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One of my favorite bloggers, Daniel of Manhattan Nest, wrote a post a while back about the questionable renovation choices of apartment landlords. You should go and read it (and then spend the next two hours scrolling through Daniel’s insanely good DIYs), but here’s the abbreviated version: Landlords have their own creative drives that they act upon in ways both puzzling and terrifying.

I think of that post whenever I contemplate the design choices my own landlord made. My apartment seems to have been pretty recently renovated, which is great, but it also means that all of these things were done on purpose. In this decade.

Let me show you what I mean…

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There are so many questions. Why are there eight different colors of tile? Why is shiny orange wood covering every surface? Will I ever escape this mirrored horror show of a bathroom?

The thing is—the location. I can walk to work, the neighborhood is quiet but feels nicely busy on weekends and evenings, and it’s close to lots of fun spots. And it really is a great apartment. So, we are attempting to make this place look as normal as possible and I am trying to be a normal human being about the stuff we can’t change.

There’s one thing that has made the biggest difference so far, and we almost didn’t do it: painting. You apartment-dwellers know there’s a trade-off here. Sure, you’ll get to live with the color you want for a while, but eventually you have to paint it all back.

Originally, the walls were a depressing shade of yellowed-cream that we tried to live with for a while. After a couple months, we were even getting used to it (a scary prospect in itself). Thankfully we came to our senses and started testing paint colors.

To tone down all the warm wood, I wanted something light and not too strong—a cool gray with blue or green undertones:




After much swatch-ing we went with Benjamin Moore pale oak, which looked fully lavender against our yellowy walls but thankfully mellowed to a nice grayish-white after two coats.

Since so much of our apartment is covered in wood (again, why?), painting was a pretty quick endeavor and I am SO glad we did it. The color actually looks closer to white than whatever was up there before, so I’m hoping that maybe we can just leave it this way when we move. Either way, the apartment feels way more open (and somehow cleaner) than before, so it was absolutely worth it.

Do you have any apartment decor horror stories? Did you bite the bullet and change whatever was bugging you or learn to live with it?

This entry was posted in: DECOR

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