Variety of window treatments with a valance create a focal point in an apartment

Apr 26 2011

Round tables take the edge off the rectangular shape of most apartments.
Round tables take the edge off the rectangular shape of most apartments.
Apartment dwellers often feel confined by the neutral colors on walls, floors and tiling in their rented homes, but it doesn't have to be that way, according to HGTV.com.

"Don't be reluctant about asking the landlord what you can and can't do with the space - you might be surprised," advises the website. "Most are fine with painting, hanging wall decorations and replacing existing window treatments and light fixtures, as long as you return the apartment to its original state when you move."

To begin, apartment decorators can get ideas on how to develop their new home's style by tearing out magazine pages that show color schemes and furniture they like and carrying them with them on shopping trips.

When making initial furniture choices, renters should focus on the largest, long-term purchases, such as sofas, beds, a dining table and lighting. Having a budget helps consumers match what they can afford with the best quality furnishings available in their price range.

Purchasing one or two upscale pieces can elevate the look of less expensive furniture. Shopping auctions and flea markets, as well as accepting furnishings that family and friends no longer want, is a frugal way to fill in the gaps.

A window treatment can become a focal point by installing a valance that goes well with a number of window coverings, from custom drapery to fabric roller shades. The valance can match wood tones in the apartment, while fabric in the treatment can complement colors and patterns in other soft furnishings.

HGTV also recommends taking out standard issue ceiling lights and replacing them with stylish chandeliers that can be removed when the apartment dweller moves on to their next home. "Lighting is an inexpensive way to decorate and instantly improve the atmosphere of a rented space," states the website. "Dimmer lights are great for controlling the ambience, and canister lamps placed on the floors wash light up the walls."

Just because apartment layouts are generally rectangular doesn't mean the individual who lives there has to leave it that way. One way to avoid having the dining and living rooms look as though they are in a line is to divide each space with a large indoor plant, bookcase or artwork that can divide the areas according to how they are used. Round tables and curves in other furniture pieces also soften the edges of a squared-off room.
 
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