Moving into a new home should be like starting out with a clean slate. Instead, when moving into a new apartment, more often than not, it seems you are starting out with a broken, scratched and scribbled all over slate. The kitchen and bathrooms are usually out of date, the carpet is old and wasn’t that awesome in its prime, and any ‘decor’ that is present (such as light fixtures and cabinets) was selected for its appealing price tag rather than aesthetics.
Any of that sound familiar? I know I’ve faced a few of these dilemmas moving into each of my 4 apartments over the years. And I know my first reaction used to be, “well, there’s nothing I can do about this, so I’ll just have to deal.” However, I have learned that there are a few things you can do to perk up and upgrade your apartment, without breaking your leasing agreement or the bank!
1. Replace Cabinet Knobs
One of the first things I’ve started to do whenever I move into a new apartment, is to immediately replace any ugly cabinet knobs in the kitchen and bathrooms. It is such a cheap and easy way to give those old cabinets a major face lift and add in some charm. And cabinet knobs come in so many varieties, anyone can find one that suits them and their decor. Just make sure to save the original knobs so you can put them back before you move out.
2. Remove Cabinet Doors
Another way to upgrade your kitchen cabinets besides replacing the knobs, is to just remove the doors completely. This is another upgrade anyone with a screwdriver can do. Open shelving is quite popular recently, and it can really improve small apartment kitchens by making the space appear more open and spacious.
3. Replace Door Knobs
This one I will admit I didn’t think of until recently. But why not? Door knobs are easily removable, and you can find some super cheap ones that are more your style and less builder grade at any home improvement store. Just again, remember to hold onto anything you replace in your apartment so you can reinstall it before moving out.
4. Add In Rugs
In my experience, apartments come with 2 types of flooring: laminate “tile” and tan/brown carpeting that supposedly hides stains well. Since you can’t replace flooring in an apartment (and really who would want to invest that much in an apartment), a great alternative is to just throw some rugs over it. Rugs will cover your ugly flooring, add some personality, and visually define separate areas in an apartment that may have a more open floor plan.
5. Hang Up Curtains
I love curtains. This is another biggy that I always immediately do after moving into a new apartment. There is just something about window treatments that immediately make a place feel more homey and welcoming, and way less bland cookie-cutter apartment. Curtains can also go a long way to adding your personality and style to a space.
6. Change the Blinds
Apartments are notorious for having horrible blinds. Aside from being the ugliest things on the planet (vertical blinds anyone?), they also never, ever do a good job at actually keeping early morning sunlight out. And I’m a girl who needs my room pitch black until I’m ready to wake up. An easy solution is to simply replace the blinds. You could opt for a more light-tight option, or you could pretty up your windows with some nice bamboo blinds.
7. Replace Shower Head
This is another one that I have yet to do myself, but I may have to in the near future. Water pressure is never what you want it to be in an apartment shower, the shower heads usually more sprinkle a light drizzle of water on you rather than a steady stream. Replacing the shower head isn’t something most people think of, but it can be a serious quality of life update. I’m also a sucker for shower heads with multiple settings, like a massage option, so I may be upgrading this myself pretty soon!
8. Update Light Fixtures
While I’m not sure any of the lights in my apartment are a candidate for this, some apartments may have light fixtures that are easily swapped out. This can have a huge and immediate effect on the feel of a room. I can just imagine having a sleek, modern chandelier hanging in my dining room instead of a ceiling fan/boob light combo. A girl can dream.
9. Paint Walls
This one is fairly straight forward, although unfortunately not an option for many renters. I have been lucky, as all my apartments allowed us the option to paint (even though we never took advantage of this), as long as we repaint before moving out. If you’re able to paint your walls in your apartment, I say go for it! I can’t say enough for how far a little paint can go in making your space truly feel like your space. And it sure beats durable-off-white on every. single. wall and ceiling. Yea… my next place is definitely getting painted.
10. Add in Your Personality
This may be the most important upgrade of them all. Have fun with your space! This is your home, so anything goes. Hang up that funky art no one but you gets, fill your walls with pictures of great memories, and decorate to your hearts content. This step is what will make your swanky upgraded apartment feel like a true home.
Anyone else ready to go upgrade their apartments now? I know I have a few more things on my list after writing this post. New door knobs may or may not be on the top of that list. What else have you done to upgrade a standard apartment? I’m always looking for new ways to make my apartment the best it can be! Leave your ideas and suggestions for upgraded apartments in the comments.
If you liked this post, you should check out all my other tips for Apartment Living!