Think of your apartment as your own -- ask your landlord for permission to paint (offer to repaint when you leave), hang plenty of art, and install draperies. If wall color is off-limits, rethink the furnishings. Use large pieces, even in small spaces, to create interest in place of paint. Trying changing the shape of the room by placing a room divider in a corner -- it allows the eye to flow evenly across the room rather than interrupt it with abrupt corners.
Apple green is stylish without being too trendy. Pair it with a neutral brown sofa -- this custom design boasts clean lines and didn't cost much more than a retail sofa. A $99 IKEA coffee table makes a modern statement (and adds precious storage) in the small space.
It's the little things that make a white-box rental a home, such as adding graphic accent pillows for the couch and a rug to cover up standard apartment flooring. Even something as simple as placing a table lamp on top of a stack of books sends the message that the space belongs to you, not your landlord.
If your living room must double as a home office, don't let the work space overpower the room. Opt for spacious filing cabinets topped with an inexpensive sheet of melamine for lots of storage space and minimal impact on the rest of the room. The lamp is a $10.95 thrift store find with a new shade.
Looking for another deal? These floor-to-ceiling drapery panels are sewn from silk shantung found online for only $11 a yard.
Keep office supplies from taking over your work area by storing them on a vintage tray. Adding personal trinkets affords you a moment's distraction while checking e-mail or paying bills.
Continued on page 2: Dining Room