The Skinner Team

Cost-Friendly Upgrades for Renters

My family is truly grateful to live in such a beautiful place- each day I’m thankful to be here &  in a career I truly love. I get the opportunity to help my clients find homes, though my husband and I don’t (yet) have one of our own. We are future homebuyers, as I know so many  in Summit County are. This Life at Altitude post is all about cost effective, renter-friendly upgrades that almost anyone can do (with the help of a YouTube video and some imagination)! I could certainly list more, but these are my top few:

My husband and I have been getting a bug to redecorate & bring our condo from the 1970s to at least 2000! The first easy fix that comes to mind? Paint! For long term tenants, or even sellers looking to list their home, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way! This article was really helpful in figuring out which walls we wanted to paint, how to paint them, and what colors to use! Check out this kitchen photo below- this is not our condo, but very similar to the changes we are making. A bright white with a darker accent in the right places does wonders.  In the photo below, they didn’t even change the cabinet hardware, and it looks SO nice! The satin nickel really pops against the white, and even the appliances stand out more after painting. Paint is also cost-effective- you can find 1-gallon cans of standard interior paint for $16- $18. For most standard size condos, you could likely plan for about $50 on paint and $20 on supplies to transform your living room (1 gallon primer, 2 gallon finish). Another gallon of paint, and maybe a quart for some accent, and you can even do your kitchen. This is $100 well spent! 

(If you have a bit more in your budget and a good imagination, consider creative paint designs– sponges and painter’s tape can be your new best friends)

I mentioned the cabinet hardware above- in this case, they didn’t need to change hardware, and you might not either. If you do, updating cabinet pulls and door knobs is also easy to do! There are a few approaches here- Can you spray paint your existing pulls? A can of all in one (primer+paint) is about $11.  If you don’t want to paint or spend money, find new hardware! I’ve seen cabinet pulls at garage sales for pennies each and free ones on our local online groups that are being given away. If you do buy them new, hardware stores have them for about $.80 each up to $6 each. 

I have always been a reorganizer and I’m not afraid of change, so I get joy out of moving around my furniture and shaking things up. I can’t tell you how many layouts my bedroom had growing up! There are great interior design resources that outline everything to consider when reorganizing, and in my research, a few points have consistently stuck out to me. The first? Consider HOW you use each space and HOW MUCH space you have to work with. Then, think about how you want it to feel and what you might need to add (or takeaway). Even if your dining area shares space with your living room, you can create separate spaces within one space by arranging furniture the right way. This Better Homes and Gardens article was a good starting point for me! I felt discouraged by our small living space, until I realized that I could make it feel better by “zoning off” each part of the room. This is currently our work in progress, but we have ideas to be excited about now!

If you try to reorganize, and your space feels like it’s missing something/things- look around your community first! Check your online community resale groups, thrift stores, and garage sales. Chances are, for little to nothing, you can find pieces to fit your style (even if they need a little TLC like repainting or adding furniture covers). Our son’s room has a free sofa, a thrifted dresser (like the photo below)  with cabinet pulls I found at a garage sale, and a twin trundle bed we got used for $50, and it’s perfect for him. Check out that sofa without and with a cover below- it’s magic!

This is our next personal project, and I am so excited about it! Our condo has original countertops from the 70s- faux wood laminate. We have black appliances and old wood cabinets. The photo on the left below is our inspiration! Using the gray and white paint we are using in the living area, we are repainting our cabinets and kitchen walls. Then, we are going to use a (removeable!) contact paper for the countertops. After reading countless articles and researching, we chose a faux marble like the one below, and the same used in this article, which also has really helpful installation tips if you decide to do this yourself. Contact paper is inexpensive- with some elbow grease and patience, you too can have a kitchen that feels like it was designed in this era. 

The picture on the far right is removable, self-adhesive wallpaper that will NOT damage paint! Rejoice and go look it up- the design choices are endless (and if the creative paint designs were a little intimidating, this can be a perfect option for you). Say hello to your easy accent wall!

If you’ve read through this, you are at a really great starting point for making your space feel more like YOUR space! I’d love to see where your creativity takes you.If you, like me, are making a cozy space for now and are looking forward to buying in the future, please reach out! Our team would love to help you on your journey to home ownership, whether it’s here in Summit County or elsewhere! Can we set you up on a Property Search ? Email us at .