Many leases prohibit tenants from painting walls inside their apartments, but some property owners will permit painting under certain circumstances. When this is permitted, most property owners will want to approve the colors, will require a professional interior painter do the work or will require a fee for repainting the walls back to a “neutral” color, like off-white, when the lease ends. Once you have permission, use these decorating ideas to achieve a pleasant or spectacular result.
One Central Color Scheme
You can make your space seem larger by choosing one color, or variations on the same color, for use in all your rooms. For example, choose a soft spruce green color and use it everywhere—living room, bath, guest room, kitchen, master bath. The “universality” of the color will trick the eye into expanding the space. Alternatively, use slight variations of the same color in each room: darker spruce in the living room, a lighter tone in the master bedroom, a pastel tone in the bathroom. Painting every room in your apartment a different color will “cut up” the space visually and make it seem smaller.
Color Theory: Dimension
Paint colors have the ability to change the apparent dimensions of a room. Light colors will appear to push the walls back, away from the viewer, while dark colors will draw the walls in on the viewer. If your bedroom is small, for example, paint it with a light color like butter-cream or a very pastel blue. If your living room is huge, consider using a chocolate, navy or hunter green color to “shrink” the space visually.
Color Theory: Temperature
Colors also have the ability to either “warm up” or “cool down” a room. Apartments that have windows facing the south or west are considered “warm” so use cooler colors like blues and greens here. Apartments with windows that face east or north are “cool” so use warm colors like red, yellows and oranges to warm the space visually. A neutral color, like white, tends to be “warm.” Black and gray tend to be “cool.”
Color Theory: Mood
Paint colors impart mood to a room as well. If you want to set a sunny, happy mood in your apartment kitchen, use warm colors like red, yellow and orange. If you want to create a relaxed mood in a bedroom or bath, choose a cool, calming blue or a green with blue tones in it. You can make a room feel exciting by using colors to jangle the senses, like vertical stripes or diagonals. You can calm a room down by using horizontal bands of color.
Neutral wall colors like cappuccino, coffee, ash gray and steel gray are very trendy in 2010 and perfect for apartment dwellers. Many property owners will quickly approve your plans to paint in neutral colors because these tones often don’t need to be painted over when your lease is up. Neutral colors offer additional benefits too: They are easy on the eyes, fit in with most major furniture groupings and drapes and become “boring” less quickly.
While the idea may go against the “rule” of using bold colors only in larger rooms, red is an exception. It can be used in nearly any size of space. You can make a small room seem very cozy by painting it a bold but warm red. Red can be a particularly good color for a bedroom. Be sure to use a warm tone, like tomato red, not a purplish red.
If your apartment is small, consider painting the trims the same color as the walls. This will make the trims, especially around doors, blend in and won’t make the space feel smaller and “cut up.” Just be sure you have permission to paint trims before you start. Painting trim can be very time consuming, and your property owner may object to this proposal unless you are willing to paint the trim back to “neutral” or remove the paint from natural woods.