By Matthew Demmer
You don’t have to be Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor to give your new spot some minor upgrades. Even though you’re just renting the place, there are still many cheap and easy home improvements that can help to make a tenement feel like a brand new condo. Head over to Home Depot and
, for a small cost, you can hide those light boxes your landlord put in with some more attractive fixtures. Is your shower low pressured? Install a high-pressure shower head. Are your doors creaky? Spray some WD-40 on the hinges. Do the lights give off an eerie glow? Switch the bulbs to compact fluorescents. Other cheap and easy fix-er-ups include replacing cabinet knobs, door handles, and toilet seats. Just remember that you’re still renting, so don’t go too overboard. Also, ask permission from your landlord before making any major adjustments, and make sure to keep the old bits and pieces so you can reinstall them upon your exit.
Here are some tips for sprinkling a little DIY magic around your first crib...
So Fresh and So Clean
Before you start any renovation, the house is going to have to be clean. And I don’t mean kick the dirt under the cabinet clean, but a deep, professional job here. Technically, landlords are supposed to have this done before you move in, but they frequently don’t, and even if they do, they’ll usually just go for a guy with a dirty mop and a dustbuster. Unless you feel like scrubbing five tenant’s worth of crusted soap scum and hair from the inner railing of your shower door, probably best to hire someone to do it for you. Professional cleaners usually offer a few different services, but the higher-end companies like MerryMaids will run around $25 /hr per maid. One should be enough to tackle all of the places where you don’t want to go: around the toilet, the shower, the fridge, the stove, the sink, etc. On the cheaper end, you could check sites like CraigsList or the classifieds to find anybody that’s strapped for cash and doesn’t mind doing some dirty work.
A Basic Toolkit
It’s always good to have a toolkit lying around the house just in case you need to put something together, take something apart, or play handyman with your girlfriend. A basic toolkit should include
All too often it’s the little things that make a difference in the way a rental apartment feels. Replacing preexisting appliances and str...