A Fresh Start
If you're simply looking for coverage, a neutral color or even colorful geometric patterns can be a great way to go. Geometric shapes tend to lend order to what can sometimes be color chaos, especially if you're working to incorporate multiple colors or tie together various spaces.
You can also go for a piece that will evoke a certain feeling or era -- such as a boldly-colored Oriental rug, or a super-thick shag carpet that feels like heaven to your feet.
You'll never be able to get rid of all the clutter and paperwork you may find as you begin to go through your belongings, but you can store things in a creative way that will be aesthetically pleasing and help you stay organized. For example, this simple storage box from Ikea is perfect for a small space where every inch counts. Boxes like this are ideal for containing unsightly things you just have to hold on to, like paperwork or desk supplies.
One of my favorite solutions is to use collapsible fabric boxes that fit accommodating shelves, but will also usually fit on bookshelves or under desks. They help create a color theme, and no one ever has to see your disorganized stuff.
Along these lines, under bed storage is another hidden space-saver. It's unlikely that someone would even notice these boxes, since they are small and non-descript. But they contain odds and ends perfectly, especially in a place where space is at a premium.
Adding strategically-placed greenery can give a room a gentle, calming atmosphere. Plants aren't likely to be the focal point of a space, but you'll be surprised how much oomph they add to a room or corner.
If you don't have room for a big floor plant, consider smaller potted plants on bookshelves or in the kitchen. Greenery -- whether real or artificial -- is always a good, simple addition to any space as they bring a bit of the outdoors in.
Paint is a relatively cheap way to change the tone of a room. Keep this in mind especially if you're moving -- and paint before you move everything in and unpack. Be sure to plan out a color scheme well ahead of time, so you'll have a plan for how to accessorize.