Decorating Disasters

Every apartment has at least one feature that’s a potential decorating disaster – ugly carpets, peeling linoleum, low ceilings.  Learn what to do to handle these uber ugly flaws.

Heaters and Air Conditioners

Many older rental apartments still have some fairly obnoxious wall units that can overwhelm any apartment. 

  • Use a decorative screen to hide them when not in use.
  • Hang a curtain over it, either a single panel or two.  Pull back with tiebacks or a hook when it’s in use, at least the curtain will take some of the focus off of it even if it still needs to be visible when working.
  • If it’s a window unit air conditioner, use curtains to hide as well when not in use.  Take it out at the end of the season.  Hide it in the closet if you have to.

Ugly Carpets

Every renter has had to deal with ugly carpets at one time.  My nightmare was purple shag.  If it had been quality shag, it could have been pretty cool, but it was cheap and grape colored.

Area rugs to the rescue -  throw them right over the carpet and cover it up.  There are special rug pads that are used between rugs and carpets that keep them from bunching up.  Try not to mix and match patterns with carpets and area rugs, it’s too overwhelming.

Ugly Tile and Beat Up Wood

There’s nothing more unappealing in the kitchen or bath than dingy tile.  If it won’t scrub clean, area rugs are again an option.  For a more seamless look, carpet tiles can step up to the plate and cover any ugly floor.  Since they’re removable, take them with you when you go.

Hideous Kitchen Cabinets

If there really horrible, ask the landlord if painting them white is an option.  He may appreciate the upgrade.  Make sure you remove the hardware when painting, it can usually be done with a simple screwdriver.  If you can’t paint, and you plan on staying for awhile:

  • Switch out the hardware – save the ugly stuff to switch back before you move out;
  • If they’re really bad, consider taking the doors off and hiding them in the closet and pretending they’re just open shelving instead of ugly cabinets with no doors.

Low Ceilings

Lower floor apartments can have some fairly low ceilings, making the apartment seem smaller than it actually is.  Hopefully, at least they’re painted white. 

  • Use torchiere lamps to make them look taller;
  • Hang curtains or window treatments above the window frame to make the windows look taller; and
  • Used vertical striped window treatments to make the walls look taller, bright stripes will help focus attention away from the ceilings.

Don’t let one ugly design feature in an apartment deter you, there’s a solution available if the apartment’s right in every other way.