Rental Improvements: Love Being Home

Rental improvements are something that every single renter in the city should do to their homes. No, you can’t do a full-on reno, but there are temporary things that look good, are easy to install, and easy to remove when you move.

“Why in the world would you make rental improvements? I mean, making changes to an apartment you don’t own is so dumb!” Those are fighting words for many NYC renters. Just because they live in a rental doesn’t mean they need to take it “as is.”

There are so many things that you can do to improve the look and feel of your rental apartment. And, there are ways to do it without spending too much money or altering the bones of your space, something you’d have to get owner permission to do anyway. You won’t be wasting money, you’ll feel better about your home, and you’ll feel better about yourself. Yes, as a renter, you may not own your home, but it’s still your home. You live there. You dream there. You want to enjoy life there. In order to make that happen, you want to make your space as beautiful as you can.

Can You Make Changes?

It doesn’t really happen that often in New York, but some owners have such restrictive rules that their tenants aren’t even allowed to paint their walls, let alone change out fixtures or perform other rental improvements. Before you sign the lease on that well-priced apartment that just needs some TLC, make sure you’re allowed to give it TLC.

Paint, Paint, Paint

Paint is pure magic. It seems unlikely that a fresh coat of lacquer splashed onto your walls can change the way your space feels, but it does. Fresh paint can have an unexpectedly dramatic impact on what your space looks like, and this includes painting it a simple, beautiful white. It makes everything feel cleaner and brighter. Most NYC landlords allow tenants to paint as long as they return the paint to its original color once they leave the apartment. Choose the best quality paint your budget will allow, even if you’re only staying for a year.

Change that Floor

Did we say paint was the ultimate space-changer? A new floor can also make it seem like you’ve actually moved into a brand new home. You’re probably thinking: I can’t think of anything more st#$pid than changing the floor in my rental. Why would I upgrade the landlord’s space? That’s true; you don’t want to upgrade the owner’s space by putting in a brand new floor (not to mention you’d have to get the owner’s permission to make such a drastic change to his or her property). There are amazing options for renters, though, in the form of temporary flooring. From gorgeous rubber mat flooring for bathrooms to temporary vinyl flooring for your kitchen, there are tons of beautiful, for now options for flooring that can help you live in a space that fits your aesthetic choices. Spend an afternoon at Home Depot and see what we mean.

Change Out Fixtures

You probably hear “change your fixtures” a thousand times, but it’s cliche advice for a reason; it works. Changing out elements like ceiling lights, cabinet pulls, and faucets can make it look like your apartment went through a renovation. A new faucet can turn your sink from one that looks like it’s in a dilapidated van down by the river to one that’s presided over by a fastidious foodie. New lighting can seriously not only change the look of a room but change your mood. Invest in dimmers to control the amount of light that accompanies each segment of your day.


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