want. After the color scheme is chosen, be prepared to search for an item that will help spread the color scheme throughout your space. If you can’t find the perfect piece, paint one. It will create a focal point and a crowd stopper.


  1. says

    I've been really trying to use color since I rent. But I can't seem to get away from pink for my daughter's room hehe. I really like how teal looks with black and gray so I might use some teal to liven up my apartment! Thanks for the wonderful posts!

  2. Sharps says

    Okay so that blue bird pillow on the bottom row! I WANT THAT SO BAD for Chloes new room! Its probably one you dont know where it came from! BUT, if you do…please tell!!! SO GREAT IDEAS!!!

  3. says

    We're some where between renters and owners. My SO's grandparents own the house we're in with the understanding it will be ours next year, until then I can't paint and I think thats a good thing. I can figure out the direction we want in our rooms and then find paint to match. I've done it opposite of that in every other house we've owned. Great tips!

    ~Kelli @ Smidgens

  4. says

    I so agree. I just saw the greatest post,can't remember by who, that found fully lined placemats at Target. So she found the spot that was last sewn together, opened it up, stuffed them and resewed them for super cute, cheap pillows. Can't wait to make some for the new house.

  5. Tulsi says

    I've been afraid to use big rugs. When you remove them to replace or just because you are tired of them does the carpet look two different colors. Steve brought a Persian rug home with him from Afghanistan that we have down but it's not in an area we walk by much. We have basically the same color of carpet as Sunset Ridge. Our living room is way bigger so I don't want to have a room that looks like I HAVE to keep a rug down all of the time.

  6. says

    Seriously, I can't believe you made that rental look so nice…. I recognize that place. We lived there before this "awesome" student housing we now live in. I miss that place. Now I am thinking, I probably did know you back in those apartments? Still not sure. None the less, thanks for the awesome tips… I NEED THEM! :)

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