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Need major help in our house rental!!!

User
2 years ago

Hi there. We are renting out a townhouse beginning Feb 1 that is completely outdated. We were originally going into the lease with the assumption we would rent to buy, but he is not lowering his price so the changes we had in mind to make are not an option anymore. He is allowing us to paint which we are doing a light to medium grey to the entire house. He is not allowing us to update with paint the trim, doors, or cabinets. I can only attach four pics for now but when I post I will add more!

For the kitchen, the cabinets I will be using white contact paper to cover them completely. I will also be using white marble contact paper for the countertops and white peel and stick subway tile backsplash. Lastly, using stainless steel stickers for the appliances.

But I need help with the rest of the house! My boyfriend is allowing us a budget of about $2000 overall to make some changes and the landlord is allowing us $300 to paint.

Between the living room, office, and bathroom on the first floor, and the two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor, I need major suggestions that are budget friendly and temporary.

I like everything to be grays and whites, very modern and clean looking.

Please provide some help on how I can makeover the house! I have two weeks before we move in and he’s allowing us to work there in the meantime before we move our furniture in.

Comments (74)

  • housegal200
    2 years ago

    Since you do have a little bit of a budget, hire a color consultant who can come in and evaluate the lighting the condo gets day and night and look at photos of your furnishings to see what warm neutral paints would work in the space. As several people said, gray will not go with the beige carpeting or tan floors. So get an expert who can give you professional advice.


    If you want to put your personal stamp on the place, do it with art, rugs, accessories, curtains/window treatments, not with Contact paper.


    This palette picks up the warm wood and the beige carpet color but also has gray and black in it. That's the palette to choose for things that work with the floors, carpeting, wood and, hopefully your furtiture.

    "Crossline" Large Contemporary Original Art · More Info



    Surya Banshee BAN-3382 5'x8' Taupe, Gray Rug · More Info


    Spheres Pattern Reversible Oversized Throw · More Info



  • Cheryl Smith
    2 years ago

    I want to give you options for things you CAN do within your budget that you can take with you when you leave. save anything you change to put back when you leave. change cabinet hardware if you don't like it just make sure you get ones with the same distance between the holes. get drapery that matches your furniture. even lighting can be changed if you save it to put back. get area rugs and pillows to tie what's there in with your stuff. It will look totally different and more like home when you move your things in. bring colors you like into every room. bedding and towels can change the way a room looks. it sounds like this will be temporary. consider showing the landlord what you want to do. he may decide it adds to the unit and would be willing to pay for it. but don't expect him to change everything or get mad if he doesn't approve of your choices.

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  • lawiercioch
    2 years ago

    My husband and I are landlords and I can say absolutely do not cover the cabinets with contact paper. Chances are it will be difficult to remove after a year or two and will leave some kind of residue or pull off the finish. You probably would not get back your security deposit. I have painted several of my properties Ashen Tan by Benjamin Moore. It is a warm gray beige and looks great with both gray and warmer toned colors like the oak in your kitchen. I believe your landlord would approve also. Benjamin Moore has large samples of this color so you can tape it to the walls in different rooms and see how it looks with the lighting. Also make sure your light bulbs are a warm white. Black is a great accent color with oak and will unify the rooms. If you look through some design magazines you will see that wood cabinets are coming back and navy and green are big right now. Good Luck!

  • ravensmom13
    2 years ago

    First of all...STOP....stop and THINK....I know you're excited about moving in, BUT...it is NOT your home, and as you've stated, it will NEVER be "yours"....you are just "borrowing" ( renting ) it, and ONLY for a year...which will go by quicker than you know it !! When you find the right place to BUY, then will be the time to put all your ideas into practice......Speaking from experience, when we BOUGHT our home, it looked like a Crayola box of crayons had exploded inside...every room a different color, and not muted ones, either !! PLUS the house is on "overload" with Golden Oak woodwork...it's everywhere !! I had a Colonial home with white woodwork previously, and GRAYS ( or a Greige ) work well with it...NOT with Golden Oak....they clash horridly !! In my "excitement" of the move and wanting to "neutralize" the color explosion, I did all the rooms in the Greige...what a disaster !! After living with it for a while, I went to Mesa Tan by Sherwin Williams...OMG...what a difference !! Instead of the woodwork and walls "fighting" with each other, they now complimented one another, and my BLACK appliances are toned down with the change so much, that I took THAT cue and used black as a décor color in my front hall, too...perfect !!


    That said, save your "gray" ideas for YOUR home, use that $$$ for the paint allowance you are given by landlord to "warm up" the rooms, then accent here, there, and everywhere with black, which is quite classy when used properly....


    Use the year you will have living there to KEEP ON going on Houzz, save tons of pics to your album, and when you search for your "forever home" I hope you will find one that suits YOU and your preferences......Good luck !!



  • sandeeteedee
    2 years ago

    Everything here I completely agree with- I'd paint the whole place a warm off white and put your money into your own accent pieces- a colorful area rug, art, and window treatments that will move out with you- think rollup blinds, Roman shades, etc. You did mention taking off some of the upper cabinet doors in the kitchen and that sounds like a possibility to scratch your DIY itch- check out removable wallpaper for the backing wall (NOT the shelves)- that will give you a project that won't cost an arm and a leg yet will give you some brighter color in there that won't upset the landlord when you take it down- the adhesive on the peelable wallpaper isn't nearly as damaging as contact paper! Buy a roll and use it for lining the drawers- it is a pain to work with on even a cut square basis and you will abandon the idea for your whole future! Bring in white accessories to the kitchen countertops to break up the dark- a big pitcher, a platter propped against the backsplash, a vase you keep a weekly bunch of white flowers, etc.

    And if you really want to spend that $2000, get a professional opinion from a designer or even a house stager- they are used to making sow's ears into purses! And think back one year to acknowledge how fast you got to today. The year will fly by, especially with your forever house hunt going on.




  • cda1028
    2 years ago

    Put the money toward good art that you love and will always have. People notice art and will remember your good taste that way. Student art shows and artists‘ cooperative galleries are good places to look and will get you out of your house which is, after all, a one year rental. I wouldn’t even spend my time on painting. If you like to paint, post an ad somewhere and pick up a painting job so you can acquire some extra money for a place you will be in longer. Really, there’s no point in fixing anything that you’ll be in for only one year. I own my home and have learned to be both landlord and renter to myself because no matter when you sell, the buyer will think everything is “so dated” but mortgage lenders care only about structure, not style, and buyers can spend only so much. Enjoy a year of not having to care about a house beyond keeping it clean.

  • Denita
    2 years ago

    Everyone has given you excellent advice about not putting contact paper anywhere. It will damage the surfaces on which you put the contact paper. You risk not only your security deposit, but the landlord can come after you for the damages over and above the security deposit in most leases I've seen. Take their very good advice and don't change anything.

    As to the painting of the walls, make sure you get that in writing from the landlord before you paint anything. Also make sure you get approval for the color of the paint, in writing. How would you feel if the landlord told you verbally it was okay and then at the end of your lease retained the deposit because the color wasn't approved? I am serious. Once you have it in writing from the landlord, then paint the walls.

    A year flies by. You will be able to take your things to your new home once you find the right place for you. Enjoy your time in this rental, it looks like a nice place to live while you find your perfect for you home.

  • misecretary
    2 years ago

    Hi Tori, just realized you haven't posted for about 8 days. Have you moved in yet and what did you end up doing with your place? Would like to see some pics if you have the time. Thanks.


  • Lynn G
    2 years ago

    I agree - stay away from grey. It doesn't look good with wood/brown.


    Perhaps go with white paint on the walls. I used Ben Moore's "Chantilly Lace" - I find it bright without being too warm/yellow or cool/blue. That will brighten things up. Then use pops of color. You don't own the joint, so minimize your effort. As for buying the place, seems to be a place you don't really like the look of. Keep looking elsewhere for something that's a better fit for your taste.

  • Webado Webada
    2 years ago

    There's no need of shower curtains in any bathroom, they all have bathtub enclosures. Remove whatever shower curtains are there now, as they really have no purpose and are just fussy, dust and mold traps.

    As for paint, egg-shell white would be my choice, for all the walls and ceilings.

  • decoenthusiaste
    2 years ago

    Pretend you're the "good" landlord and you want to have a viable rental property. Paint in a "go to" color for every tenant and their belongings. Navajo White is the standard in my area. Clean the rugs and all the woodwork, and line the interior of the cabinetry. Things I would do for my own comfort/enjoyment would be new toilet seats/lids, new light/fan fixtures and window treatments. I would remove the valance/cornice treatments in the bathrooms. Upgrade the light bulbs to LEDs in a range that makes everything look better. Often that is the 4,000 kelvin range. Properly hung curtains can make a huge difference. Just save some of the paint and plan to repair the holes in the wall and paint over them, hanging up his old stuff when you leave. When I've rented in the past, I sold all my "makeovers" to the LL upon departure because they were such an upgrade for his property.



  • Olychick
    2 years ago

    The OP appears to have left the building. Hopefully, not because she didn't hear what she wanted to hear, or that she's finding out what a mess it is trying to cover everything with contact paper.

  • njmomma
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Not a Pro.

    Hopefully the OP will come back.

    If you show us the furniture and style you are working with, many people may be able to give you great advise on how to decorate your rental and still be able to make it a home you can be happy in.

    Move in, put furniture in place, pick an area rug and art, then paint.

    As mentioned above, No contact paper, change the hardware in the kitchen, bag old hardware and put it back up when you leave. Change out lighting, and bag old lighting and store. Buy large trays that fit under the upper cabinets and display them on the counter. If you want a white kitchen get white trays, etc. Frame stands work well to display them.

    Small inexpensive changes go a long way.

  • pricklypearcactus
    2 years ago

    I hope you come back tori. The posters above gave really thoughtful, spot on advise. Your new rental looks really nice to me. Far nicer than the first home I purchased or most of the rentals I've been in. Most recently I rented for a year when we were hoping to build a home and ended up purchasing instead. That year went by incredibly quickly and our rental was no where near as lovely as yours. I know this rental doesn't match your personal preferences, but the wood cabinets are very nice and you have great open floor plan and layout. Contact paper has the potential to destroy those cabinets and that's really unfair to a landlord. As a landlord I would be pretty upset if you removed the cabinet doors as well because they might be damaged or reinstalled improperly. I love the suggestions above to have a color consultant help you choose paint. I think that combined with some nice furniture that you can take with you will really help make your new rental a home.

  • Gcubed
    2 years ago

    following

  • Eve Horowitz
    2 years ago

    I'm stuck on the part where the boyfriend will 'allow' a budget of whatever amount. Regardless of what the house looks like, you don't want to live with someone who 'allows' you to do things. If you're not equal partners, it's good that you're renting, because I don't think this relationship is meant to last!

  • suezbell
    2 years ago

    Echoing others, suggest you invest your money in items that both fit your current space that you truly like and that you can take with you when you move.


    Update on your progress?

  • berekann
    2 years ago

    Given that the original poster hadn’t given any updates, methinks you were all scammed. Really, who on earth would ever, ever put contact paper on cabinets and counters? Just no.

  • Little Bug
    2 years ago

    I don’t think it was a scammer but a very young inexperienced woman thrilled about her first home with her S.O. Then when she read our responses about contact paper, she was scared/shamed away.

  • jmm1837
    2 years ago

    The advice was actually more about not sinking money into a rental. It was good advice.

  • ravensmom13
    2 years ago

    To berekann and Little Bug …...Given that tori godlewski ( original poster ) said they were allowed to paint and do so BEFORE they move in, and that they'll be moving in just 6 days ( Feb. 1st ) I am SURE that they've been super busy and the LAST thing she has time to do right now is to go online and come back to this thread right now...LOL....most of us that posted advice have "been there, done that" before, and we spoke from OUR experiences in previously renting...it was all good and sound advice, given in the hopes of saving someone from making some serious mistakes which COULD end up costing them a security deposit or even worse, being sued for "destruction of property" in a civil court !! A "renter" is ONLY paying to use the SPACE inside an existing structure AS IT IS, unless there is a signed contract specifying differently...that said, there are MANY things one can do to "make it their own" while staying there temporarily...hopefully she will come back with some awesome pictures of how they worked to do just that after the move !! I am sure we all wish them the best on this new journey together !!

  • IdaClaire
    2 years ago

    Well said, ravensmom.


    I find the comments upthread assuming things about this relationship to be totally out of line. Give me a break ... you cannot POSSIBLY know anything about these people based upon the use of the word "allowed", and it's quite condescending to assume one does.

  • suedonim75
    2 years ago

    ^^^ Agree!! I think it was just an awkward wording. Every couple discusses budget and what is "allowed", or agreed upon. What a way to really read into something. eyeroll.

  • nosoccermom
    2 years ago

    housegal 200s advice is spot on. Try to go for a modern Scandi look, i.e. white, light wood, with black accents and lots of texture.


    As far as "sinking money into a rental" , I can see this both from the landlord's and tenant's perspective (I'm both). In my opinion, a mutually agreed on updating and, yes, even investing to a certain extent, can a be a win-win for both. As a tenant, I have painted, even paid for an upgrade to SS appliances when landlord replaced old appliances, or installed a backsplash, just to have a nicer home at a much better rental price.

  • bygeorgi
    2 years ago

    That house is ugly and dated, but landlords don't like sinking $ into updates because many renters destroy their properties, yes, I'm a landlord. Just live with it, don't put a dime into it. Grey will only make that oak trim look more orange and I'm sure you don't want to accent the orange wood. Save the money for your more modern dream home, that place ain't it.

  • suezbell
    2 years ago

    The house isn't ugly -- just not the best it could be.


    If you paint the part of the wall below the chair rail darker and the wall above the chair rail lighter -- perhaps two shades of gray or two shades of light brown/tan, then the chair rail might not b e as obvious.

  • suezbell
    2 years ago

    If you have one item or pair of items in each room that you truly like and draw attention to it with light and/or color, that can help you tolerate the rest better you like less.

  • shirlpp
    2 years ago

    I feel you Tori, however I think you should leave the cabinets alone. Update the cabinet hardware with stainless/brushed nickel. I'm not sure about the white marble for the backsplash and countertop. Is there another peel-n-stick that you might consider?

  • cda1028
    2 years ago

    Practice a year of delayed gratification and save all the money you can for the time when you are a homeowner. Be grateful that if your heating or plumbing system fails, you wont have to come up with thousands of dollars to fix it or replace it.

  • IdaClaire
    2 years ago

    Yeah, the house is NOT "ugly" by any means; to the contrary, it appears to be a very nice rental that countless people would absolutely love to call home. It's so apparent that we each bring our own experiences to this matter, as the advice given certainly projects a good deal of "us", collectively, into the OP's situation.


    While I don't think peel-and-stick material is the best solution, I do understand a driving desire to turn a rental into as much of a personal space as possible, within the given parameters. I think the house has good bones and will lend itself nicely to the infusion of personal touches, and the more you bring in elements that reflect who YOU are and what YOU love, the more the actual "space" will sort of fade into the background and become less of the focus and more of, well, simply the BACKGROUND. For that reason, I would hesitate to sink a lot of personal capital into the home, but would do as has been suggested upthread and add to my art collection or my kitchenware or work towards buying the furniture I want to live with for the long term.


    Most of all, I hope you and your boyfriend absolutely love being in your new home. It's exciting to be making the transition from one place to another, and I wish you well!

  • st5330
    2 years ago

    No contact paper. use your money to buy new furniture or art or whatever

  • bygeorgi
    2 years ago

    Tori obviously has a more updated style just because others would love to live there don't make it pretty. I say this coming from a contractors view which I was.. and currently I am landlord . I made updates to my rental and am getting $400 more a month than before ..... maybe you could convince the landlord an updated property could rent for more. Because they do, I used to repair and update rentals to increase the monthly rental value. That being said any reno must be classic in style so that it holds value over time, no trends.

  • User
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Thank you for this response :) I appreciate it. That’s what we are currently doing.

  • User
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    I failed to mention that we will be living here 2-3 years renting

  • bygeorgi
    2 years ago

    Good for you, your landlord will surely get a bump in rent down the line. Painting the cabinets white and white subway backsplash would be a good way to go, removing the chair rail trim thru out the home and painting all the oak trim, etc will go a long way.

  • User
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Yeah exactly. We spent the past weekend making some changes - haven’t even started to paint just removed wall paper, window curtains, an outdated chandelier, and it has made a world of a difference!

  • User
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Also another before

  • Gcubed
    2 years ago

    Looks much better just without the paper.

  • katinparadise
    2 years ago

    following

  • SeattleMCM
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I've lived in some less-than-beautiful apartments, and personally, I LOVE making improvements. even if I was only there 6 months. it's my favorite hobby.

    your best bet is to paint the walls (as allowed), and use decor to distract and draw the eye away from the bad parts. in this house, area rugs will be your best friend!

    I think contact paper will only work on the cabinets if they're perfectly flat and smooth -- like formica cabinets. you'll never get it to look right on the type of cabinets you have now. I like your idea of just removing the doors and storing them away.

    I DO like your idea of faux tile backsplash though. from what I understand, that stuff is supposed to be easy to install and easy to remove.

    as for countertop paper: my sister did that. she's really good at DIY / crafting, yet, there were still seams and bubbles. she thought she was going to lose her mind trying to get two pieces to line up perfectly. worse, guests didn't know how delicately you have to treat them and they were destroyed pretty soon. she said removal was very labor intensive (the adhesive is removable, but much stronger than contac paper).

  • Erika Millen
    2 years ago

    We rented a house for three years before buying ours. I second what everyone else has said about not sinking money into a rental. It would be a little like doing an engine rebuild on a rental car. Trust me, you are going to want that $2-3K down the road when you eventually buy your own place.


    Whatever you do, get permission in writing before making changes even if you have a verbal go-ahead from the owner. You don't want to risk being liable for damages or your security deposit because of a misunderstanding.

  • SeattleMCM
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    whatevs. a coat of paint and some elbow grease doesn't cost that much. and like I said before, some people enjoy doint this kind of thing. it's especially worth it if you're going to be there 3 years. sounds like the OP already obtained permission on what they're planning on doing.

    tori godlewski -- keep us posted with updates, I can't wait to see what you come up with! and may I just say that the valance over the (mirrored and frosted) shower door is quite nice. grandma chic.

  • Webado Webada
    2 years ago

    No, no - get rid of the frilly stuff over the bathtub enclosures. They are hideous. They'd have been hideous even back in the 70s, let alone today.

    Just paint all walls and ceilings white.

  • megstwin
    2 years ago

    I think that those gray swatches are very dark and will make the space feel smaller. If you like the tone of them then use a half formula or as one poster said paint all the walls white like Sherwin Williams Shoji White which has a warm gray base to it. Believe it or not wood tone cabinets are being used in the lighter shades in many high end kitchen installs.

    Artwork, pillows and greenery will help make your space cozy and distract from the things you may not love now.

  • woodrose
    2 years ago

    I'm glad you're back, Tori, and I can't wait to see what you do with your place ! I agree with removing that icky wallpaper. That alone is a big improvement. I do agree with megstwin about going lighter on the walls,too.

  • Michele
    2 years ago

    In regards to getting the permission in writing, not just verbally, texting is acceptable. So text the landlord your plans/agreement and have them text you back that they approve (Just in case anything is questioned later down the line).
    I was in this situation once and it all worked out well. I kept inviting the landlord over to see each update and she was excited as I was when it became obvious that our taste was good and definitely improved the property.

  • Steph
    2 years ago

    Try Thunder by Benjamin Moore. It’s a warm grey that looks great with wood.

  • PRO
    Kimber Feece, A Smith & Noble In-Home Designer
    2 years ago

    I’m late on this but as a person who has rented, I get what Tori is saying, and I also agree with the majority of the people on this thread.


    Here’s my 2 cents and I may have missed something because I didn’t read every single reply.

    1) wondering if the landlord would let you paint the cabinets?

    2) if that is a no, it looks like your counter tops are black, and your appliance, do the kitchen walls in a nice crisp white, maybe get a large rung that has some black and white in it and do all your kitchen decor items in black and white. Maybe a fun graphic rug, check Overstock. Do black and white wall art. Utilize those white shelves above for more decor, books etc.

    3) in the bathroom, same idea but maybe have more fun and maybe do a temp wall paper that embraced the color...maybe do palm leaves. Check the Tempaper website and also Amazon and Target sell that brand, It works beautifully and no damage when it comes off. Cover the floor with a rug if you can.

    4) Don’t paint the walls in the rest of the house white it makes all the wood more pronounced. Check Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, it makes the wood not so glaring. See if you can paint the chair rail and molding if possible :-).

    5) Put sisal rugs everywhere you can to cover the carpet, check Overstock again. Do a beige border.

    6) Get rid of those window treatments and do some nice grommet drapery from Target. Put it up as high as you can and have it just graze the floor. Don’t have it inches above the floor.


    I hope some of that helps since you are already moved in :-).

  • berekann
    2 years ago

    I do apologize for my earlier comment doubting your existence. . . Much good advice here! I’ve usually found that when I live in a place, sometimes the quirks become endearing rather than annoying, and often as time goes by ideas just evolve and i find the perfect solution. Recently i moved my sofa-sectional to right angles from where it had been, and it opened the room immensely. Adding plants (fake or real) can help. Good luck, and look forward to seeing the changes

  • Kim Oliva
    2 years ago

    Those cabinets and countertops are in perfect condition and look really nice. Don't cheapen up that kitchen with any stick ons. It'll end up looking cheap and will end up becoming a hot mess. Put your money into some nice decorative items to liven the place up with items you can take with you when you leave. What will happen, is you won't get your deposit back and may even be sued for messing up the owners property.