When you choose one of the rental properties available to call home, it may not meet your idea of an ideal place to live. But this doesn’t mean you are stuck with it the way it is. You can make changes and renovations to customize it a little.
Renter friendly renovations are usually easy to complete over a weekend and affordable, as the average apartment dweller doesn’t want to put a lot of money or effort into upgrading a place they don’t own themselves. Simple DIY projects are a good way to spruce up the apartment until your lease is over, and less expensive than projects that use a remodeling contractor.
When you’re selecting renter friendly renovations to work on in your apartment, try to select projects that can easily be completed and do not require you to damage wall or flooring surfaces. If you do want to change the location of a wall or swap out flooring, a remodeling contractor should come in and perform this work for you to avoid you damaging the plumbing or electric systems. If you take on large scale, skilled projects without this help, you risk doing damage your renters insurance might not cover. The last thing you want is for your renter friendly renovations to end up costing you more money out of pocket than you planned due to damage in the apartment.
With these parameters in mind, here are some renter friendly renovations you can plan to take on this year:
Change the Look of Cabinetry
One of the simplest kitchen remodeling projects is upgrading your cabinets to make them look new, using a new stain to change the color and look of the kitchen. Dented or dirty cabinet fronts make the whole kitchen look older than it is and take away from the other finishes in the kitchen, like the floors and countertops. In order to refinish your cabinetry yourself, you simply remove the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Next, you sand down the front of these surfaces and the cabinetry and refinish them with a new paint or stain. This gives a totally new look but is cost-effective compared to having new cabinets and drawer fronts installed. This cabinet remodeling project also allows you to keep using your kitchen as you work on the renovation, so even if it takes you a little longer than you projected to complete, you can still cook and eat in the apartment instead of having to get takeout. This helps keep the extra costs that can crop up as the result of your renter friendly renovations low.
Upgrade your Bathroom Experience
You can make the bathroom function better by adding some new technology to complement the older built-in features of your bathroom, like a pedestal sink or a claw foot bathtub. The bathroom is an ideal place for renter friendly renovations as there are often new technologies that are easy to incorporate into this space. Increase the lighting in the bathroom space by using LED light bulbs that give a softer, whiter light that helps you relax when you take a relaxing bath. Add heated towel bars to make it more pleasant to get out of the shower on cold winter mornings. Replace the existing old-fashioned shower head with one that incorporates massage and different spray patterns like the ones found in a fancy hotel. None of these changes require complicated tools or specialized skills to incorporate into the bathroom, meaning almost anyone can do this kind of bathroom remodeling without much experience.
Set the Mood in Each Room
Hiring a painter or recruiting some friends to repaint your apartment is a cheap and fun renter friendly renovation anyone can do with a small budget. How you decorate and set up the rooms of the home can make a big difference in how you and your visitors feel when you hang out in those spaces. You can use bold colors and interesting tropical wallpaper to change the mood of a room from boring and plain to a resort inspired space that encourages people to feel relaxed and ready to party. The peel and stick wallpapers available on the market today are easier to apply than traditional wallpaper and just as easy to remove when the lease ends. With color infused into the space, it can look more spacious and bring a vibrant, happy mood. If you need a calm, serene space where you can get away from the stress of daily city life, use more neutral colors and softer lighting to keep the energy in the space calming.
Make The Apartment Work for You
Don’t let the conventional layout of an older New York City apartment hold you back from customizing it to work for you. Just because a space was given a purpose in the original design doesn’t mean this is set in stone. You can always change things around to make the space more useful for your lifestyle. For example, if you don’t often cook or host people for meals, a dining room space may not serve a purpose for you. Instead, you can turn it into a home office so you can work anytime, neutral space for shooting videos, homeschool classroom for kids, workout room with the equipment you need to stay in shape or another kind of space that serves your needs better.
Add an Entertaining Space
A bar area where guests can hang out and chat as they make a drink or get a snack might be more useful to you than a dining space, large living room, or den area, especially if you have an active social life and love to entertain friends. Your wet bar design can center around open counter space you have in the apartment, or you can bring in a bar cart that can move to different parts of the apartment. If you have a terrace or outdoor space and you’re looking for renter friendly renovations, a bar can move outside for the summer months so your guests can take advantage of warm days and starry summer nights. Though you may not have much square footage to work with, you can make it inviting and cozy for your closest friends to come by at a moments notice.
Upgrade Small Details
Making large changes to the apartment can seem overwhelming, especially if you aren’t experienced in DIY. Instead of starting with large projects, try making a series of small changes that slowly change the look of the place and help it function better. Changing out small things like doorknobs, light switch covers and wall grilles might seem too precise to make a difference, but they actually make the place look refined by adding a touch of class to your apartment. Glass doorknobs give an old-fashioned, historic look that’s perfect if you live in an older building that harkens back to days gone by. You can use monochromatic, slim light switch plates to give a more modern look if you live in a loft or new construction. Add colorful decorative wall grilles to create a unique look or plain neutral ones to blend in. With intricate detail work incorporated, some wall grilles look ornate and expensive, perfect if you want to upgrade the look of the apartment without spending too much.
Add Automation to Make Life Simpler
There are many ways to include technology in the home to make daily life easier. You can put smart devices in the home to help control all the facets of your home, including the television, stereo, lights, and security system. These things can then be controlled right from your phone or laptop, or programmed to do the same thing every day at the same time. Install a smart doorbell to help you see who is coming and going, allowing you to review the recording if needed. Many of these pieces can move along with you to your next home when you are ready to leave the apartment.
Make the Most of Outdoor Space
If you have access to an outdoor space, like a garden or a balcony, try to make it as functional as possible so you can incorporate it into your daily life. Add a table and chairs to make it a place for meals, a desk for working or reading on bright sunny days, or flower boxes to grow plants in the spring and summer months. If you like to work out in the fresh air, you can add weights or a yoga mat to make it easier to get your exercise every day. City life can be stressful, and getting outside to try and defray that stress can be time consuming if you have to walk all the way to the park after a long day at work. Having an outdoor space and using it often helps to combat anxiety and seasonal depression that can be made worse by staying inside the apartment all the time.
Work With a Contractor on Large Scale Changes
If you’re going to live in the apartment for many years to come in the future and find some part of the layout inconvenient, it might be worth your while to make a larger change with the help of a renovation contractor. A skilled contractor can help you understand what renter friendly renovations are possible without needing to tear the apartment down to the studs, how long you can expect the work to take, and what it will cost to get it done. Be prepared for renter friendly renovations of this scale to involve permits and insurance, taking longer than the smaller projects you can do yourself. Of course, renovations of this scale require approval from the apartment owner and you should be sure to speak with them before starting this kind of work on the apartment.
Make Closets More Functional
The closet space you have should be used to the best of your ability, which might mean moving the existing storage racks, adding more shelves, or hanging another rod in the closet to increase how much you can hang. Store shoes in plastic boxes to ensure they stay protected from damage when you aren’t wearing them. Use bins or boxes for accessories like belts, scarves, gloves, and other small things that are easy to lose over time. You can add hooks for hats and necklaces along the wall surfaces or get a small filing cabinet to store important documents that fits within the closet space. There are many ways to increase the efficiency of your closet space once you identify what you need the most space for and how you want to organize things.
Use Every Inch of Wall Space
In a small apartment where space is at a premium, as is often the case in New York City, you have to get creative to find enough storage for everything. Installing shelves, hooks, racks, pegboards and cabinets in rooms where none exist gives you a place to keep things without them piling up on the floor or furniture. Items like books, trophies, off season clothing and shoes can be stored in these places until you need to use them. Having vertical storage space lets you keep more things and organize them effectively so the apartment doesn’t get cluttered and overwhelming to live in. Lack of organization can lead you to feel depressed and overwhelmed as the clutter piles up. Being proactive and increasing the storage space is a perfect way to ensure that as your possessions grow, you have ample places to store them.
These renter friendly renovations can act as a starting point for a whole new look in your NYC apartment, or just brighten the place enough to make you happy there until your current lease runs out and you can find a new place.