Painting your apartment

plasticgardenNovember 15, 2007

Actually remodeling altogether.I found the things the apartment provides us with to be cheap and unslightly. Such as a Brass chandilier that is very outdated and ugly.

Walls painted a boring eggshell color that always need to be re-painted after a year because they show so much dirt and flaws.

How many of you try to make your apartment feel more like HOME by painting or replacing things to your liking?

This past weekend I painted my dining room a lovely coffee brown.Just one wall,but it looks so nice.

We also repainted the bathroom which was horrible looking with flaws.

I also want to buy a new chandilier to replace this ugly one they have put up.

Of course I will repaint everything the way it was before we move out and hang up the old chandilier.

Any landlords on this site think it is wrong for tenants to do this? My rental office said no problem as long as I fix it before I leave.

It just seems so much nicer now and more like home then some apartment with no style and plain walls.

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Just keep in mind that if you do make changes to 'fixtures' (like the chandelier) you could be expected to leave them in place when you leave, but unless your landlord reimburses you for it, you could be out the money and the fixture. Otherwise, if they're happy for you to upgrade their property :-), at least get them to pay for paint if you can, and have fun.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 5:55AM
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In my current apartment, I have done a bunch of things like change the cupboard knobs, the light fixtures, put up floor to ceiling book shelves (they mount to the roof not the wall)

I am in favor of doing things to your apartment to make it your home. I know that I probably won't paint but I have used starch to attach fabric to my walls. With my habit of changing things around all the time it makes more sense for me to have something that will be easily taken down to change...that and it allows me to get rid of some of my fabric. When I have a place that I own myself I will still probably do this.

I don't think that most landlords would have a problem as long as you restore it to the original. Granted I'm not a landlord so I really can't say for sure.

Does anyone else have neat ideas for making their apartment theirs?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 4:05PM
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Lucy,I wouldnt mind too much if they expected me to leave them (the chandilier). My last apartment,which was actually a condo,we did a lot to it like hang up new mirrors in the bathroom and bought a top notch shower head that detatched from the wall for hand held use.(the one he had in there was awful and had virtually no water pressure)

We left those things there because our landlord was a really nice guy (an old hippie).I'm not planning on buying a really expensive chandilier,just one that matches. Because NOTHING else in the place is brass and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Anyways,I think we'll be here for a few years.The houses around here are too expensive,and if we did buy a house we're not sure we'd want one in this state.

Wolfie,I have never heard of hanging fabric on walls using starch.How do you do that?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:51PM
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Any landlords on this site think it is wrong for tenants to do this?

In a nutshell, everything boils down to what your lease says.

I don't object to tenants doing certain things to make the house 'home' while they are there, because it is, after all, 'home' to them. In fact nothing pleases me more than to see tenants decorate nicely, because if they're going to go to the trouble to decorate, they're going to take better care of it. I do, however, get very protective, because we're talking $130k + in real estate that will be standing long after tenants are gone. So I put in my leases that alterations must have my approval beforehand. Paint is not a huge deal, as long as it's done well (e.g. original woodwork protected, two of the houses have original oak hardwood floors/trim), and it must be restored to it's original neutral color properly: scrubbed, spackled, primed and painted. Anything less is an inferior paint job that won't look good and won't hold up. Anyone not willing to do that is going to lose whatever it costs me out of the deposit to restore it.

As far as replacing electrical fixtures, be sure you've got the OK for that and it's done properly. I've discovered some crazy things tenants have done with wiring and plumbing without my knowledge or approval that I do not appreciate. Not only was their handiwork completely against local building code, the repercussions could have caused serious harm to them and compromised the integrity of my structure (e.g. fire, sewer gas). I was inspecting one house once, checking the chimney area in the attic. I saw new conduit, moved some insulation to follow it and there was an exposed electrical box lying under the insulation. DH nearly blew a gasket when he saw that. The slightest spark or arc in that box could have easily ignited that insulation and the attic could have been engulfed in flames within minutes. Tenant said he had a buddy do that wiring and 'guess he forgot to seal the box'. I have lots more stories, but the gist is that sometimes tenants do things that they think will benefit them and/or are a favor to me, it's done improperly and they've created a major safety hazard that threatens their physical well being, our property and puts huge liability on my shoulders. So when landlords put clauses in leases regarding alterations, it's not because they are trying to be tight fisted scrooges. There are a host of reasons and they do include the safety and well being of the tenants themselves.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 7:50AM
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When we moved into our apt 2 years ago, although it was brand new, I wanted it to look like a home. I have painted every wall in this place! I have hung border in some rooms. In my sons room I painted 2 walls black and 3 gray ( it is a hex shape) and he has a black light with posters, looks great for a kids room. I love to make it mine.

We are allowed to change out anything so that has been nice, they will even change it out for you if you buy it. We installed ceiling fans in every room and put up nice curtains. It really looks like a home and I feel so settled in now.

I have also added tons of shelves to closets for optimal storage and same for that, we bought the shelves and maintenance hung them all for us.

It sure keeps you feeling at home and it helps tenants to have pride in their apts I think.......

I love apt ideas!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 10:19AM
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To hang fabric on the wall with starch is pretty easy. The big thing to remember is that you have to use a natural fabric like cotton or linen. Synthetics dont hold the starch and they fall off pretty quickly.

Make sure you wash your fabric first. If you want to hem it to make it pretty you can but the starch pretty much stops the fraying. Once your fabric is ready to go get liquid starch (you can use the pressurized cans but it will cost you more money) I think that some starch's may come powdered but I could be thinking too old... Funny that... I'm only 24 :) You will also want someone to help you if you are doing a floor to ceiling job. It is possible to do it yourself but it is harder.

In any case soak the fabric so that it is fully saturated. Squeeze out the excess and then, as if you were hanging wallpaper, line it up on the wall. As you work it is best to tack it to the wall at the top until it is dry. You can just use thumb tacks and you only need a few... maybe every 30 inches. Once it's up and the way you want it just let it dry. When it is dry take out the thumbtacks. I have also used masking or packing tape but I also have old oil paint on my walls that is nigh on indistructable.

When you want to take it down just get a spray bottle filled with water and soak it down. It comes off with a little time. The big thing to remember is that if you have a dark fabric or one prone to running you may have it stain your walls. That is the biggest reason to wash the fabric before hand, to set the colour.

There used to be a post on here with images of a homeowner who did her bathroom like this. I haven't been able to find it again.

I will see if I can get some pictures of the proces if you are interested. Let me know.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 11:34AM
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they will even change it out for you if you buy it.

I'm not a landlord, but I think if I were, this would be my policy.

Sure you can paint, but you have to take a painting class (I don't want to have to follow behind your drips), or maybe you buy the paint, my guy puts it on the walls. (in fact, if I had to repaint before a new tenant, I'd ask the tenant to pick the color)

You want to attach a shelf to the wall? Call me, I'll come over w/ the drill. You want a new light fixture? If you buy it, I'll put it in. I'll even swap it back out at the end maybe.

But I think I wouldn't want the tenant to be the one doing the work, bcs I've discovered in my own apt, which I own, that fixing something BADLY can end up creating more work than not fixing it at all.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 4:13PM
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Moonshadow,thank you for your input.
My husband is a mechanic,and a pretty handy guy.He also used to paint apartments for a living when he was younger so we do paint correctly and then spackle all holes,sand and re-paint original color before moving.

I will be sure to ask permission about the chandilier first. I would love it if they installed it for me,as many tenants have ceiling fans they installed instead of the ugly chandilier.
My husband already adjusted it once though because it was hanging so far to the ground we kept running into it.

Wolfie,thank you,I'm going to try that it sounds like fun!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 6:22PM
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I agree with Moonshadow. The lease will dictate if you are allowed to paint and make changes. I have had tenants who painted and did a great job. And other who did not. Dark green or red paint is harder to cover up and may take several coats. Also, if you get paint on woodwork/flooring it can be very hard to get off.

I usually don't mind if tenants paint as long as they ask and they have to be neat. I also like to approve the colors because tenants who re-paint a rental right before they leave will never do as good a job as the first time.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 1:11PM
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I plan to paint a wall or two in my apartment - but I don't plan to ask because I am certain they will just say no. Quite frankly though, as piss poor as the paint job THEY did is, I am certain mine will be far superior (including the return-to-natural job)... I mean really, all of the apartments I've been in have been very poorly painted with paint on light switch plates, trim, even the floor in some cases. I think they hire very under-skilled people to do the painting and it's never done well--just layer upon layer of eggshell white until eventually the layers can't support their own weight and just peel off at the slightest incident!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 2:51AM
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Another option would be to make a wood frame covered with fabric, plywood, or paper, and paint that. Theater flat, in other words. It's portable and no need to get permission.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:50PM
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