Cheap Apartment Decorating Ideas

Most apartments likely have the disguise and feel of a well resided home. Apartment living is a great way to save money and it gives you the freedom to move around, as you desire. Entertaining in a well-designed apartment will make you feel good and will most likely make you enjoy living there. Cheap apartment decorating ideas will help you avoid being broke; while lavishly stylizing you’re apartment for that next big gathering or simply for you- to make you feel good about living in an apartment.

Paint: Many apartment complexes have rules about not being able to paint the inside of your dwelling. If they do, it’s probably a boring white / off white color. To avoid the plain bare walls you can paint you’re furniture instead. Be creative and paint an old table, wood chairs or an end table a bright color. Paint is cheap, easy and a cost effective strategy to bring color into your home. Another idea, go to a yard sale, swap meet or discount store and find colorful cheap artwork to hang on your boring white walls to bring out the zest.

You could use curtains as a way to decorate you’re plain walls without painting or wallpaper. It gives the look of luxury and gives the illusion you have windows behind drapes. Use long drapes that hang from the ceiling to the floor to give height to the room instead of a tiny window or just plain blank wall.

Carpet: Apartments normally don’t come with polished hardwood floors many of us dream about; they usually have carpet with three generations of living already built in. Most will have a few stains and you will usually have to live with it. However, there is a solution to the problem and its called area rugs. Area rugs are great for covering stains and boring colored carpet. The best places to find area rugs for cheap are online at Craigslist, Pier 1 and Cost Plus. Area rugs will be your best friend when living in an apartment.

Small Spaces: Apartments are normally small cramped spaces. Using mirrors is a great way to make your apartment feel larger and give it a homey feel. You can find all different sizes of mirrors at a swap meet and/or thrift store. You can find large ones to cover an entire wall if you want, but I prefer many different sized framed mirrors. Framed mirrors give a little extra pizazz and a more extravagant look then plain border-less mirrors. If you like conformity, you can paint the frames the same color or use different colors and/or stain them to your liking.

Dining area: In today’s high tech world many people telecommute for work. If you’re living in an apartment you may not have the room for a home office. If you need a workspace, one idea is to get rid of the dining room table and replace it with an old farm table or console table that fits the area. This will give it an industrial look and provide an adequate workspace. Instead of dining chairs find some folding chairs that can be folded and stored under your bed. I would use a nice ergonomic desk chair with wheels while working. This will give you the opportunity to use the table as a desk or as a dining table when you have guest.

Furniture Placement: If you’re room is large enough you can “float” the sofa in the middle and add a console or low dresser behind it. This can provide a nice barrier between the dining and living area, as they are usually shared spaces. You may have to move it around a bit to get it the way you want it. You may even put up a nice room divider behind the sofa to break it up even more.

Shelving: Shelving can be used in any room of your home and it provides a nice placement for you’re what knots or general storage needs. You can use baskets, mason jars and/or any nice containers to sit on the shelves. You can get inexpensive shelving at Ikea, swamp meet or discount store. Floating shelves are really nice and can add an extra flair to any room.

Greenery: Plants are a great way to bring life into you’re apartment. They look great and actually have health benefits. Plants help clean the air, control humidity and help reduce noise levels. Plants also improve the “energy” in your living space. Feng Shui actually mentions plants improve your homes chi. Place plants in areas you want to emphasize.

Lighting: Most apartments are dark and dreary, proper lighting enhances the decorating scheme in any room. There are many light sources available ranging from lamps, natural light to salt crystals. Natural light is the best source when possible. It’s the most cost effective solution on the planet. Given the very nature and style of apartments natural light may not be available or provide enough light for you’re needs. Lighting a room is often the hardest thing to do. Over lighting can have people shielding their eyes when they walk into a room and a room with no light will have people squinting to see.

Decorating an apartment can be a challenging task. There are limits to what can be done and rental rules you must follow. Cheap apartment decorating ideas can help you design the perfect apartment you will love. Please visit my blog for more design ideas and inspiration.

Tips on Getting Your Security Deposit Back From Your Apartment Rental

It is always a point of contention; once you have moved out, you expect to get your security deposit back in full-just as you gave it to the Landlord. On move out day, you take a look around your now former apartment. Everything looks good. Well, maybe a small mark on the wall here and there. And maybe you could have cleaned out the refrigerator a little better. But hey it does not cost that much to make an apartment nice again. Does it?

One of the hardest costs for Landlords to absorb is painting. On the open market, try finding a painter who could repaint your apartment for less than $500! Fortunately, apartment complexes typically have in-house maintenance staff that can do the work for less than market labor value. The costs are, more than likely, even less to the Tenant. Still, Landlords are stuck with having to absorb materials costs which remain the same regardless of any particular circumstance.

So if you have made many marks on walls, have a child(ern) that has used something other than a water soluble substance on walls, or just been careless with hanging things and moving furniture around, then chances are you will get hit with a full paint-out bill. After so many marks and scratches, it is no longer worth it nor all that possible to do a “touch-up” job.

Some common ways to mark up walls include:

  • headboards from beds
  • sofas pressed snug against walls
  • televisions pressed closely to walls (for cathode ray tubes)
  • dogs and cats scratching or rubbing against corners
  • children throwing toys or playing off walls
  • rearranging furniture, especially in the living room and bedroom
  • buying new furniture-especially when you first move-in. It is easy to forget that from day one if your movers are not careful or you are not, you could have many marks and scratches.

Another cost is floor cleaning. If there is hardwood flooring involved, and you were not that careful moving in or moving out your furniture, it can cost anywhere from $1 to $3 per square foot just to sand and refinish! Simply putting another coat of polyurethane can do the trick, however, if the damage was extensive, it will bleed through and look bad for the next Tenant-who may even get blamed for some one else’s damages! Also, if there are pets involved, this is particularly risky to the Landlord. Unlike carpeting, getting urine and urine and feces smells out of hardwood flooring is extremely difficult.
Of course, the extreme measure is to replace the parts of the floor that are really bad. That can get a bit pricey plus make the flooring look uneven and nonuniform.

For carpeting, it is much easier to maintain and clean even though the wear is faster. As a Tenant, it can be worth it to you to find a professional carpet cleaner. Typically, you can find one for between $80 to $300. If you leave it to the Landlord, expect to be charged. When you move out, it is easy to forget that the apartment was cleaned and prepared for you, and the Landlord owes that courtesy to the next Tenant.

So next time you are wondering why you have not gotten that security deposit back, remember the two biggest costs to reviving the apartment, put yourself in the Landlord’s shoes, and then start calculating.

Apartment Investing Basics

Many investors looking to get started in real estate look at investing in apartments. Apartment investing is a great way to begin investing in real estate. This is because apartments are something that we all have had some introduction to and are familiar with.

We all understand that “people will always need a roof over their heads”. And that is the nice thing about investing in apartment buildings. Getting started will take some time, and if you begin with the basics, you will be well ahead of most investors just starting out.

Benefits of Apartment Investing:

1. Cash Flow
Bought properly, apartment buildings will provide a steady source of income for the owner. If you purchase a building in a good area with good management, your apartments will remain occupied, putting money in your pocket every month. The nice thing is that all of this can more-or-less happen on autopilot because you cah hire a property manager to handle the day-to-day activities.

2. Appreciation
This is an area where apartment buildings shine. Because the value of an apartment building is based on the income it provides to the owner, when you increase the net income, you increase the value of the property. Period. It is that simple – you simply purchase properties where you can increase rents and reduce expenses – realistically – while keeping everything properly managed and maintained. Try doing something – anything – to increase the value of your stock portfolio. You have no control whatsoever over your investment.

3. Equity Increase
Your equity also increases every single month. How? Because your tenants are paying off your mortgage. It may not be large equity jumps like when you manage the income and expenses. However, every single month your mortgage principal balance is reduced, thereby increasing your wealth. Month in and month out.

4. Tax Advantages
Apartments provide the owner tax benefits both through depreciation while owning the property and through a 1031 exchange. I don’t buy based on the tax benefits, but they are a nice bonus to get involved with apartment investing.

Steps to Get Started Investing In Apartment Buildings:

Education
Begin by educating yourself on apartment investing and property management. Even if you are going to hire someone else for the property management, you will want to have some knowledge base to go from. Start out by going through some apartment investment courses – they are difficult to find, but well worth looking for. In addition, if you can attend a live event with other investors, you will benefit from that, as well. Just by getting around others with like minds, you will be heading in the right direction.

Property Analysis
Remember no matter how nice a building looks, or how new it is, or how great the neighborhood is, it all comes down to the numbers. Never, ever lose sight of that fact. Decide what your goals are for investing in apartments and choose the properties that will help you get there – fastest.

Take Action
One of the biggest mistakes I see is a would-be investor who invests in his or her education, and never buys their first property. Take your time getting educated and going through the process, but I would encourage you to follow through and take action when the time is right. Then keep going. Get your first property and keep building your wealth over time.