When I lived in rentals, I frequently thought, “If only I owned this place, I would change this, this, and this about it!” Landlord beige walls, restrictions on decorating, and the constant fear of losing your damage deposit can make apartment living seem the antithesis of decorating freedom. When I bought my own place, I was going to finally make my place, my own.
Trouble is, ten months after my husband and I bought our house, we have spent $2700 on “making the place our own,” and you can barely see ANY of it.
I doubt there are many Pinterest pages dedicated to re-grouted bathroom tiles, or replacing peeled, yucky, outdoor paint with a new coat of the same colour. New windows are great for saving on your heating bill, but not really a visual showstopper.
If I had EVER spent $2700 on any apartment I lived in, it would have been a “look at my design flair” orgasm. With ownership, all that “make things pretty” money gets sucked into the “make things functional in the long term” hole.
So without further ado, I would like to let all those frustrated renters out there know the eight ways how you might have the better end of the design deal…
1. “Never going to happen” can be less frustrating than “one day…”
When there is something you don’t like, but can’t afford to fix, you can justify it by saying, “I am not putting that kind of money into a rental.” Everyone will respect that decision. When you own it, you just have to say “Yeah, we can’t afford to. But one day…” You may have no idea when “one day” will happen.
2. When you rent, your “one day” can be today!
Do you have extra money that you want to splurge on temporary wallpaper, a shelving unit, a rug to cover an ugly floor? Go crazy. When you own, you have to balance your “right now” budget with your “in the future” budget. That means, if you know you are going to redo that floor in a year for $1000, it doesn’t make sense to cover it with a $200 carpet right now. You save that $200 to work towards the fix you REALLY want. In the meantime, ugly floor.
3. Outside is usually not your problem
Roof leaking? Porch sagging? Peeling paint? Call your landlord. These mildly annoying issues can eat up a lot of money when you own your own place. Money that would be better spent on temporary vinyl back splashes, or the latest amazing looking new storage solution for your space.
4. Temporary fixes are usually cheaper than long term solutions
Ugly laminate cupboards while renting? Cover them with contact paper — it will last a year or two at least. When you own them? It’s time to take them all outside, and properly paint those suckers for the long haul. When you own you often have to do bigger jobs that cost more upfront to save money in the long run.
5. Your own place? Your list of fixes can be endless
Unless you lucked into buying your dream house right off the bat, thinking about all the ways that are possible to make your place better can leave you with a longer list than you thought possible, and can leave you feeling bummed out with “your space.” Since there are limited things you can do in a rental, you can (sometimes) hit the point where it is as awesome as its going to get, and be happy with it!
6. When you finally have extra storage, shit piles up
It’s like the more room you have, the more crap you accumulate. I have done at least six purges of just random stuff since I moved into my own place. Having a basement makes you a sucker for grabbing free stuff that you might use “one day.” Limited space makes you pickier, and makes moving easier.
7. No one judges your decorating choices based on resale value
For some reason, even if you don’t plan on moving any time soon (or ever) after you have purchased a place, you are supposed to morph into an HGTV home-flipper who is hell bent on fixing up a place to satisfy the largest portion of the real estate market. It is suddenly not rude to point out how most people do not appreciate cat doors in unlikely places, or that painting the creepy basement with blood red paint splatter might be ill advised.
8. Finally, where you live can be awesome because YOU live there
Renting can force you to be more creative with how you flex your flair. If you make it your own, however you can, it will still be awesome because it will work for YOU and YOUR LIFE right now. And that’s something pretty great.