I am renting an apartment starting next month and I am not satisfied by some of its floors, walls and even ceilings. Also, both kitchen and bathroom are already set-up with basic furniture, i.e. cabinets, a stove, a dishwasher, a toilet, a bath, etc. I have been living with my parents in a rental apartment so far and I have no idea what options I have. Since I am only renting the apartment, I must not make any modifications which are non-reversible. How could I modify these things in a reversible way?

These would be two pictures of my kitchen and my bathroom: http://imgur.com/a/9v0lJ#0

For example, I dislike the tiles in the kitchen since it reminds me of a grandmother's kitchen whereas I am a young student. Or the "door" in the bathroom: I'd much rather replace it by a curtain or at least by a clear glass-wall. However, I don't know if this is possible without permanently changing it.

  • 3
    You are setting out to rent the wrong apartment. If you want to customize your living space to your hearts content then buy your own place.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 19:42
  • @MichaelKaras: I'm sorry but I need a place to stay and can't even remotely afford buying my own place. Yet I want to improve my apartment as much as possible and get the most out of it.
    – Huy
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 20:23
  • 1
    You don't "improve" an apartment. That's just not the way it works. You rent the place you can afford that comes closest to being what you want. I'd recommend that you find a different place if you're dissatisfied with the aesthetics of the place you've found. That, or suck it up, save money, and buy your own place.
    – iLikeDirt
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 20:53
  • Choose another apartment that you like a little better?
    – alt
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 22:01
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    Well, best ask the landlord. You are renting. As long as it's not glued down, to you it shouldn't matter, but you and I don't enter into the equation as you don't own and I'm a disinterested third party. Discuss it with the landlord and let him know it will be removed when you leave, and if he agrees, all is copacetic. It really is just that simple, talk to your landlord, it's part of being an adult and taking on those responsibilities. You will over the years, find each is different and has different expectations of their renters. Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


There really isn't a lot you can do to a floor which is affordable and reversable other than throw down a rug. A washable rug isn't unthinkable in a kitchen but personally I don't like that solution, not least due to concerns over trip hazard when carrying hot items. Serious burns are not fun (he says, having poured boiling water over his foot many years ago).

That kitchen floor is MUCH less offensive than many. I believe that, after living there a month or two, it'll just become "the way it is" and you'll stop noticing it except when specifically looking for things to object to. Meanwhile, putting a light-colored work table in the middle of the kitchen might change the look of the room enough to make you happier.

Regarding the shower door... You may be able to dismount the doors and remount them upon departure, but the tracks will almost certainly need to stay in place. Personally I would STRONGLY recommend you talk to the landlord about this so he or she doesn't discover the change when you bring them to repair something; if they do approve this change they may also have opinions on where and how the doors should be stored. Again, though, I'd suggest you try living with it for a while and see how much it's really a problem rather than just being different.

Modifying walls: Hang art (up to and including quilts...); make sure it's properly supported per the complex's rules and be prepared to do some touch-up of the walls when you leave. And/or paint, with the owner's permission (again, they may insist it be repainted back to white when you leave). Or put up freestanding bookcases, or other furnishings to break up the wall. (I once built a full-wall shelving-and-clothes-rails system for one apartment which was badly short of closet space. About $100 worth of white Melamine-covered fiberboard plus hardware. Backless, mostly freestanding, braced against the wall at each end of the room and with a few brackets anchoring it to studs to make it somewhat childproof. Much cheaper and more roomy than buying an armoire, not stylish but functional.)

Ceilings: If you're looking at the ceilings of a rental at any time except when in bed, you're probably looking too hard.

It's a rental. It will never be perfect. Settle for making it functional and comfortable. Your next apartment will have a whole new set of issues.


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