While several of my friends have very lenient landlords or their own home, a bunch of us are still in rental property. I know "now is a great time to buy" but I'm not quite ready for home ownership and knowing one isn't ready is more important than the housing market.
As a result of renting, trying to make a place one's own can be a bit of a challenge. Many landlords don't allow tenants to paint--even if the tenant knows they'll have to paint it back to white upon moving out. While this is understandable (the landlord doesn't want 10 coats of paint on the wall), nothing but dull white walls can make for a very depressing atmosphere.
A few years a friend was contemplating such a problem and, with a little help from the Incredibly-Patient-Mother, the idea of starching fabric to the walls was devised. Simply explained you soak lengths of cotton or a light polyester fabric in liquid starch (available in the detergent aisle of the grocery) and hang it on the wall like wallpaper. Pre-measuring, a knife to trim edges after it's dried, and extra fabric is recommended. When you're ready to move out, simply pull the fabric off the wall, wash the remaining starch off the walls and you're back to white walls. I recommend washing the fabric beforehand so there is less chance of dye bleeding and staining the wall, particularly if one is using a dark fabric (we used dark red for Mr. Green's room). Lighter colored fabric is probably not a bad idea, and it's a fun way to use prints besides throw pillows and curtains.
Another option AudioGirl* pointed out to me today: decals. She's decorating a new apartment and looking for functional options to provide some color to her new, white kitchen. Considering the bright and varied palette of the apartment we used to share, I can imagine all white walls are a bit tedious for her. She found funky and fun designs at Blik that aren't your average window cling. As she and I were the masterminds behind Mr. Green's room, I imagine she'll have some great ideas in her new place.
And me? I'm just doing a lower panel of one kitchen wall. But it'll be different!
*AudioGirl = Formerly-Known-As-Roomie. It's been six months, time to re-nickname.