decorating a rental

Photo: Joe Schmelzer from My First Apartment

4 of 6
The Problem: Your Living Room Echo-Echo-Echoes
While your 1890s apartment has beautiful hardwood floors and high ceilings, the echoes they create make your living space sound like the Grand Canyon. If a rug hasn't dampened the noise enough, try installing Schuneman's suggestion in The First Apartment Book for functional works of art: fabric-covered, padded panels. Once hung, they will absorb the reverb and look as pretty as an Ellsworth Kelly painting. To make the panels, cut fabric of your choice to fit a 36-by-48-inch foam-core board, leaving an extra 2-inch border. Next, cut a roll of batting to fit the board, leaving an extra 1-inch around the edges. Place the batting on top of the board, fold the extra batting over the edge and duct tape it down. Lay the board on the fabric square (batting side down) and wrap your fabric over, one side at a time, and duct tape the extra material to the back. Then simply hang the panels up with Sticky Back Velcro tape and firmly press the board to the wall.