And there are times when I want to do all of those things here, but there is this little nagging voice in my head that says "Psst, Jess - you know you don't really own this house right?" Yep - for those of you that didn't know, we are renters due to "the situation". What is the situation? The cliff notes version is that we both lost our jobs and had to move to another state to find work. Caught in the balance was our home that we had been in for a year and a half. So we have been balancing a mortgage and rent for quite some time. When we finally get it sold, it is going to take us some time to bounce back from the inevitable loss we are going to take. I figure we will be renters for awhile. And from the emails I have gotten - there are a LOT of us out there in similar situations.
So my question today is when you rent, how much renovation is too much? I think the answer depends on how long you plan to be a renter and if that is the "norm" for your area. In some markets, especially big cities like NYC or San Francisco, it is cost prohibitive to purchase. Most people are long term renters who are looking to find a great place (preferably rent controlled) and just stay there.
But for a lot of us, renting is a temporary situation. A stop over if you will. And while I don't want to cut out all decorating, I also don't want to take it too far. I mean we are probably only in this place for another year to year and a half. Given that time frame, I have been thinking a lot about what I will and won’t do and here is my personal list.
I won’t be … painting the walls.
I love to paint. Love it. Love picking out the colors, love rolling it on the wall, love standing back at the end of the job and just adoring how it brings a room together. But I hate the prep work. If I paint something, I plan to leave it that way for at least 2 years. And since we are under that time frame here in this rental, I think I am going to pass. The vaulted ceilings in the main living area would be a pain and would probably require a professional. Besides – the walls aren’t white. They are a creamy deep beige color that is actually nice and works with all our furniture. See example below with bird plates.
I will be … hanging things on the walls
As you can see, I have had no issues with putting holes in the walls. Actually, I use a lot of the 3M Command products (no endorsements here just love em). Our Kitchen Chalkboard is hung with the picture hanging strips.
I won’t be …. installing light fixtures
Yeah the ones here aren’t great. But they work in a pinch. The only thing I might have considered was if the master didn’t have a ceiling fan – but it did. So we are good to go. See example of builder basic chandi and the only BAD fixture in the house – the kitchen florescent.
I will be … adding additional lighting through table and floor lamps.
Yes, the ceiling fixture in any room can be the focal point of your eye when you walk in. But if the fixture isn’t horrible, you can take that view point down and into the other details of the room. Especially the other lighting details. And adding floor and table lamps is something you can take with you when you go!
I won’t be … installing anything in a bathroom
Yeah – I won’t be installing new faucets or even hanging new towel rods. There is just no point in investing in that kind of stuff. Yes – you can take them down and take them with you. But who says that they will work in your new space or if your style will have changed by then. So for now, I will stick with what I have. Here is a peek at the guest bath vanity. Nothing to write home about but it isn’t horrible either.
I will be … gussying them up a bit
The baths actually aren’t bad. I love the transom window we have above the shower! It is really a highlight in there. I did hang the two prints above the toilet, find some great towels and put in a little bamboo. To me – that is enough for a rental!
I won’t be … purchasing any more furniture
Let’s face it. A lot of your furniture purchasing is based on the room you are going to put it in. I don’t want to purchase anything else for this house because we just simply aren’t going to be here long enough for me to worry about making an investment for the space. Now if someone offers up something for free or nearly free – certainly I would consider that! Like our living room sofa and chair. All freebies.
I will be … updating what I have
I don’t have a problem with making new pillows up for the couch or refinishing a chair cushion. Or even painting a piece. That is all fine by me! Like my desk I refinished. Looks tons better than what we had before and let’s me get my painting fix.
What about you? Are you in a rental now or even in a home that may be temporary? What will you do in that space and what won’t you do? I wanna know!