There is no need to settle for a bland kitchen just because you are renting and can’t change the big stuff. Focus first on your breakfast area, if you have one, and pack in the color.
Paint a set of wicker or bamboo outdoor furniture, throw a vibrant cloth over your table and hang a colorful framed photo or print.
If you have a breakfast bar or counter, pull up a few colorful stools or add new cushions to the ones you’ve got. Be consistent with color and choose tea towels, oven mitts and even pots and pans that play well together.
Pillows are one of the easiest ways to add color to your living room, and they can be swapped out occasionally when you crave change. A neutral couch in white, gray, beige or chocolate is versatile and can handle any cushions you pile on.
Style tip: Choose a theme (for instance, botanicals and florals) to keep even an eclectic collection of pillows feeling pulled together.
It might not be for everyone, but a not-neutral sofa can prove to be nearly as versatile — and much more cheerful, especially in a small space. If you do choose color for your sofa, stick with a solid hue rather than a pattern for the most versatility.
Rolling out a colorful rug is a wonderful way to add warmth, color and pattern to your living space, all in one go. If you find a colorful rug you love with a high price tag, consider buying a smaller size and layering it over a larger (and cheaper) natural-fiber rug.
Painting wooden furniture, whether it’s a piece you’ve had for ages or one you scooped up at the flea market, is a satisfying and fairly easy DIY project. For a creative twist, try tinted chalkboard paint, natural milk paint or tints of a single color to make ombré stripes.
Dining areas in apartments tend to feel a bit bland and impersonal, so this is an area where color can make a huge impact. Try adding your own curtains in a bright, cheerful color like lemon yellow.
Style tip: If you go with bright curtains, choose a neutral rug; if you pick a colorful rug, stick with neutral drapes.
Don’t want to buy a whole new bed? Try some of the new removable wallpaper. Apply it like a wall decal and remove it before you move out.
Have your heart set on real wallpaper? Another Houzz ideabook gives step-by-step instructions for creating a wallpapered panel you can take with you.
Tell us: How do you deal with a rental where you can’t paint?