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Ideas for decorating an apartment without paint

Apartment dwellers may feel limited in their decorating efforts because they can't always paint their walls, but there are plenty of ways to beautify without paint.It might seem daunting at first: You want to give your rental apartment a fresh look but the lease won't allow repainting. Walls are typically white, eggshell or perhaps light gray, and you'd prefer to see more vibrant colors in the living space.Actually, the neutral wall color is good news, since you now have an easel, so to speak, for expressing your taste and personality. For example, if you cherish a lovely wall hanging of the tulip fields of Holland, you can rest assured the light gray or white paint will accentuate the piece and present it in its best light. This is true of all artwork, which is rarely improved by hanging it on a green or orange wall. You don't have to own or buy expensive artwork, either. Besides combing flea markets or garage sales for watercolors or prints that you find appealing, you can also create your own art by framing a length of fabric that works with your space and with the other items, such as personal photos, that you choose to include.Don't overlook the small details: Decorative switch plates and plug covers, available in literally thousands of materials, themes and colors, can be just what you need to customize a cookie-cutter space and are easily installed with a screwdriver. When you move, take them off and replace them with the original standard switch plates.Cover the carpet with area rugs If yours is like most apartments, you have serviceable carpeting that's functional but hardly fashionable. Real Simple magazine suggested topping the carpet du jour with a vintage oriental rug, which manages to be faded and richly elegant at the same time. You can, however, use any area rug to achieve the look you're seeking.Southern Living magazine recommended laying area rugs over carpet for the textural advantages. Not only does the right area rug add texture, but it helps define a space: For example, a living room area might be topped with a braided jute rug and the bedroom with a charming needlepoint version.Open up with mirrors Finally, consider adding mirrors wherever you can, since they open up a space, add interest and reflect light beautifully.Somewhat under-appreciated as a decorating tool, a mirror, perhaps set in an antique picture frame, can help transform the uniform square footage of your rental apartment into a satisfying and lovely living space.

How to spruce up your entryway in a snap

What kind of space do you enter every time you open the front door to your home? If you haven't thought much about your entryway, it's time to give this bit of your house some attention. After all, it's the first thing that guests see when they step inside your home, and it gives them their first taste of your style. Make a good impression by jazzing up your entryway with some of the following touches.Eye-catching light fixture Whether your style is more about grand chandeliers or interesting architectural lanterns, Houzz recommended using a special light fixture in your entryway. Not only will it look interesting, but it can dictate the lighting in your space, giving it a soft glow or an energizing brightness.Bold runner Real Simple magazine stressed using a bold runner to draw guests into your home. It shouldn't run the entire length of your hallway, though, and make sure that it's not touching the surrounding furniture to give it a more open effect. This will encourage guests to look father into your home and come inside.Smart storage Something like a dresser, cubbies or hanging hooks is essential in an entryway, where people might be shedding their shoes or outerwear. Make your storage solutions stand out by choosing interesting or unique pieces that you wouldn't find in a store.Interesting switch plates Add intrigue by swapping out your old wall switch plates and plug covers for more decorative models. Stone or wood switch plates can make an elegant impact without making your design seem cluttered. You might even want to choose different colors of the same material for your switch plates if you're going for an eclectic vibe.Fun wall display Get creative with the items you put on your walls in the entryway. Give your guests something to look at by taking advantage of several different sized pictures or paintings, or go even bolder with a collection of found items, like signs, mirrors or even ceiling medallions painted the color of your walls for a fun texture.Mirrors A collection of interesting mirrors or just one large piece works to add a sense of space to an entryway - even if it's not that big. It'll also help reflect light around the space, brightening it up. You can even use it to check your appearance before you head out the door each day!

10 elements of an Art Deco-inspired bathroom

Does your bathroom need a fresh design? If your fixtures are dated and you're looking for an interesting way to add life to your space, Art Deco design might be the answer. This style originated in the period between the two world wars and is still popular in designs today. Featuring parallel lines, geometric patterns and futuristic shapes, Art Deco can add a touch of class to any bathroom. Here are 10 ways to make it happen.1. Subway tile Subway tiles are everywhere in Art Deco designs, and they fit right into a bathroom's shower space or sink backsplash.2. Black and white Black and white color schemes are no-brainers in Art Deco designs, which played with the two contrasting shades endlessly. Use these two colors for an easy, failsafe design.3. Switch plates Art Deco decorative switch plates are the perfect complement to the bathroom walls. With crisp lines and geometric patterns, they'll be completely eye-catching.4. Mosaic A geometric mosaic is a perfect way to add interest to your bathroom's tile. Whether it's parallel lines running across the wall or an intricate pattern in the shower stall, tiled designs are throwbacks to the 1920s and '30s.5. Scalloped edges A fan-shaped mirror or scalloped sink are visually appealing and totally embody the style of the era. If you choose one bold piece, make the rest of your design a bit more subdued to avoid going over the top.6. Shiny metals Metallic touches with high-shine finishes are so perfect for Art Deco spaces. It's easy to incorporate these pieces into a bathroom with fixtures, mirrors, towel racks and accessories.7. Glass Lots of glass should be incorporated into an Art Deco design. Stained glass details and wavy glass-paneled privacy walls are big attention grabbers.8. Green For whatever reason, green was a big color to add to black and white design schemes in the Art Deco era. Add some seafoam green or jade elements to get the look.9. Marble Elegant swirled marble is prominent in Art Deco-themed bathrooms. Choose black, white or shades of gray for the most authentic look to add to your design.10. Lux details Anything that screams luxury has a place in an Art Deco bathroom. Chandeliers, elegant candle holders, gilded frames and over-the-top flower arrangements are all fair game. Just make sure they're in high-shine finishes.

Copper: Your new best friend in interior design

When it comes to metallic colors, silver and gold tend to reign supreme. Just ask anyone to name you a metal or two, and those are most likely the first ones they'll think of. But there are several other metals that often get forgotten, like tin, copper and bronze. If you want to break free of the silver and gold mold, the warm shade of copper might be just the thing. It's bold, interesting and can act as a neutral with a variety of colors. Here's how you can make copper your new best friend in your decor.Go big in the kitchen The kitchen is a great place to start your redesign with copper. A variety of kitchen supplies can be found in this metal, including pots, pans, tea kettles and platters. Make sure these items are on display by taking advantage of shelves, wall space and glass-fronted cabinets. You can add other accents of your own, like a copper switchplate, sculpture or even copper-hued dish towels or wall paint.Add warmth to modern spaces If you love modern design, you probably have a lot of sleek elements and neutral color schemes in your home. Black and white decor is a popular choice, but it can feel a little stark without the addition of an accent color to add intrigue. Copper is a great choice as an accent in neutral spaces because it can warm up the feel of the room and break up the monotony. A copper-colored accent wall, sofa or area rug can make a space glow. Add decorative switch plates made of copper and choose unexpected fixtures like lamps, too.Give character to a bathroom Modern bathroom design can be a bit boring if you don't take a few steps to give them character. One way to do this without breaking a sweat is by implementing copper accent pieces. There's nothing better than a copper soaking tub in a bathroom, which looks luxurious and gives the room an antique feel. Copper fixtures are also good options for the lights, sink and bath or shower. Even copper toothbrush holders and soap dispensers are surprising and elegant.Be dramatic in a hallway If you want to really make your home stand out, use copper in a big way. A hallway painted a warm shade of copper will look glamorous paired with black accessories and other warm-colored accents, like yellow, red and orange. It may be bold, but it'll really impress your guests.

How to decorate with 2014's color of the year

If you're thinking of updating your interior design for the new year but are stumped as to where to start, Pantone Inc.'s Color of the Year for 2014 might help. If you recall, the hottest color of 2013 was Emerald, but things are going in a different direction now that Radiant Orchid is the new choice."While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination," Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained in a press release. "An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today's society."With this shade of purple and perhaps a few others, you can embrace that creative spirit and make your home a more interesting space. Consider these design ideas for using purple.Start small If you're wary about using purple in something like your living room or bedroom, start small in a space like your bathroom or laundry room. You may want to begin by choosing purple switch plates and outlet covers, which will add a fun whimsical element to your design. If you're a little bolder, try painting an accent wall purple or using purple wallpaper. Serious enthusiasts can go with all four walls.Choose dark or light The shades of purple you choose will dictate the feel of the room. Something lighter and pinker like Radiant Orchid is more playful, while deeper purples evoke sophisticated taste. Go with a lighter purple in your daughter's room or in a guest bathroom, and choose darker purple for something like your living room or dining room. If you can't decide which shades you want to go with, mixing them won't be a problem - it'll make the space feel more dynamic.Add accents to a neutral space You don't have to make a huge commitment if you want to liven up your rooms with purple. As long as you have a neutral backdrop, purple accent pieces will do just fine. Choose plug covers, throw pillows, vases, flowers and curtains to add touches of purple anywhere. When they're mixed with neutrals like white, beige, cream and brown, they'll stand out without seeming like too much. Then, if you ever feel like a change, it'll be simple to choose a different accent color - like maybe next year.

Use a dimmer switch to set the mood in your home

​Why just have the lights go on and off when you can have a full range to choose from? A dimmer switch can allow you to change the mood in your home from bright and cheery to intimate and private in just seconds, so you'll be sure to have the best parties and other events in your home. Pair it with the perfect switch plate and you'll be sure to impress. When having a party If you're having a party in your home, you'll want to make sure that you can control the lighting. Being able to start off with bright, energetic light will make your guests more comfortable during the cocktail hour of your event, and you can use a dimmer switch to lower the lights during dinner so your guests can focus on one another while the meal is being served. This can also allow you to use candles and other alternative light sources that can make your entire party feel more personal while giving you the freedom to choose just how dim you want it to be. Country Living magazine noted that if you want to have parties outside, the lighting plays a huge role. As the light fades during the course of the meal, you can slowly add more light from overhead or inside for your guests' convenience. This will help them see their conversational partners and their dessert, too. For personal gatherings Using your dimmer switches doesn't always have to coincide with a big party - you can enjoy these practical necessities every day. Any time that you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by full light, try lowering it just a tad with your dimmer switch. This can help you enjoy natural light for a little longer as the day winds on toward night. Your light control can also make for a more personal conversational space. Whether it's with your child, your spouse or your friend, you can set the perfect tone for your next talk with a dimmer switch, darkening the room so that you and your guest can have the most focus. Better Homes and Gardens magazine noted that the lighting can make or break any room, so be sure that you have total control of the mood. 

Tips for making your home more eco-friendly

Eco-friendly decor is the wave of the future - not only is it stylish and trendy, but it can also save you money, too! By cutting down on your energy costs, you can save on your monthly bills and make your home look and feel more modern. Here are a few tips to make your home more energy-efficient and chic at the same time. Consider how you use light Light can play a huge part in making your home more energy-efficient. Simple changes like installing dimmer switches can help you save on your electric bills and make for a brand new ambiance in your home. Try replacing a few of your most-used light switches with dimmers so you can use only the amount of electricity that you need.Another idea is to use switch plates that make it impossible to forget to turn off the light. By using colorful switch plates, you can add a fresh sense of style to your home while making sure that you turn off the lights every time you leave the room. It's a perfect win-win!Taking advantage of natural light can also help you save on electricity. HGTV noted that south-facing windows get the most light, so remember to keep any windows facing south in your home unobstructed so you can take full advantage of Mother Nature's eco-friendly lighting.Control heat to save electricity Whether you use air conditioning or just fans in your home, finding simple ways to keep your rooms cool in the summer can help you save electricity. Blocking out some light from entering during the summer can help keep cool, and you can use funky tapestries or brand new window treatments to control the levels of heat coming inside. Not only will this help keep your room cooler, but adding a few new light-blocking decorations can also stop the sun from damaging your furniture, carpets and artwork. During the winter, it's also easy to save on heating costs by adding some fresh decor. Thick area rugs can help insulate your room, making it warmer, and they'll feel great underfoot. Using thick drapes over your windows can stop heat from escaping, so you don't need to pay extra to stay warm this winter. 

Tips for placing your light switches at the perfect level

Knowing not only what kind of switch plate to get but exactly where it should go can be tricky. Luckily, we're here to help. Knowing where you should put your light switch in a room you're remodeling or just tweaking can make your entire space feel much more comfortable for you and your guests.Hang it like a piece of art Your switch plates have been made with the same craftsmanship and attention as a piece of art, so it's best to treat your light switches like functional artworks. To find the right balance between visual and physical perfection, first think about where you would like to see a typical light switch. Normally, you'd want to have it within easy reach as you walk by, so hanging it around shoulder level is usually fine. Of course, if you have kids or are in a home full of shorter or taller people than average, feel free to arrange things just how you like them. When it comes to matching your switch plates with the rest of the art in your home, you shouldn't worry too much about lining up the tops and bottoms of your pieces. Better Homes and Gardens magazine noted that you'll likely have better luck going by the center of your pieces than the edges. This will make sure that everything feels like it's hanging just right and bring balance to your walls. For hanging art, you generally want the middle of the piece to be at eye level for easy viewing. When you combine art and functionality similar to a hand-crafted ceramic switch plate, you might find it best to meet in the middle and place your light switch right between eye and shoulder level. This will make sure that you and your guests can appreciate the pieces you choose while still being able to easily flick the switch. Note the differences between a light switch and an art piece One thing you may notice about a light switch is that you can't easily move it like you could a painting. To make sure you get the placement right, Stellers Gallery noted that it may be a good idea to make a template of the room you're redoing and work from there. This will give you a preview of what your finished work will look like without any of the hassle. 

Secrets for using splashes of color and light to brighten any space

Changing lighting changes color: Here are some ways to use paint and lighting to make breath-taking changes in any room of your home. Have you ever chosen a paint color in the store, only to bring it home and find that it looked totally different? It's sometimes called the "chameleon effect," but you can think of it as a decorating tool for brightening and transforming your home.Changing the color of paint has always been one of the simplest and least expensive ways to make a major change in the look of a space - that's true leverage. When you add the component of light, whether it's natural light or light from wall or overhead fixtures, lamps or even candles, the difference can be spectacular. Paint is an essential decorating tool, and re-doing a space refers not only to walls but also to tables, benches and everything else that can be improved with a fresh coat of paint.Begin with a vision Start by visualizing what you want to create - How will it look and feel? What is the space used for, and who will be using it?Eve Ashcraft, color consultant and founder of Eve Ashcraft Studio told Elle Decor that the first step is to ask yourself what the room is for. She added:"I had a client who only used one of his rooms at night so he wanted it to look best then. This made all the difference in picking out the right color."The color choice: Warm chocolate brown."It looked great with lamplight," said Ashcraft.Her general principle is that if the space is cool and dark, add warmth, and if it's bright, use cool colors.Light it right Once you've chosen the color of paint, you're ready to add the internal lighting components. Select chandeliers, track lighting and table lamps that not only reflect your taste but also add the level of additional light you want to achieve. There's a wealth of ideas for decorating with light, from using suspended lighting or lamps to accentuate sculptures, paintings or even fireplaces, and then you can add accessories that fit the mood and the purpose. For example, you can add decorative switch plates in a huge choice of styles and colors, some in reflective metals like antique brass and copper that will contribute to your pairing of color and light or unusual outlet covers that turn ordinary items into decorating tools.Whatever your choices, you can use the chameleon effect with ease and with astonishing results.

Decorating tips for bathrooms of all sizes

If you've recently purchased some new plug covers or switch plates, you're probably trying to think of the best room to put them in. While the living room or bedroom may seem like obvious options, you shouldn't forget about the bathroom. All too often, people neglect to spend as much time and effort on decorating their bathroom as they do the rest of their home, forgetting that it's one of the rooms that most guests are likely to visit. Whether you have a small bathroom or a large one, there are many simple ways to improve its aesthetic. Transform a large bathroom Southern Living magazine explained that a large bathroom should have lots of light in it. This means that not only do you want to make sure that there are plenty of lights installed and that you pair them with the best decorative switch plates, but you also need to have windows. Windows placed high up in a bathroom will allow there to be a lot of natural light, without compromising the privacy that is needed in the bathroom. Furthermore, if you have a lot of space to fill in a bathroom, don't just fill it with generic things such as mirrors or pictures of flowers. Instead, include some items that represent your community. The bathroom is a great place to show some character, so if you live in a costal town, you may want to have jars of local beach rocks. If you live in an area near a major sports arena, decorate your bathroom with items that represent the local team. Decorating a small bathroom If you have a smaller bathroom, Better Homes and Gardens magazine has a few great ways to spruce it up. For example, if you install a wall-mounted sink, then you'll not only have more floor space but also something unique that surprises your guests. This Old House magazine explained that lighting is key in a small bathroom. To make the space appear larger, you should consider installing task and ambient lighting throughout places such as over the shower or bath and around the vanity. Of course, no matter what size bathroom you have, the easiest way you can change its look is by getting some new switch plates or outlet covers. 


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