Home Improvement Ideas For Small Apartments On A Budget


Increasing Property Value And Livability
Not all apartments are residential owing to an arranged lease. Most are, but some are owned by the tenants residing in them. The level of home improvements, renovations, and alterations you’re able to complete will greatly depend on whether or not you lease the unit, or own it. Also, whether or not an associated lease arrangement even allows for renovation.

However, even if you’re leasing, there are often arrangements you can make with your landlord. If you’ve never supplemented rent for other ways of providing value to your landlord, renovation is a great thing to try.

Many tenants will do things like regular maintenance to reduce rental obligations. If you can score the position of property manager, for under eighty hours of work a month, you might be able to live there rent-free.


Home Improvement Ideas
A property manager might do little odd jobs, trouble-shoot problems, replace components, landscape, act as a de facto security guard, and more. Landlords need to do this, but they don’t always have time, resources, or inclination to do so.

Think about it critically: a full-time property manager needs to pull down about $2k a month, minimum, to make it worth their while. In a big city, that number may be as high as $5k a month. When you can give a guy whose rent would otherwise be $2k the job, then you save $3k, and he saves on rent—it’s a win-win.

That said, most landlords won’t underwrite poor workmanship. So have a plan, and be willing to negotiate if you’re renovating and don’t own the unit. If you’re painting, get the color the landlord wants. If you’re fixing something, prove your skill in contracting work some legitimate way before approaching your landlord; then you’ve got some room to negotiate.

Apartment renovations are entirely possible for renters as well as tenants who own the apartment in which they live; you might just have to get strategic. Once you’ve figured this out, there are quite a few fine steps to take that won’t hamper your budget—we’ll cover a few here.


1. Mirrored Backsplash
So your kitchen sink likely has some sort of “backsplash”. Maybe there’s tile behind the faucet, maybe there’s some sort of treated product like LVP designed to look like tile. Something that works great in an apartment, and is relatively cost-effective to apply, would be a mirrored backsplash.

This has the advantage of looking downright stylish, being cost-effective to install, and making a small space feel larger due to how light is spread through mirrors. This could be pitched to a landlord for a reduction in rent commensurate to some costs of the project.

However you slice it, the landlord will likely benefit if you do a good job. The property value increases, he can rent that property for more, and the overall value of his building increases, allowing him to sell it at a greater profit than he’d be able to otherwise.

2. Knocking Out Or Adding Walls
Knocking out a wall opens up a space, making a small apartment feel larger. Adding a wall where convenient divides a space, also making it feel larger by making two “rooms” out of one. There’s nothing wrong with a room that’s fifty square feet, provided one can move around in it without too much impediment.


3. Cabinetry Built To Match A Given Space
You might be able to get a landlord to pick up the cost of materials if you’re willing to do the labor. In such a scenario, you’ve got a few different approaches. You can install very expensive cabinets, or you can order affordable kitchen cabinets from Best Online Cabinets. When you use RTA (Ready To Assemble) options, they often look more expensive than they are.

If you can do an installation that actually saves the landlord money, he’s more likely to let you do future renovations as they become necessary. Just be sure you know how to source and install the cabinets. When you can do a good job, then the landlord knows you can be trusted in future proposals.

4. Making Alterations Unique To A Complex
Sometimes you’re in a situation where renovations have a unique flavor owing to the associated space involved. For example, some apartments in Dallas have floor plans you won’t find anywhere else. This can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, traditional solutions may not be possible. But on the other, your imagination may be stimulated.

The key is identifying what about your present situation can be altered in a way that makes living in the unit easier for you, enhances the salability of the building, and would be desirable for future tenants. Then you draw that alteration out, map out materials expenses, and project costs slightly higher than your actual expectation.

If you’ve already proved to your landlord that you can handle varying projects, then you’ll have a much better chance of convincing your landlord to support such a project. He can underwrite you either covering materials while you cover labor, or by allowing you to skip rent provided you get the job done inside a month.

Keep in mind, regardless of your skill, this is a risky move for a landlord, so you’ve got to provide ample data to assure such unique alterations are worth pursuing. If you own the property, it’s a totally different story.


5. Painting Walls, Replacing Appliances, Upgraded Lighting
Paint can totally change the flavor of a room at no great cost—just make sure you run the paint colors you’re thinking of by your landlord. Most of them aren’t going to go for some lime green or neon pink. However, there are some landlords that would love that kind of thing. So have multiple color options for them to consider.

Something else that makes a lot of sense is replacing old appliances with new ones. Just show the appliance you’re thinking of replacing, give the cost to your landlord, and get the item properly installed. If you do a good enough job and don’t try any funny business, again, you may be able to get a discount on rent.

Something else that tends to be cost-effective and worth considering is replacing lighting. Today there are LED lightbulbs that can be controlled with your smartphone, and though they’re a little pricier than traditional filament bulbs, they give an apartment greater salability through the ability of tenants to control lighting schemes from their phone.


More Livability And Property Value From Apartment Renovation
Renovation of property you own will almost always increase its value in some way, provided you get the job done right. If you spend less in getting the work done than the value it brings, there’s a profit overall.

For small apartments, little renovations can have a big payoff; but it will depend on the apartment, and your ownership situation. If you’re just a tenant, though, there could very well be opportunity to reduce rental expenses—especially if you do good, honest work in a reasonable amount of time.

So check with your landlord if you have one, and price things out carefully if you don’t. Either way, lighting, walls, mirrored backsplashes, cabinetry, and unique alterations represent some strategically valuable ways you can renovate your apartment on a budget.

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