First Home Advice: Where Do Renters Draw the Line?

First Home Advice: Where Do Renters Draw the Line?

Janel Laban
Aug 30, 2011

Vickie is an Apartment Therapy reader who is looking for advice. She is 23 years old and has recently moved out of her family home and into an apartment. She and her boyfriend have a year lease and the ok to make some decorating decisions and general home improvements. But she's wondering where the line should be - how much work, money, and time is too much to invest?

Here is her question in her own words, from her blog:

My main question is where do I draw the line with home improvement? Our property manager told us we can paint the walls and put holes into it (wooohooo!) as long as it returns back to its original state (or forfeit our security deposit of course). If the possibilities are endless, where do we stop? Should I change the kitchen and bathroom faucet fixtures? Would I want to remove them and take them with me whenever I move out? And if I did that, would they look good in the new place? Would I want to design this 'new place' the same way with the things I already own or see it as a fresh clean slate? Should I only make small changes?
I know I must consider the length of our lease, my financial situation, the costs of the improvements to be made, the cost of redecorating a future apartment (if I left certain goods behind), the labor and cost of returning the apartment to its original plain state, how much you love your apartment, how comfortable do you want to feel in it, and many other factors I have yet to think of. Just because my dinky couch looks good and fits in my current apartment doesn't mean it will in the next. So many options to weigh!

Please share your wisdom and advice with Vickie in the comments below...thanks!

Image: Jess Watson/from the tour of Emily and Meeko's Sunny First Apartment

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