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Moving to an apartment can have its benefits. Not only does it have lower maintenance needs than a house, but it is also often situated in a good location. Plus, higher-end apartments tend to have better security than a typical home. Whatever your reason is, living in an apartment can bring you benefits that home sometimes can’t.

However, there are also disadvantages to living in an apartment. You have to deal with neighbors, and it can be a lottery when it comes to getting the good ones. It’s also smaller compared to a regular house, so if you have a family of your own, it might be challenging to manage with a small space. Another thing that you can be limited when it comes to renting is the personalization of your own space.

Laws of Apartment Renovation

Unlike a house that is its own freestanding structure, an apartment is a communal space that you have to share with other people. You have your neighbors and building owners to take into consideration before you can go about doing renovations in a place that is not yours alone.

If you’re living in Australia, there are laws that protect both the tenants and the landlord when it comes to renovating an apartment space. The US doesn’t have a “Strata Title”, but they have laws that are quite similar.

Strata by-laws (or landlord tenant leases – depending on where you live)  were put in place to ensure that the renters know what they can and cannot change during a renovation. It also protects the right of tenants to have their own private space and not have that space interfered with anyone or anything else.

Another purpose of this law is to keep apartment spaces uniform in appearance. This means that renovation that can affect the outside appearance of your complex is prohibited and can incur charges under your name. So, no, you can’t have that balcony renovated to a new style.

Different states have different laws, so make sure you review the ones in the state or area you’re living in.  In addition to laws in place,  your complex or individual building owner will also likely put rules in place regarding what you can and cannot do in your space or flat.

Rental updates You Can Still Do

However, just because significant renovations are a big no-no, that doesn’t mean you can’t fit your some things to your tastes. There are still some minor remodels you can do to spice up your tenant life.

Be it in a flat in Chicago, a unit in Montreal, or Apartments in Adelaide – these nifty rental updates may be permissible by your landlord. Just make sure you notify them first before making significant changes and that you have permission to do them.

Repainting the Walls

Apartment units can have evidence of human activity all over it. It can have nail holes or cracks that can be hard to fix and frustrating to see. That is why you must do some serious prep work before you can even start getting that paint bucket or brush.

Pick the right paint that would work best with the type of materials used in your apartment’s walls. There are many types of paint, and each has an advantage and disadvantage. The finish is also important to consider since they will affect how the light bounces off your walls.

An important note: some landlords wouldn’t allow repainting. Check the clauses in your lease carefully before doing anything. If there’s nothing explicitly written, a check-up with your landlord and make sure that they are okay with it.

Changing the Lighting

Some apartments already have light fixtures built into them. However, if you want to jazz up your apartment using lights, then many light fixtures can be easily replaced without having to do any rewiring. You can also change your lightbulbs, especially if they are incandescent lights. A CFL or LED bulb can save you more money when it comes to electric bills.

Keep in mind that changing wiring will likely not be allowed, and that you may have to change it back to the original light fixture before your lease is up unless you have explicit permission to leave the change in place.

Replace Cabinet Handles

Just because your apartment already has cabinet hardware installed doesn’t mean you can’t change it to your taste. Upgrading your cabinets can make a significant difference in your tenant life.

The easiest way to do this is by changing the hardware on your cabinet, doors, or furniture. It completely transforms the room, and with the vast array you can choose from, it can fit the aesthetic of your choice. They’re also pretty cheap and easy to do.

Again, although this sounds trivial, you may have to change the hardware back to the original hardware before you leave.  Ask the landlord! And always get permission to change things in writing.  Text or email is fine.

Apply Tile Stickers

If you want to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom with new tiles, you can’t exactly remove the ones that are already there. With tile stickers, you can cover up that drab bathroom or kitchen wall without having to upheave your entire flat. It’s quick, mess-free, and the tiles come in different designs, shapes, and sizes.

Discuss this with the building owners prior to installing them unless they are the removable type.


Apartments, unlike houses, have specific requirements when it comes to renovation and remodeling. However, that shouldn’t stop you from making your apartment your haven. Little changes can make a significant difference. Just remember that there are limitations, and you have a landlord to think of.

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