Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

April 11, 2013

Easy Ways to Add Personality to a Home

Yesterday I bemoaned the fact that our first home is a temporary home, so every design decision is made with strangers in mind.  This means no hot pink tile, painted wood floors, or turquoise ceilings.  But we still try to add personality to our space.  After all, we live here now!  For anyone else in a temporary spot (especially renters), here are some great ideas for keeping things neutral (like flooring, walls, kitchen cabinets and drapes), but still adding some personality.

Colourful art is obviously my not-so-secret weapon for jazzing up very house-buyer friendly white walls.  If I think some of our art might be too bold for potential buyers to see past, it's easily stashed in the basement and replaced with a black and white photo.  Easy.  

Desire to Inspire
California Home Design
Large scale paintings can replace ambitious and trendy ideas like wallpaper and even wilder ideas like handwritten wall designs.  

Cool handwritten wall on A Beautiful Mess & a handwritten painting, Kristin Peake Interiors
Furniture and more. 
I have few really colourful pieces of furniture, but they are a great way to add colour and spunk to a room with neutral walls and floors.  Bri Emery's new living room has simple wood floors, white walls and drapes and a neutral rug (all sell-friendly) but the furniture and art make the room special.  Even the addition of a cheery lamp and glossy table already lend the room great personality.  Although some buyers can be turned off by even personal items (like furniture and accessories) they are easy to swap out - especially if you have a friend with neutral furnishings - temporarily.  Much less commitment than turquoise walls or kitchen cabinets.

Design Love Fest
House to Home

Stealthy Style.
I like the idea of sneaking colour into stealthy spots: like the inside of kitchen cabinets.  Like my secret Pyrex stash, it's a little treat every time you open the cupboards but isn't a large enough colour commitment to scare off potential buyers and, if you're worried, it takes very little paint to cover it up!

A Beautiful Mess
Less is more.
A home-stager advised our neighbours to remove quite a bit of their furniture.  Her guideline was to ask each homeowner to remove about 70% of their furniture and knick knacks to show off a home to its fullest potential.  We're trying to keep our home uncluttered to begin with, because I have no idea where to put 70% of a home's stuff when it's time to sell and, further, moving stuff is awful.  So we make the most of each item.  Sometimes all a spartan room needs is one pretty thing.  A small, thoughtful detail can really make an impact.

Desire to Inspire
Annie McElwain
Apartment Therapy
Calculated Risks.
Quirky little details, like a house number in a tiled entryway, are a small enough risk to take.

Four Men and a Lady
Embrace Neutral.
Who said neutral is boring?  A space with quietly layered textures and shades is sell-able, and loveable.  

me oh my!
Desire to Inspire
Desire to Inspire
Are you a renter, or selling soon?  How do you keep your space neutral enough for someone else, but still personal enough to be "yours"?  What would turn you off an apartment or house that you were considering?


  1. Great tips! And they also apply to me as a renter. I obviously am not going to invest >$$ in things that I can't take with me. Things like art and furniture are great portable ways to bring a little you to the space. Thanks!

    1. Happy these tips help!! We rented before buying the townhouse, so I know firsthand how important it was to make the apartment feel homey but not spend a dime on anything we couldn't take with us. We didn't even paint it! That's when I learned to love all-white walls, lol. Lots of my friends went the paint walls route and then were really upset when it came time to leave (and sometimes landlords made them pay to paint it back to a neutral, too!).

  2. Such nice places and ideas for adding color that is not permanent.
    We recently decided to start looking for a larger home and the definite turn offs are carpet. Now that we laid hardwood in our home anything else is just not going to cut it. Also looking at new constructed homes have made me love our home that was constructed with character and functional layout, and our home is only 6 years old. But looking at the cuts that new construction has made these days is really a turn off as well. Maybe we will stay put until things start to bounce back and companies take the time to make a decent home.

    1. Yes, carpet is a major turn off for us as well. It's a shame that new construction is not always good quality! There is something enticing about just moving in and not doing an back breaking work. I hope you're able to find a perfect, larger home, without compromising too much (ideally, not at all, lol). Your home looks so lovely from blog photos, so I can also understand not wanting to move because you love your space so much :)


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