torigodlewski

Need major help in our house rental!!!

tori godlewski
3 days ago

Hi there. We are renting out a townhouse beginning Feb 1 that is completely outdated. We were originally going into the lease with the assumption we would rent to buy, but he is not lowering his price so the changes we had in mind to make are not an option anymore. He is allowing us to paint which we are doing a light to medium grey to the entire house. He is not allowing us to update with paint the trim, doors, or cabinets. I can only attach four pics for now but when I post I will add more!

For the kitchen, the cabinets I will be using white contact paper to cover them completely. I will also be using white marble contact paper for the countertops and white peel and stick subway tile backsplash. Lastly, using stainless steel stickers for the appliances.

But I need help with the rest of the house! My boyfriend is allowing us a budget of about $2000 overall to make some changes and the landlord is allowing us $300 to paint.

Between the living room, office, and bathroom on the first floor, and the two bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor, I need major suggestions that are budget friendly and temporary.

I like everything to be grays and whites, very modern and clean looking.

Please provide some help on how I can makeover the house! I have two weeks before we move in and he’s allowing us to work there in the meantime before we move our furniture in.

Comments (26)

  • tori godlewski

    Here are more pictures!

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    I would certainly obtain permission before I used peel-and-stick or contac paper on those cabinets!!

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  • Olychick

    contact paper on those cabinets/counters/appliances will be impossible/a mess. They are nice looking cabinets - not every kitchen needs to be white. Nothing wrong with the counters or appliances either. They will look awful covered in contact paper. Save your dream gray and white color scheme for your next home. Freshen the walls with paint. Gray probably won't look great with that warm beige carpet, but maybe someone has a color suggestion for you that will. Get some draperies on the windows, make sure they are full enough - don't skimp there.

    One thing I'd do is get toilet seats to match the toilets and stash the old ones to reattach when moving out.

  • tori godlewski

    Thank you both for the great help. This has really given me a lot to think about. My other option for cabinets would be removing the cabinet doors from the top and making it open shelving. All of my furniture I have from my previous home does not go with the color of the kitchen. I’m very unhappy with the entire look of the house overall but it had good bones. I think spending some extra money and time to do things to make it more appeasing for myself is important. I don’t want to spend a year looking at what it is now :/

  • Mary Ellen

    Don't waste your money fixing up someone else's property if you are only a renter. Fresh paint and professionally cleaned carpets are all that's needed.


  • suedonim75

    It's not your home, you either have to live with it, or find something else. Contact paper will look 100x worse than what is already there.

  • deegw

    Most grey paint colors will not work with those wood floors, tile, trim and cabinets. Grey is a cool color, everything else in your house is warm.

    You can help the eye blend the warm and cool colors by purchasing decor items that combine grey and tan. Pillows, rugs, etc. A pleasing gray and tan color scheme is not easy to pull off.

    Almost every single surface in your house skews warm. Take some time to think about how you are going to work with it before you start changing bits and pieces. Piecemeal white and grey changes are going to stick out like a sore thumb.

    SW Accessible Beige is a nice crisp neutral greige paint that works well with warm and cool colors.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    No to any of the stick on anything it will look a hot mess and all start peeling and look even worse. This is for a year it will pas very quickly save the 2K for your own place , to be honest I think gray walls will not look good with the carpet in the main part , that green has got to go in that bedroom and I have no idea what that is above the tub in the master but it needs to go I do agree white toilet seats for sure put the other ones in a closet . Leave the rest its a rental they are never perfect and plan your new place.

  • suedonim75

    As far as rentals go, that is actually a pretty decent kitchen.

  • jck910

    Clean it and live no one is going to judge the style of a rental. The landlord doesn't seem very cooperative about your "updating" so I would tread lightly. Any you do that he does not like will affect you getting back any security deposit etc

  • Olychick

    Even if you covered every square inch of that kitchen with contact paper, the whole rest of the house has wood trim and doors. This cannot be turned into your dream place, but it can be livable while you save $ for what you want in a different place.

    I keep thinking of the serenity prayer in regard to this rental:

  • patriceny

    Those cabinets look fine to me, especially for a rental. There is a real chance you will completely destroy them by putting contact paper on the fronts of them. Please don't do that unless you intend to replace them later. Depending upon your landlord, he may be able to charge you for damaging them beyond repair.

  • woodrose

    You absolutely need permission from your landlord before to stick anything on anything . If you don't get (written) permission, you may be liable for paying to replace everything you damaged. I agree with your landlord about not painting the trim. I'm surprised he is allowing you to paint the walls ; I know people who own rental houses and apartments, and none of them allow renters to paint anything.

    Please just remember that you do not own this property, and you cannot do anything to it without asking the owner first. Paint the walls, and use your money for art, rugs, and decor to make it into a home you like. It's only for a year, so enjoy your life there, and move on to something else.

    Oh, and from what I've seen, gray and white theme is becoming outdated and people are wanting more color in their homes.

  • jay06

    I'm just echoing what everyone else has said--Don't put contact paper on anything, particularly the cabinets and counters. It will ruin them and you'll be liable for major damage costs when the landlord sees what you did. Use your budget to paint the walls, clean the carpets and purchase décor.

  • Lisa

    And get WRITTEN permission and agreement from the landlord for any alterations, "improvements", or changes to the house (including painting). Otherwise, when it's time to leave, the landlord may have "forgotten" what changes he said you could implement. People who rely on oral promises and commitments are also called litigants.

  • mainenell

    It is a rental. You don’t own it. If you don’t like it maybe you should look for a different place.

    Contact paper on those cabinet doors will ruin them. The contact paper will not follow the curves and it will be wrinkled. Then when you go to take it off it will take the finish with it. YOU will be buying at least new doors, if not cabinets and countertops to replace/fix what you destroyed. Don’t forget the labor charges.

    I don’t allow my tenants to do ANY painting. Most tenants are poor painters and get paint on everything. And use poor quality paint. Be glad he said you could paint.

  • jmm1837

    It's a rental. It makes no sense to spend your own money in "updating" someone else's property. I've lived in plenty of rentals in my time, and learned to decorate around their foibles with my own things. Instead of investing in things to change the landlords property, invest your money in art and some decent furniture - things you can take with you to your next place when you leave this one.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    No no no to contact paper on any of it... you will most likely ruin what is underneath and will have to pay for it.

    My suggestion, unfortunatley, is if it is that unliveable, find a new place. Moving into a rental - everything is , as is, with the exception of maybe painting a neutral color.

    If you are so unhappy with it, find a new place. Around my area, most rentals have wood cabinets - they are more durable with tenants than white painted ones.


    Ugh - good luck with whatever you do....

  • housegal200

    Thank goodness everyone here is talking you off the ledge. Save yourself $2000 for a future house you can buy. Do not, do not try to turn this rental into something it's not. Contact paper? Yikes, no! Instead slowly learn to appreciate what is a great looking rental as it is. Really. The wood cabinets and trim are warm and attractive. Don't try to impose a gray modern look on it. That's not the place you chose to live in. You'll just get a remuddle out of it and the landlord mad.


    Here are some amazing rental hacks that won't ruin the cabinets like contact paper would. Don't do anything permanent in a rental or you'll pay for it when you leave.

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/best-rental-hacks-of-all-time-36653370


    If you're allowed to paint, then paint it in a warm white throughout, not gray with all that wood trim. Here's an article on best paints for wood trim rooms:

    jamesthomas, LLC · More Info


    Here's a great kitchen in a similar wood palette to yours:

    Natural Cherry Shaker kitchen with dark granite countertops · More Info


    Learn to love what you have and save up to buy what you want later. Even if your furniture is the wrong palette for this place, adding art, a few pillows, kitchen rug, and other rugs in warmer colors will help your furniture harmonize with the "givens" of this place. Next time around, do not buy or rent something you feel so strongly against unless the location and price are so good those plusses balance out the negatives.

  • housegal200

    Modern rooms with wood trim:





  • misecretary

    I followed the link housegal200 included above and it looks like that would be an excellent resource for you. After a thorough cleaning to make the place your own, I would suggest removing or replacing the shower curtains ASAP... and putting in the type of light bulbs you prefer to chase away the darkness in the bathrooms. More often than not, it's the little things that can make a huge difference.

  • Paula A

    You've gotten great advice. Gray paint & contact paper get another NO vote from me. Clean, move in & save your money. Everything looks pretty neutral, the only room I'd be tempted to paint is the mint colored bedroom, but I'd try to resist & make that the office/guest room that probably gets little use. I wouldn't break my back OR my bank account on a someone else's rental property. It looks spacious, enjoy your new (temporary!) home!!

  • suezbell

    Nice home. Doesn't "need" as much change as you might "want".

    Contact paper? NO NO NO N O ICK on the look AND that stuff can damage anything to which it is applied, leaving you liable for the damages and/or forfeiting any security deposit.

    Would NOT peel/stick (any kind of peel/stick) cover cabinets or countertops or doors or appliances. Just nope.. That stuff will be obvious even when first applied and it can get scratched/nicked or begin to peel off at the edges very easily and look truly cheap and tacky. You might not particularly like the black but the black will be much better than the peel/stick alternative. The blacks likely will blend better with grays and whites than the color.shown in your pic. If nothing else, at least wait until you've lived in the home a while before making that decision.

    Instead, use the things you can change and TAKE WITH YOU when you do move to create the vibe you want and the focal points you choose for each room.

    Your choice of window treatments can cover the wood finish side trim of every window, leaving the glass and natural light exposed.

    You can add a full length mirror to the back of any bedroom door to enhance any natural light the room gets.

    With neutral colors for your walls, your choices of room sized rug(s) and other furnishings will define each room.

    With a quality clear shower curtain liner, you can add a great shower curtain that can "upscale" even a bath. Add a non-slip rug as well.

    Let us know how your project turns out.

    In the meantime, don't stop looking for your dream home or plans for building it.

  • suezbell

    If Houzz would let me, I'd "like" all the comments -- my "like button" doesn't work.


    You've been given good advice. Please take it seriously.

  • housegal200

    Since you do have a little bit of a budget, hire a color consultant who can come in and evaluate the lighting the condo gets day and night and look at photos of your furnishings to see what warm neutral paints would work in the space. As several people said, gray will not go with the beige carpeting or tan floors. So get an expert who can give you professional advice.


    If you want to put your personal stamp on the place, do it with art, rugs, accessories, curtains/window treatments, not with Contact paper.


    This palette picks up the warm wood and the beige carpet color but also has gray and black in it. That's the palette to choose for things that work with the floors, carpeting, wood and, hopefully your furtiture.

    "Crossline" Large Contemporary Original Art · More Info



    Surya Banshee BAN-3382 5'x8' Taupe, Gray Rug · More Info


    Spheres Pattern Reversible Oversized Throw · More Info



  • Cheryl Smith

    I want to give you options for things you CAN do within your budget that you can take with you when you leave. save anything you change to put back when you leave. change cabinet hardware if you don't like it just make sure you get ones with the same distance between the holes. get drapery that matches your furniture. even lighting can be changed if you save it to put back. get area rugs and pillows to tie what's there in with your stuff. It will look totally different and more like home when you move your things in. bring colors you like into every room. bedding and towels can change the way a room looks. it sounds like this will be temporary. consider showing the landlord what you want to do. he may decide it adds to the unit and would be willing to pay for it. but don't expect him to change everything or get mad if he doesn't approve of your choices.

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