If you’re looking for something a little more DIY or just want your outlets workable rather than attractive, that’s an option as well. “You can also take the elbow grease route and strip, scrape, or sand off any old paint. I highly recommend using a steel wool brush and a drill for this,” she adds. “Remember, always turn off your power at the breaker before attempting any outlet makeovers.”
And if you simply can’t stand the painted-over cable or strange, unknown wires, you don’t have to live with them. “In my experience, most of them are dust collecting clumps that lead nowhere,” Katie says. “I pull them all out except the one that is plugged into my router—I’m not totally reckless—and patch the holes. If that’s not your vibe, cable covers are the only good product I’ve found since they’re paintable and adhesive.”
Weird closet layouts and shelves
Storage: There’s never enough. Even for the most minimal, object-shunning, organizationally minded among us, squeezing all of your stuff into whatever configuration of closets, drawers, and shelves are available can be a hassle. And sometimes, if you’re really lucky, your otherwise-perfect apartment comes with a closet that can only be described as wonky. Maybe it’s full of weird shelves or bars in strange places, or maybe it has doors that are simply too tall to use for storage.
Washington, DC, blogger Imani Keal found herself in a similar predicament in her new space. “I love my apartment, but the landlord made some really silly mistakes in my closet—like having a tension rod resting on top of wood supports with no upper shelving, even though there was ample space,” she shares.
“To make things better, I properly secured heavy-duty closet rods and stacked them on top of each other, so I could have more closet space. I reused shelves from an old kitchen project to make use of the vertical space above the racks and added decorative boxes for things like hoodies and bathing suits. I’m all about making an apartment what you need it to be, with the permission of your landlord, of course. I sent my landlord an email asking nicely if I could fix/change some of the things about the apartment and they were totally game. I created a template to help other renters too.”
Keal touches on an important point, you’ll never know until you ask, so if something is truly driving you bonkers, reach out to your landlord to see what you can do about it. You may end up (probably) footing the bill yourself, but if it makes your space more liveable then it’s 100% worth it.
Uneven and distorted walls
All those layers of white paint can distort more than the outlets. Eventually, the walls can become uneven and craggy from years of patched holes and painted-over scuff marks. There are more labor-intensive ways of fixing the walls, but for a more renter- and budget-friendly option, consider…more paint.