Renting can be frustrating, not least when you move into an apartment and find the previous tenants left it in a less than desirable state. If you’ve moved into a disaster of an apartment, there are ways to make it feel more like home quickly.
Call Your Landlord
As a new tenant, it’s reasonable to expect to move into a property that is fit to be lived in. If you’ve moved in to find the place was left dirty, get straight on the phone to your landlord or letting the agent and explain the issue. They may agree to send a cleaning company or deal with the mess and save you having to do anything at all. If they won’t arrange for cleaning, make a note on the inventory and take pictures of the condition of the apartment, so you won’t be charged for issues when you move out.
Get Things Clean
Before you move in your belongings, give the apartment a deep clean. If you can, recruit willing friends or family members to help. Clean inside kitchen cabinets, deep clean the oven, clean bathroom fittings and mop any wood or tiled floors. If you have a carpet, hire a carpet cleaning service to get the carpets looking fresher again. Once everything is scrubbed, you have a clean slate to start from to start moving in your belongings and begin fixing up your new home.
Ask To Repaint
If you’re planning to live in this apartment for a while, but it’s clearly been a while since it had a lick of paint, ask if you can repaint it. Choose a neutral color or agree to return the walls to neutral before you move out. A fresh coat of paint can make a grubby apartment feel much fresher. Brighten up the place with light colors on the wall and your apartment will feel less like a dark place to live.
While you’re painting, you could also consider painting some of your furniture. Most young renters have a mix of hand-me-downs, thrift, and cheap mass-produced furniture. The mix of styles can make your apartment feel like student dorms. Rather than replace all your furniture, repaint some of your pieces so they’re all the same color. This will help hide the different styles and make your home feel more cohesive.
Invest In Hard Working Storage
Many rental places are limited on storage space, leaving you struggling with basic things like somewhere to hide ironing board out of sight. Rather than leave among the clutter, invest in furniture that doubles as storage. You could invest in a divan bed that lifts up to reveal storage space, or a large hollow ottoman for the lounge, to store out of season clothes, spare bedding or items like Christmas decorations. A chest can be used as a coffee table, a bedside table or even as extra seating with some cushions on top of it, while still offering storage space inside.
Disguise less than beautiful walls, hang pieces of art, not posters. Framed posters look more grown-up, and art in frames, even if it’s ready-made pieces from Ikea, adds some color to the walls. If you’re not allowed to put nails into the walls, hang frames with command strips. These clever strips hold up paintings and can be peeled off the wall when it’s time to move out.
Switch Up Fixtures
Some things can be removed temporarily, to give your apartment a better look without losing your deposit. Change out things like drawer pulls and cabinet handles for something more to your taste. Put the original ones and their screws somewhere safe together. When you move out, just swap the handles back to the original ones, and nobody will ever know you changed them. You can do this with door handles too. Do the same thing with curtains. Take down any provided ones that are faded and old-dated, and then hang some of your own. If your apartment has ugly blinds that can’t be taken down, curtains can help disguise them.
Check out my video on how I covered my bathroom countertop with contact paper!
Covering whole walls in removable wallpaper can get expensive, but there are some creative ways you can use it, or contact paper, without buying loads of rolls of it. Cover ugly kitchen cabinets or a visually unappealing fridge with contact paper to give a much more modern look to your kitchen. Create a feature wall with removal wallpaper behind your bed or the sofa.
With just a few simple changes, you can make a dodgy looking rental feel like home, and still claim back your full deposit when you leave.