Sometimes when you're renting, you have a win, like adding color when you can't paint the walls. Or upgrading the lighting fixtures without leaving permanent damage. But you can also have renting fails (think staining the carpet, ripping holes in the wall accidentally and more). In this post, Apartment Therapy editors share their most memorable rental wins and fails.
Tara: Renting Win: Building Built-Ins
My current apartment comes with precious little storage, and due to a lot of windows (I know, totally horrible, right?) not much regular, flat wall. But it does have a bunch of little walls. I turned this one right by my kitchen into storage for my extensive cookbook collection.
Taryn —Renting Win: Hiding Wires Around the Carpet
A story about wall-to-wall carpeting is usually a rental fail, but I used my carpet to my advantage, in this one case. I was installing surround sound speakers and wanted to hide the wires. If I'd owned the place, I'd have hidden the wires permanently in the walls or ceiling, but as a renter, I needed to find another smart way to deal with them. The solution was right under my feet, literally: The way the carpet was installed in my apartment made it possible to squeeze the thin wires between the plush part of the carpet and the metal edging. The speaker wires ran all around the room, completely invisible!
Adrienne — Renting Win: Curtain Calamity Averted
In my current apartment, six single-hung sash windows reach all the way to the ceiling and take up both outer walls of my corner bedroom. They let in tons of light and overlook a lovely oak tree, but I live on a busy street. I needed to get curtains up ASAP. Only thick, newly-painted, 100-year-old+ wood window casing surrounds the windows — no wall. Even if my landlord would have allowed me to drill holes in the wood, I wouldn't have wanted to! (And no, I didn't want blinds.) I first tried hanging the curtain rods on hooks stuck to the wood casing with temporary wall adhesive strips. They worked great! For about 10 minutes, when the humidity of living in South Louisiana quickly took its toll.
I found myself with a real design pickle. I wanted to hang curtains mid-way up the windows (leaving the upper sashes open to allow light in). I didn't want blinds. I couldn't drill holes. Six thick fabric curtain panels were too heavy for adhesives in this kind of humidity. Almost out of options, a funny idea popped into my head. So I hopped to Lowes, picked up some shower curtain hooks and tension rods and MacGyver-ed the situation. I put a tension rod in every window channel right above the lower sash's rail, looped one end of the double shower hook to the tension rod, and then put the curtain rod on the hooks. It's so simple and it's been working like a dream ever since! It's my most pride-inducing rental DIY win.
Arlyn — Renting Fail: Paint Gone Right...Then Wrong
I am one of those people that do things like paint the walls in their rental without asking their landlord (apologize later?). Even if I'm living in a place for just a year, I want to make it my own, because 365 days are too many days to live somewhere that doesn't excite me when I walk through the door. As a devout color lover, I decided to paint my bedroom a serene French-y blue (Behr's Light French Gray to be exact.) Once that project was complete, I was itching to paint the inside of my front door, because it was a horrible dingy beige color, and it begged to be Ralph Lauren's Reflecting Pool.
I loved it all. It all loved me. Three years later, I was moving out and needed to erase my tenant indiscretions. Because I left the task of painting everything back until the last minute, I needed to ensure it was done fast, so I invested in a one-coat-guarantee paint from a company I won't mention. One coat. Two coats. Four coats. Back aches. Many trips to the store to buy more paint ($$$). It failed, I failed, I almost didn't get my deposit back, and I vowed to never paint my rental again.