Sharilyn Wright's studio on apartment therapy.
Apartment living can be a drag in more ways than one. If you can't paint, you are stuck with white walls. Sometimes, the kitchen is smaller than the bathroom. If you are lucky, you have an extra bedroom to create a home office, if not, those ugly file cabinets may have to become part of your decor. And the most common problem in rentals,(heck, even in the house I own), is convenient and plentiful storage.
But hey, no need to fret. Turn that frown upside down and click on your creativity. Challenge yourself to think outside the box you live in and come up with inventive solutions to your rental woes. To help spur that inner designer, here are a few images I found in a great collection of apartment decorating tricks from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.
For the issue of tiny kitchens with little storage, maximize your walls. Hang racks for pots and utensil cups. Maybe you even want to try the Julia Child-esque treatment of a white peg board with painted silhouettes and hooks for each pan.
If an extra bedroom is not in your rental budget, devote a corner or wall in your living space to home office needs. Using a slender card table, sew a fabric skirt to hide file cabinets and computer cords and top the table with a piece of coordinating fabric under custom cut glass. Go vertical with shelves, and hide office necessities in decorative boxes or baskets.
Create different zones in rooms where there are none, by floating your furniture instead of pushing it up against the walls. Place a console table behind the sofa to double as a bill paying center or stick to storage ottomans underneath and some pretty vases on top.
Convert a bookshelf into convenient entry storage by labeling bins or baskets and filling them with scarves, gloves, shoes, office supplies, coats, heck even canned goods, if you don't have ample storage in the kitchen.
Just because you can't paint the walls, does not mean you can't decorate with color! Bring in color on your furniture, throw pillows, curtains and art work. Cover plywood panels with batting and fabric to lean against the walls for visual interest.
To see more inspiring uses of small spaces, visit bhg.com.
To see ideas used by real people in their own apartments, check out apartment therapy.com.