Can I Paint my Apartment? Answers & Solutions
So you’ve just moved into the perfect new apartment but the walls are bad, like baddd. They may be the wrong color for your furniture, stained from water damage or just plain ugly. Whatever the case, you’re likely wondering: Can I paint my apartment?
Unless you want to repaint it the original color before moving out, the sad answer is probably “no”. Even then, it’s best to check with your landlord first. Of course, rules vary across properties. But from the property owner’s perspective (and while they may really want to let you do it) this can be a difficult challenge fraught with unforeseen expenses.
Who pays to repaint the unit when you move out? Who’s responsible if the type or quality of paint you use damages the walls?. When asking ‘ Can I paint my apartment? ’, keep in mind that you’re essentially living in a borrowed space. While your first concern is making it a comfy place to live, your landlord wants to make sure they can pass it on to the next tenant in great shape.
All of that said, if you’re intent on adding some color to your space (and why wouldn’t you be), don’t give up just yet. You may still have a couple of options. Here’s a few…
Compromising with Your Landlord
Building management may not be open for painting your apartment any old color, but there’s likely some room for compromise. If you want a fresh coat of paint, the first thing to try is negotiating with building management before signing or renewing your lease. That won’t guarantee it’ll be a color that you love, but if you’re only looking for a slightly brighter or mellower tone, it may be just the ticket. If you’re a reliable, long-term tenant you may have even more bargaining power.
Peel & Stick Paint
There are a couple of removable peel-and-stick paint options out there, including TemPaint, which will give the look and feel of a fresh coat of paint without the cleanup or permanence of the traditional stuff. Usually these come in rolls, like wallpaper and the idea here is roughly the same; ‘paint’ strips are applied just like peel-and-stick wallpaper but are designed with the look and feel of real paint. When it’s time to move out, simply peel the strips away and toss in the trash.
Unless you’re already a professional painter, it’s likely the easier and cheaper option. If you’re unsure about how the color will look in your space, samples are available, just like paint for purchase. In addition, you can replace it whenever you want; according to the seasons, your mood, or the color of your new furniture.
If you’re unsure about painting your apartment with a peel and stick product, you may want to start small. Pick out an accent wall or even a piece of furniture. Apply the product and see how it feels in your space.
If your style is a little more adventurous there are tons of companies that offer removable patterned temporary wallpaper too. There are patterns and colors in a wide variety of styles, from subtle and mellow to big, bold, bright, and beautiful! These work as well as temporary paint, and landlords usually don’t have any problem with them.
Before you go ahead and select one however, check with the company about the glue strength of the wallpaper. If you’re only going to be moving in a year or two it’s a tricky balance between making sure it stays up and not damaging the wall when it comes time to remove it.
Other Options for Adding Color to Your Apartment
If you can’t paint your walls and aren’t ready to try out temporary wallpaper, accessories are going to be your new best friend. Before the minimalists out there start stressing out, remember, a little color can go a long way -- especially if it’s a bold statement color like red. You can get color into a room with pillows, blankets, bedding, posters or art. Have fun with it! Investing in a piece of art that you love is a good place to start.
Most apartments have a neutral color on the walls, which means you can plan the rest of the room around the artwork. Let the colors inform what you choose for pillows, furniture or even a rug. As an added bonus, because people’s eyes will be drawn to whatever you choose, it is a great conversation starter. Curtains are a great option not only because they actually serve a purpose, but also because they can add length and dimension to a room and are very cost-effective for those on a budget.
Rehab old furniture
Larger pieces, such as dressers, coffee tables or buffets, are great options for adding color and your personal style to the room. If you are nervous about undertaking this kind of DIY or don’t have any furniture to work with try checking out Facebook Marketplace, Etsy or any of the other millions of sites out there selling refinished furniture. Searching for local blogs is another good option. Most of the time bloggers will sell pieces locally, or can help point you in the direction of their favorite stores/products if you’re new to the rehab game. Flea markets are a great place to find affordable old furniture that will look amazing after a little TLC and a fresh coat of paint.
This one might seem a little odd, but stick with us. Most rentals are usually apartments, and most apartments don’t have a ton of storage space. Thus, building your own shelving display or bookshelf could kill two birds with one stone. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as building something from scratch, although if you’ve got those skills definitely use them. If you look in the right places you can find a ton of great furniture just needs a little love (see above). If you don’t want or need that much storage, consider buying some inexpensive floating shelves. Stores like Target have a ton of different styles you can mix and match to create an interesting visual display for small items like candles and photos.
If you’ve got a green thumb, plants are the perfect way to bring life and color into your space (don’t worry; fake plants work too). There are so many options to choose from if you go this route. You can hang larger pots from hooks in the ceiling or get a bunch of smaller potted plants and mount them on the wall. Smaller trees, such as a ficus, can help add vertical dimension to a room and are relatively easy to take care of as long as it gets plenty of light. The possibilities are endless, and this is an option that can continuously change with the seasons or your mood.
For those asking “Can I paint my apartment?”, remember that at the end of the day, your space is what you make it. We won’t recommend painting for everyone, but we will recommend taking the time to make it feel like a home.