There are cases where apartment complexes allow you to choose from a color wheel of neutral hues before you move in. Some charge a fee for calling in a painter to do the walls, while others offer new paint as a benefit of moving in. If you're not a fan of neutral colors, consider looking for an apartment that allows you to paint the walls a more expressive tone. Otherwise you can invest in boldly colored furniture and posters.
Only a dummy gets involved with so-called "contractors." Hire a qualified actual worker yourself. Check out their resume/background, etc. RULE #1..NO ADVANCE DEPOSITS! Pay daily or weekly or upon satisfied completion according your standard, not workers. Contractors are merely employment agents. If that's the way you get work done, then go ahead and waste your money and wind up with the myriad of problems enumerated upon in the news clip above. RULE#2.. NO SMOKERS. They are lighting up on your money. RULE#3: No cell phones while working. Talk on their own time after work