Cover Up Your Apartment's Worn Floors and Walls

Cover up your undesirable floors with carpet tilesDuring an apartment hunt, many of us have encountered the "too-good-to-be-true" scenario of the perfect apartment. It's in a prime location, the price is within your budget, it's even big enough. As you're about to ask where to sign, the dream comes crashing down. Did you just see '70s-hued linoleum in the kitchen?

Rentals, by the nature of changing hands and having neglectful landlords, are quite often susceptible to the most egregious cosmetic flaws. But that shouldn't necessarily deter you from renting. From linoleum floors to warped walls to musty shag carpeting, there are some easy, cost-effective and reversible ways to fix what you deem atrocious.Ugly Walls
Quick Fix: Temporary Wallpaper, Color Panels and Decals

Many times apartment walls are rippled from being painted umpteen times. Maybe they're banged up from a previous tenant, or the walls are just big, white and boring. For complete coverage, temporary wallpaper can come to the rescue. Take, for instance, Tempaper -- they are vinyl coated self adhesive sheets of paper that come in stylish patterns. You can put it on and pull it off without putting your security deposit in jeopardy. You're able reposition the paper if needed, and you can even order samples of different styles before committing.

Other retailers, like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, offer like-minded products which feature chintz prints and atmospheric murals, such as a sunset, a map of the world or a bigger-than-life stack of books.

For those drab white walls, another idea is to hang color panels. Paint two, equally-sized rectangular sheets of micro-density fiberboard a color of your desire, preferably a strong hue that will contrast with the white background. Hang them on the wall with a hook and loop, mounting strips to either side of your wall.

To conceal smaller areas, try hopping on the decal trend, which works in a fashion similar to temporary wallpaper. These adhesive stickers come in all shapes, styles and subjects, from chandeliers to trees to The Beatles, (and we've definitely covered it here in the past on Rented Spaces -- both the type you purchase and the DIY-style.)

But there are many other ways to cover those imperfect walls - shelving, art objects, furniture with height, mirrored glass, or even vintage postcards covered in plexiglass.

Ugly Floors
Quick Fix: Carpet Tiles, Stenciling, Canvas Floor Clothes and Drawing

Can't bear to look at those dinged-up, ugly floors? First, look to cover the floors with items you already own, for instance, area rugs and big pieces of furniture. If that doesn't do the trick, a simple, salvageable alternative is to buy carpet tiles, a veneer which you place on top of your existing surface. In different colors and patterns, in stripes or with borders, Flor carpet tiles come in approximately 20-inch squares that can cover your rooms wall-to-wall and can travel with you when you move.

One of the most unfortunate discoveries about a dream apartment can be it's linoleum floors. They're slippery, show dirt, and look cheap and dated. Although the process is labor-intensive, they can be repainted by prepping the surface, painting and sealing. Via Apartment Therapy, here are instructions on how to either change the shade of your linoleum or to stencil it. (Of course, ask the landlord about this somewhat permanent solution.)

To avoid the trouble it takes to make a permanent change to your rental, another solution is floor cloths -- they can be mopped, waxed and cleaned just like a typical kitchen tile. If have your own creation in mind, here's how to make it a do-it-yourself project.

An out of the box idea, however, is to draw on your floors. Yes, I said drawing! Okay, maybe not literally, but find a piece of vinyl that fits your room perfectly, and let your imagination go to work with a marker. The upside might be more than makeshift carpeting, it could become your abstract, modern work of art.

So, after all, maybe your dream for the quintessential apartment hasn't been ruined. It may just take a little more imagination and creativity on your part!

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