Tips for Renting Your First Apartment

Congratulations on renting your first apartment! This is a huge step for many people, and even more so if this is your first time getting a place on your own. When I was 22, I made the very same decision, but I ran into a couple of blunders that I wish I had been aware of at the beginning. So, to save you from all the trouble I had to go through, I’m sharing my top 4 tips when it comes to renting your first apartment.

1. Think about what kind of environment you’d be happiest living in. There are a lot of questions you should ask yourself when you’re apartment hunting. You want to make sure that the place you eventually end up renting is a place that you can go home to and feel relaxed and peaceful.

That’s why it’s important for you now to decide exactly what type of environment would be most suitable for you. Would you prefer living in the city or away from the city center? Is it important for you to live close to work? Do you want to live in a pet-friendly building? Once you’ve got an idea of where you’d like to be, it’ll narrow down your choices and make apartment hunting that much easier!

2. Plan out your budget. Renting an apartment can be quite costly! It isn’t just about how much rent you’re going be paying your landlord every month. In the first month, you may be asked to pay a security deposit (equal to one month’s rent) to the landlord in case you damage the apartment, and a pet deposit if you’re planning on bringing a furry friend.

In addition,  you can visit if utilities aren’t included in the cost of your rent, you’ll be responsible for paying your gas, hot water, electricity, and Internet/cable bill every month. If you have a car, you should also ask if parking is free. Make sure you’re aware of what utilities are and aren’t included before you sign the lease, so that you can budget how much you’ll be spending per month for rent and utilities.

3. Read all the terms and conditions of your lease before you sign it. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a tenant to be aware of the rules set out in your rental contract. Are there any visitor restrictions? Any rules in regards to noise level? How long is your rental contract? How much notice are you supposed to give your landlord when you want to end your lease? Is subletting allowed in your apartment complex? These are all things that should be laid out in your lease.

4. Take photos of the apartment the day you move in. Before you move any of your furniture into the apartment and get settled in, get out your camera and take photographs of the entire place. Make sure you take the time to survey any damage in the apartment. If you see any scratches, dents or bumps anywhere, take photos! This will save you a lot of money and hassle in the future if your landlord ever accuses you of creating the damage

Another way to document the damage in the apartment is to make notes of any problems on a piece of paper, and then have the landlord sign off on it. Then, make a photocopy for each person.  I really can’t emphasize enough how important this step is.  That’s how we can prevent when renting,because it’s now one of your Properties. I have seen friends lose their entire security deposit just because they didn’t know to document any damage beforehand, so don’t let that happen to you.

Decorating Solutions for Small Spaces

It seems like more and more people are living in smaller places nowadays. When I look around my own city, I can see so many new apartment and condo buildings being constructed. When you’re living in a smaller area, you want to try to get the most out of the space that you do have. From personal experience, I know it’s very uncomfortable to live in a home that feels tiny and cramped. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best decorating tips to make a small space feel and look bigger.

The most important thing to remember when you’re decorating a small space is to try to draw the eyes upwards and outwards. You want to create the illusion that the room is expanding into something bigger.

That leads us to Tip #1.

Hang your drapes as high as you can. This will make your ceilings look higher and your window bigger. Hanging curtains from the ceiling level will draw your eyes to look upwards, allowing the ceiling to look higher than it actually is. In addition, when your curtains are open, the window will actually let in more natural sunlight than it would if you had hung the drapes right around the edges of the window frame. Light allows a room to look brighter and therefore, bigger.

Hang portraits and posters higher so that your eyes will be drawn upwards along the walls. Again, we want to trick the eyes into seeing a bigger room. You don’t want to hang TOO many portraits though, because then you risk having the room feel closed-in and crowded.

Notice how these drapes were hung higher above the window frame, creating the illusion of a bigger windowKeep your apartment as clean and uncluttered as you can. What’s the fastest way to make a small area look even more crowded? Leave a mess everywhere. We all have a lot of things, but there are cost-saving solutions to clutter. For example, you can nail hooks on the wall to hang up your hats, scarves or keys instead of throwing them on the couch or tables. If you try to keep things as organized as possible, your place will feel a lot cleaner and roomier.

Maximize your storage space.  Living in an apartment will give you endless opportunities to get creative with storage space. Installing floor-to-ceiling shelves and ledges is a great way to give you more storage space without being bulky. A lot of people install floating shelves in their living room so that they can put some items on display. I always suggest storing things upwards, not outwards.

The photograph below is an excellent example of an apartment that has really maximized its storage potential. The owners have installed wall shelves beside the window and the doorway, and also put a bookshelf on the left side of the window to store their things. Now the apartment looks neat. Also take note of how high they’ve hung their drapes. Doesn’t it make the room look brighter and bigger?Some other storage options are:

Storing things in baskets under the bed. I personally like this idea because then you can’t see the things you store. The less clutter you see, the better!

I’ve seen people hang wire baskets on their bathroom walls to store towels and other toiletries. It’s a good idea if you have a small bathroom and are running out of space

Buy furniture that can multitask as a storage container. For example, there are coffee tables that have multiple drawers in them. These are great for maximizing space in your living room. A cramped living room is one that has too much clutter and furniture in it.

What better way to get rid of the clutter than to hide things inside your coffee table? I’ve also seen beds and sofas with drawers in them!Buy tables with glass, acrylic or lucite tops. These 3 materials are all transparent and can reflect light very well. Since your eyes travel through their clear surfaces,  you end up seeing a less cramped room. I’ve seen a lot of people have glass dining tables or coffee tables with a glass top.

Mirrors are your best friend. If your apartment gets a lot of natural sunlight, consider yourself lucky. Natural sunlight really opens up the interior, and the best way to maximize the amount of natural sunlight you’re getting is to put a big mirror opposite the window. Since mirrors reflect light around a room, you can expect to see a brighter room and feel more of an open flow.

Design your room with lighter hues to open up the space. Dark colours have the tendency to make a space look more enclosed, and that’s why we want to avoid them at all costs. I would recommend going for a simple, neutral palette for instance visit the link for more gentle colors. That means lighter walls and lighter furniture.  Notice in the photograph below, this apartment’s living room looks particularly spacious, as it has a nice neutral-colored palette. They’ve also hung their drapes close to the ceiling AND installed floating shelves behind the couch for extra storage space