This is hands down one of the most frequent questions I get asked. How do you determine what to invest your money in while renting? I always struggle with answering because we all have different ideas of what makes sense for our living space, but I have found there are some things I need in order to be happy at home. I have touched on this subject in various ways in the past, but I thought it might be nice to see a breakdown of how I approached buying items for our rental apartment.
First off I don’t believe in not spending money on a place you won’t be in forever. Yes I don’t own my apartment, but I do live here right now. No I won’t get back time and money I have spent on certain aspects like painting, but who cares if I come home everyday and love the space we’re in? It definitely is a trade off and you have to weigh out what makes the most sense for you. The first thing we did when we moved is was paint the entire apartment ourselves. This was walls, ceilings, trim, built-ins.. everything! It was time consuming and we paid for the paint instead of asking our landlords to. It was easier this way and I felt like we had more freedom to do what we wanted. Just for reference our living room walls and entry are painted Droplets by Dunne Edwards and our bedroom and kitchen is Simply White by Benjamin Moore.
Next we replaced a majority of the ceiling lights. We updated the ceiling fan in the living room to a more modern style that didn’t have a pull chain. This was a piece I knew we would be leaving as I was not going to try and store the old fan so I got something that was nice, but not crazy expensive or fancy. Again the fan did not technically need to be replaced so I did not ask my landlords to pay for it, but it was so worth it to have a fan that doesn’t sound like it is going to fall down. I didn’t save any of the lights that were here when we moved in simply because we have minimal storage as is. We added decorative lights in the bedroom and kitchen that I will take when we move and replace with inexpensive flush mounts.
The other update that made a big difference was touched on in a recent post. We replaced the kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs. We kept the format they originally had so we did not have to drill new holes and could take the hardware with us when we move. I did keep all of the existing cabinet hardware in a plastic bag to put back on. Other updates that I imagine will end up are staying are curtain rods, curtains, and a woven wood shade in the kitchen. These are all pretty much formatted for the windows in this apartment and were very inexpensive.
We debated ripping out the pedestal sink in the bathroom to put in a small vanity, but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. If we plan on being here for a long time that might be something we end up doing because there are some nice inexpensive vanities on the market. To some it may seem crazy to be spending money on something with no return, but I look at my apartment just like a wardrobe. We all buy clothes we wear and then get rid of, but you don’t necessarily look at that item as a waste.
I probably would not spend an exorbitant amount of money on something that felt custom to this space such as a piece of furniture that was tailored to a particular room, but I would not be able to live in a home that didn’t feel layered and lived in. As always let me know if you have any questions particular to this topic, I am happy to answer in any way I can!
Photo by Torrey Fox