I'd like my apartment to be really super cool.
August 23, 2007 2:18 PM   Subscribe

In a few weeks I'll be moving into a new apartment. I have the option of painting the walls (as long as they go back to white when I move out), and I'd like to do something really cool. What should I do?

I'll be moving in with 2 other girls into a 2 bedroom apartment (I'll have my own bedroom). We want to do something fun and interesting with it, but we don't know what yet. I should also probably note that we're looking forward to this being a hang-out spot for a lot of our friends. We're thinking about maybe doing a wall of chalkboard paint in the living room. For my part, I'd like at least my bedroom to be more interesting than just a solid color of paint. Stripes maybe? Polka dots? I'm open to anything right now.

Yes, I know it'll be a hassle to paint it back white later, and yes, for that reason it would probably be better to stick with the lighter side of the color spectrum. But I do think I want to paint it, as opposed to, say, hanging up fabric or putting a bunch of posters up. I like painted walls. I think it'll be worth it.

I've scanned through the multitude of posts tagged with "paint" and picked up some good tips, but I guess now I'm looking for anecdotes or ideas relating to apartment-wall-decorating that you've seen or done. Surely some members of the hivemind have done really cool things with their apartments/homes, or have stumbled upon friends' apartments with interesting things done to them, right? Any ideas?
posted by Quidam to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
One of the coolest things I ever saw painted on somebody's wall was a giant blow up of a comic book panel.

Something I always wanted to try was to paint the whole wall in a matte finish, but then paint some text in the same color with a glossy finish.
posted by mkb at 2:24 PM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What about blik wall stickers? I find them awesome even though I have yet to put mine up yet. They are removable so you get an awesome clean design and no hassle when you move out.
posted by pinksoftsoap at 2:28 PM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I just checked out the Blik site pinksoftsoap posted, and got to thinking about one time in a youth org I was in we set up an overhead projector toward a wall, stood in front of it, and traced each other's head/torso shadow onto the wall in pencil, then painted in the silhouettes. It was pretty nifty.
posted by loiseau at 2:38 PM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

If painting ends up being too much work, I say you should rasterbate a totally awesome photo (of the three of you?), get it printed on a wall scroll/tapestry/drapery/shower curtain-type thing at a print shop, and hang that up - then it's portable!
posted by mdonley at 2:57 PM on August 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Apartment Therapy has many posts about painting and other wall decorations.
posted by lemonwheel at 3:03 PM on August 23, 2007

A friend of mine painted a floor-to-ceiling bar code on her wall. It's a really intriguing and simple addition. Paint the room like usual. Once it's dry, put up a bunch of stripes of tape at irregular intervals. Then just paint over that section in a contrasting color and take the tape off. Quick and unexpected.
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 3:06 PM on August 23, 2007

I'm a big fan of tiling LP covers on the walls. I use the double sided velcro tape you can find at any Staples (3m makes it). If you don't have an existing LP collection, go to a thrift store and just pick out a bunch of them that you like. Either way, don't hang them with the vinyl inside, take that out and either toss it or put it in blank LP holders sleeves, which you'll probably need to order online.

You can get crazy with your patterns, but I suggest keeping to simple squares and rectangles. Anything else looks too Trading Spaces to me.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:18 PM on August 23, 2007

Best answer: how fun! loiseau's projector idea is how I plan on painting my living room if I ever get around to it.

designsponge used a wall from an Anthropologie catalog as inspiration for her bathroom walls. If there's a pattern you love, you could do a similar technique. Here's some other ideas with more interesting painting from apartmenttherapy's color contests: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

If you like the Blik idea, there are some other companies with great wall sticker thingies too. My favs are apple pie design and rouge de garance (as seen here).
posted by logic vs love at 3:18 PM on August 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

I've always wanted to do a silhouetted skyline, myself.
posted by Marit at 6:06 PM on August 23, 2007

Response by poster: These are great! Thank you so much for all the awesome replies so far, everyone.

Follow-up question that I just thought of, possibly implied by the original question: is it even possible to paint over chalboard paint and return it to white? Obviously it would take a whole bunch of coats, but... is it possible? Is it a different consistency than real paint? I've never actually used the stuff.
posted by Quidam at 7:39 PM on August 23, 2007

I've never painted over chalkboard paint, but I'm sure you could - I have my front door painted in chalkboard paint, and draw stuff on it all the time. The texture/consistency is similar to that of a really, really flat latex paint. I think you could throw a couple of coats of primer on top of it and then dump a couple of coats of white on it and that would cover it up.

I totally dig having chalkboard paint to draw on, also.
posted by bedhead at 8:05 PM on August 23, 2007

You can also cover the wall in magnetic paint, and then cover that with a coat of regular paint. Presto! Magnetic walls! You can then hang whatever you want right to your walls with magnets.

No idea what these magnets do to the brainwaves...
posted by prophetsearcher at 9:06 PM on August 23, 2007

So this is what we're doing in our house...on one wall.

Go to your favorite urban recycler (Urban Ore for us), purchase x number of old interior doors painted a variety of colors, put them on the wall, put a shelf over the doors, you may have to sand and seal the doors, but it looks cool as hell.

We liberated this idea from our favorite restaurant.
posted by iamabot at 9:47 PM on August 23, 2007

My friend painted her room like a leaf of red chard...dark red stripe down the middle and a gradient of rich greens spreading out. It was absolutely gorgeous. I seriously think about it all the time.
posted by crinklebat at 1:17 AM on August 24, 2007

Response by poster: Again, thank you all for the fantastic ideas!

I love the wall sticker ideas. I'm not sure it'll be in my budget, but if I can swing it, I'm there.

And I marked logic vs love's reply because i LOVE LOVE LOVE the look of this room. I think I'll paint my bedroom that way, with one wall of an awesome geometric pattern like that, in shades of blue.

Thank you all so much!
posted by Quidam at 2:36 PM on August 24, 2007

I'd either paint a huge full wall-sized bird or a landscape. Will take a while though.
posted by rainy at 11:39 AM on August 25, 2007

crinklebat: "My friend painted her room like a leaf of red chard...dark red stripe down the middle and a gradient of rich greens spreading out. It was absolutely gorgeous. I seriously think about it all the time."

Crinklebat... is there any way you could post a link to a picture here? I'm curious and not able to envision it.
posted by loiseau at 11:26 PM on August 26, 2007

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