A lot of people have a misconception that you just simply cannot do anything in an apartment that you can do in a house. Yes. There are certain, obvious things that you can’t do, like a full on bathroom remodel, but for the most part you can do quite a bit. It’s just a matter of finding a way that makes it work in an apartment.
Seven years of working with people who are looking for housing, can make you feel like you have a PhD in what most people think they cannot do in their new apartment, especially if they are moving from a house. So I’m here to turn those common misconceptions upside down and smash them to bits and pieces. I’m also going to smash the ones you may not have necessarily thought of pre-move but might worry about after you move in. You know, for good measure and all.
1) Paint the Walls
Yes! More often than not, apartment communities WILL allow you to paint or offer some sort of Accent Wall program themselves. The one caveat is that you will need to paint it back to its original color or at least prime it before you move out. But in the grand scheme of things…getting to paint your apartment and make it as much of a home while you are there is a pretty awesome trade-off for having to paint it back. Plus, you could always have a paint party with some friends. It’s a great excuse for a cocktail. What goes better with a paintbrush than a glass of wine or a beer?
2) Become a Pet Owner
Can we all pause for just one moment and swoon over that face? Okay. Focus, Jen, focus. Moving into an apartment does not necessarily mean you have to give up all life long dreams of owning a pet. According to a landlord survey conducted by PetFinder, about half of all apartment communities are pet friendly with only about 9% of them having limits on weight or breed restrictions. That means there are literally thousands of communities that allow pets. It is up to you to make sure you contact the leasing office first to understand their pet policy. Another thing that goes through someone’s head might be, “Well that is all fine and dandy, but what about potty training a puppy in an apartment? I’ll be charged if they mess up the carpet.” Yes, but you would also have to pay for it in a home you own as well at some point. Here is a great link to a website about potty training a puppy in an apartment. Now, go look at that face one last time.
3) Have an Herb Garden
One of the great things about having a home is that nine times out of ten you have some sort of a yard. For all the green thumbs out there that love to get all up in the dirt and garden either a little or a lot, all is not lost. If you have a balcony or patio, there is no reason you should not be able to have an herb garden (just be mindful with the watering if you are above anyone) and if you don’t have a suitable outdoor area, you can have an indoor herb garden. It’s that simple and it’s truly easy.
4) Wall Mount Your TV
Oh yes. You read that right. Not only do some newer, more modern communities already have pre-installed wall mounts for tenants, but you can definitely mount your own in probably 99% of communities. You just have to know what you are doing or hire someone who does. You can find out how to wall mount your TV here or here (if you are super desperate and can’t the normal way. Do note, however, that if you damage the walls because you thought you were Ty Pennington and you were really Paris Hilton with a nail file, you will ultimately be responsible for those repair charges.
5) Hang Pictures & Curtain Rods
The number of people who believe they won’t be able to hang family photos, pictures or curtain rods in their new apartments astound me. While you do have to patch up excessive amount of holes most likely, the majority of landlords do not mind you hanging these things. We want you to feel like you have made it your own while you are living there. What better way to do this than by hanging some pictures up from that time in 1995 or putting your design flare on the space by adding some funky fabric curtains? Go for it. If you need help finding a stud for curtain rods, call the office and see if maintenance can help.
6) Grill Out
Ok. You can’t grill on your patio or balcony because of fire codes BUT you can still grill out. 99.9% of apartments have a grill of some sort either at the pool or in a common area. That means if it is open, you can grill. Some places may require a sign up for it, so just check with the office first to be sure. A lot of communities also allow you to bring your own charcoal grill as long as you use it no less than 20 or more feet away from any structure. So worry not. Your grilling days are not over.
Recycling is huge right now. People want to leave less of a carbon footprint and going green is in. What that means for you is that most apartment communities either offer a Valet Waste service with recyclable pickup and/or have recycling areas for you to use. So recycle on.
8) Have Family & Friends Over
Want to have guests over? No problem! There may be a limit as to how many, so ask the front office to be sure. Some things to make sure of: that you are following guidelines for guest parking so cars aren’t towed and that you realize a guest is usually someone that is there less than 7 consecutive days and for no longer than 14 days in a 30 day period. If they are not considered a guest, you will most likely need to add them to the lease.
Moral of the story? Apartments rule and “can’t” never did anything.
(*as with anything , please check with your apartment leasing office for any concerns or questions. i can’t reiterate that enough. better safe than sorry.)