Once you’ve moved out of the dorms, your options may be limited when it comes to apartment hunting. When you’re finally able to get your own space, you might not love your landlord’s outdated or quirky design elements. While you can’t pull out your ugly carpeting, you can cover it up. We’ve put together a few of our favorite ways to cover boring apartment carpet with bold and upbeat area rugs, some secret-weapon decor, and professional designer tricks.
- Deflect with Decor
Most of the apartments available to new graduates aren’t exactly luxurious. You might have awkwardly shaped windows, hastily painted walls or unfinished floors. When you can’t renovate your space, create a design diversion. Using decor that is attention-grabbing, bright, and based on your personal taste can alleviate some of the stress of decorating your new place. If you can’t change your paint, add art or mirrors to take the focus away from the wall color. To distract visitors from oddly engineered windows, choose long, lush curtains in dark gray or navy for a luxe vibe. Opt for pullbacks with visual interest, like metallic finishes or rope. If your carpet is particularly lackluster, use an area rug to deflect from its boring design. Layering area rugs with complementary colors and patterns also adds extra oomph to any space.
- Go Bold
Nothing says “design aficionado” quite like a pretty pattern or bold statement piece. Whether you have your entire place to yourself or share it with some of your favorite friends, everyone can appreciate a great stylish distraction. We suggest anchoring the living room with a bold, printed area rug. A tribal pattern instantly invigorates the room, while also distracting from your less-than-exciting carpeting. On top of your lively rug, opt for a Lucite or acrylic coffee table to open up the room and provide an extra layer of sheen. Finish your stylish living space with a stack of your favorite glossy magazines and a gorgeously potted plant.
- Next to Neutral
On the other end of the spectrum, you could cover up the less-than-lovely aspects of your apartment by blending them into your design scheme. If your carpet has a beige tone, choose natural fiber rugs with lots of texture to balance the softness of your carpet. Use an earthy color palette to bring a sense of serenity to your space, and complement the soft tones with nature-inspired patterns like subtle florals and foliage. If you feel like your room is lacking something extra, try adding curtains. Hang them at the top of your ceiling and let them cascade down, pooling slightly at the bottom. Choose sheer panels to let the light in, or lined curtains for a little more privacy. If the room still feels too plain, try a curtain with a neutral pattern to spice up your space.
- Push Boundaries
Being bound by your landlord’s rules can cramp your decorating plans. While you may not be able to alter the bones of the apartment, you can push the boundaries with clever design tactics. Use an area rug to infuse style into your space and get the ball rolling on the rest of your apartment’s design. A large, carpet-like rug is a nonpermanent way to up the style factor in your space and cover up unsightly flooring. Another great way to push apartment boundaries is with wall coverings. Self-adhesive strips make it easy for renters to personalize their space without sacrificing their security deposit. Change out the wall covering seasonally, or whenever you want to try a new look. If you’re ready to move on to your next space, just peel it off and pack it up!
- Small Space Saviors
Another challenge you might face when decorating your new apartment is the lack of square footage. While this may seem like a drawback, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Having a small space to work with means you can choose focal pieces that will really stand out instead of getting lost in a bigger, busier room. When looking for an area rug to outfit a cozy apartment, we suggest a classic pattern like stripes or dots to anchor the room and set the tone for the rest of your design. Help make your space seem bigger by placing mirrors directly across from windows for optimal lighting. You can also add wall shelving to free up countertops and surfaces, which opens your apartment drastically.
After choosing an area rug, select artwork, photographs or wall decor that fit your aesthetic and play well with your chosen rug style. Lastly, add lighting and baubles to bring the look full circle. What are some ways that you’ve transformed a bland apartment into your dream space?
By Kerrie Kelly, ASID
California interior designer Kerrie Kelly is a big fan of area rugs and writes tips and tricks for styling all kinds of floor coverings for The Home Depot. She is the founder of her design firm, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. To research area rugs available at Home Depot, including designs discussed by Kerrie, you can click here.