Modern apartment decorating... with high-pile shag carpet
May 5, 2020 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Spending 24/7 in our rental apartment has driven home how much I hate the beigey-brown shag carpet and brown accent wall. My decorating aesthetic is more in the direction of modern, black and gray and white with pops of jewel tones -- which totally clashes with our carpet and wall. How do I live with this for another year or two before we move out?

Base parameters:
- It's a rental that we plan to leave in the next 1-2 years, so not worth trying to convince the landlord to let us repaint.
- It has wall-to-wall, dark-tan-colored, high-pile shag carpet. Yeah :/ I'm willing to consider rug layering solutions, but I have a hard time envisoning anything that would work on top of high-pile carpet in a color that I hate. How I wish we had the normal bland cream carpet!

I'm willing to throw some money at this problem; our coffee table and kitchen table in particular have seen better days, as they were garage-sale finds from a cross-country move 5 years ago. However, any investment-level furniture (say >$200) needs to also work with my future mid-century-meets-boho aesthetic in a dream home with wooden floors and cool-toned walls. Bonus points if it's catproof (metal or otherwise non-wooden legs)!
posted by serelliya to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Temporary wallpaper with a green you like in it that doesn’t clash with the beige carpet? A few sheepskin rugs to be boho later and generally go with the fluffy underfoot vibe now?
posted by clew at 2:51 PM on May 5, 2020

At 1-2 years still left to live there, and a single accent wall? I would absolutely ask the landlord if you can repaint. This is not a huge job. You could get it prepped and done in a weekend, or even hire some Craigslist painter who'll do a lovely job for not much money.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:20 PM on May 5, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Art was made for this kind of distraction. I like these murals for a relatively quick and cheap fix. With beige, your options are endless! And you can take them with you. I’ve cut one up to distribute actress walls when needed.
posted by waving at 3:23 PM on May 5, 2020

Is what's under the rug something you could live with any better? The landlord might be glad of that carpet for another unit. And nthing BlahLaLa. Think of it as $1-$2 a week for two years (and that's if you don't DIY).
posted by kate4914 at 3:25 PM on May 5, 2020

If you intend to repaint to a more ... let's say a color with broader appeal, the landlord might even be enthusiastic about agreeing.
posted by praemunire at 3:40 PM on May 5, 2020

Best answer: I find flatweave rugs layer on top of thick carpet pretty well without adding too much bulk. IKEA's rug section has a good selection of big, cheapish but still decent-quality options.

For a single accent wall, I would just repaint (and paint back when I leave). Temporary removable wallpaper is also an option these days.
posted by fifthpocket at 3:46 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Anything you put over carpet will 'walk.' Get a sheet of quality plywood (or 2 and join them). Varnish or paint it, put it on top of the carpet. From time to time you will need to reposition it. You may want to rake the carpet 1st. Or lift a corner, see what's under it.

Black-white-gray-brown-tans s is fine. Accent walls are annoying because people have color preferences. I used to be a landlord; tenants often do terrible paint jobs. Do a really good paint job and prime then paint the brown accent wall to match the other walls.
posted by theora55 at 4:26 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

I lived in a place with a similar feel many years ago - it had old orangey/ brown carpeting that was very 1970’s motel. In setting the place up, I leaned into the “mod“ of modern: curtains with bold graphic prints, a super-shaggy wool flokati rug over the existing rug, and some kitsch-adjacent items from the local goodwill. I kept things spare enough that the bold items didn’t fight with each other, so the place still had an overall modern feel. I wouldn’t want to live in that style forever, but for a couple of years it was loads of fun!

If I was in your situation, I’d start by looking up set images from old Almodovar films for inspiration. Then I’d find a couple good modern anchor items, and fill it in with some playful/creative thrift shopping (which I suppose may have to be online in the current situation). A weird space can be great fun if you talk back to it. Enjoy prompt to try something new!
posted by marlys at 7:30 PM on May 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

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