Apartment hunting can be stressful, and living in an apartment isn't always a picnic either. From noisy neighbors to horrible landlords and tight spaces, things can get dicey. But with the right tricks up your sleeve, living in an apartment can be awesome. Here are ten ways to make that happen.
10. Find the Perfect Pad
9. Cultivate a Good Relationship with Your Landlord
8. Save on Rent and on Moving Costs
7. Upgrade It
6. Ease Roommate Tension
5. Deal with Noisy Neighbors
4. Avoid the Dreaded Rent Increase
3. Save on Energy Costs
2. Make It Feel Like Home
1. Use Your Space Wisely
You hear it all the time, but the most useful apartment tips we encounter always have to do with saving space. It makes sense, since apartments can be pretty tight fits—especially if you're renting in a big city. You can save a lot of space with cheap household products, though—like command hooks, bed risers, and over-the-door storage racks. Just remember: use your vertical space when you don't have horizontal space, especially where it's easily out of sight.
You may not be able to repaint your apartment, install new carpet, or make any other permanent changes, you can still customize it and make it feel like home. Use photos and frames creatively to keep the walls from looking too bare, and add a large rug or other floor covering to switch things up. Stick to good design principles and a little can go a long way, at least until it's time to buy your own place.
Like upgrading your fixtures, some energy-saving measures are more difficult to pull off in an apartment, but you can still do a lot. For example, you can still install window shades, install a programmable thermostat, use energy efficient light bulbs, and more. In fact, most of our best energy-saving tips should be applicable to apartment living—just make sure you check with your landlord before you start tearing anything apart or sealing up doors and windows.
Just because you got a good deal on rent at the beginning doesn't mean you're in the clear. Landlords increase rent all the time, and if you aren't prepared, you'll end up paying more next year than you did this year. Luckily, it may be avoidable. First, make sure it's even legal for them to do so, and see if you can negotiate them down (much like you did with the initial rent). This form letter may help you out, too.
When you live in a house, your neighbors are separated by...well, another house. When you live in an apartment, your neighbors are separated by what always appears to be paper-thin "walls." If your neighbor is prone to loud music, lovemaking, or dance dance revolution binges at 1am, you have options. Obviously you can have a conversation with them, but depending on the circumstances, it may pay to go to the management or send them more subtle messages. Of course, you could just fill out this complaint form and slip it under their door too. And if you don't have any noisy neighbors...make sure you're not the noisy neighbor.
If you're living with roommates, you have a whole new set of things to deal with. For example, you have to divide up all your expenses, and share a close quarters living space. The former can be easily managed with a service like Splitwise, and almost everything else just means you should have a conversation and set ground rules early on. Of course, if you just get stuck with a horrible roommate, there are ways to "evict" them, too. Photo credit.