Apartment living certainly has its perks: you don’t have to do yard work, you never have to pay for the repairs on anything if it breaks, and you can feel free to leave as soon as your lease is up. Of course, the renter’s lifestyle is not without its little annoyances, including paper thin walls, outdated fixtures, and less-than-desirable landlords.
Here are the five biggest drawbacks of apartment living — and how to remedy them.
Apartments Have Small Living Spaces
Unless you’re living in a penthouse-style apartment, it’s likely that the living space in your apartment is relatively cramped. It probably seems like you can never find enough storage for your things, and you usually have to come up with a creative layout just to fit all of your furniture in the living room.
Solution: One of the easiest (albeit painful) ways to deal with a small living space is to get rid of as much stuff as you can bear to part with. If you’re living in a cramped space, it doesn’t make sense to have an overwhelming amount of furniture or items in it. Once you’ve downsized, try to make use of creative storage options like vertical shelving, under-the-bed rollaways, and ottomans that double as storage containers.
You Have No Control Over the Décor
You may love to look through home magazines and see all the latest trends in interior design, but you know your apartment is never going to look like that in a million years because the landlord has permanently left it in the 1970s. One of the most frustrating things about living in an apartment is feeling like you have no control over the way your home looks. Sure, you can most likely hang up pictures and lay down a couple of rugs, but it’s not going to hide the fact that your landlord refuses to update the oak cabinets in your kitchen or the blue tile in the bathroom.
Solution: Ask your landlord if it would be possible to make a few minor updates to the space like changing out the light fixtures or painting the walls. If they’re pretty strict about stuff like that and say no, you can always try to implement temporary decorative items like tile tattoos or temporary wallpaper, both of which can peel off easily when you move out without leaving so much as a scratch behind.
The Walls are Thin
One of the most annoying things about living in an apartment is the fact that the walls are thin— and your neighbors can be pretty loud sometimes. There’s nothing worse than waking up to the sounds of a yapping dog or not being able to go to sleep because the people next door are throwing yet another party.
Solution: While there’s no way to properly soundproof an apartment without stripping the walls down to their studs and putting in more insulation, there are still things you can do as a renter to make your apartment more soundproof. Putting upholstered furniture in your apartment can help absorb some of the sound, as can hanging thick or heavy drapes over your windows to soak up some of the sound coming in from outside. If all else fails, buy a white noise machine or invest in some earplugs. It also never hurts to gently confront your neighbor about their noise levels. They might not even know how loud they’re being!
You Have to Wait on Your Landlord to Make Repairs
One of the biggest advantages of living in an apartment is the fact that your landlord is obligated to make repairs as necessary, and you typically don’t have to pay a dime for them. A big disadvantage, however, is that you have to actually wait on the landlord to make repairs —and sometimes they’re not so timely in fixing the problem.
Solution: In the event of an emergency like an overflowing sink/toilet or a broken heater in the dead of winter, your landlord is required to make the repair in a timely fashion. If they aren’t moving to fix something serious, you can always report your landlord to the local housing authorities. If the repair isn’t serious and your landlord is hedging, you may just want to offer to fix the problem yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Afterwards, your landlord can either reimburse you or take the amount of the repair off your rent.
Outdoor Space is Small or Non-Existent
Not having to mow the lawn or take care of the hedges is a gift that keeps on giving in an apartment, but not having an outdoor space where you can stretch out and enjoy a sunny day is a big drawback to apartment living. Some apartments have a small balcony space that you can take advantage of, but many do not — and that can feel a bit claustrophobic.
Solution: If you have even a little bit of outdoor space, take full advantage of it by making it a place where you actually want to hang out. Lay down an outdoor rug, set out some plants, and buy a patio table and chairs for you and friends to enjoy. If you don’t have any outdoor space available in your apartment, bring the outdoors inside by putting lots of houseplants throughout so you can feel a bit more connected to nature.