Mark Roemer image of a house with a for rent sign

Things You Never Knew You Could Do in A Rental

When it comes to renting an apartment, there are specific unwritten rules for living in them. Some of them are that you cannot make any additions or modifications to the residence. This would include but is not limited to, painting, hanging pictures, or major renovations. Most rental agreements lay these things out specifically. However, I, Mark Roemer, am here to tell you that most of these rules can at least be bent. I am a landlord, and I have, on several occasions, allowed my tenants to do many of these things. I will be sharing with you several things you thought you couldn’t do in an apartment. I will additionally teach you how to approach your landlord for the best possibility of making these things happen. So, sit back and relax while I share with you some things you can do to make living in that old dingy apartment ten times better.


You have to understand the reason for the white walls before you can understand why most landlords do not want you to paint them. The idea that landlords paint the walls white, as opposed to any other color, is to give the appearance of the space looking bigger. It is a well-known fact that white makes space look larger than it is. Conversely, black (or other dark colors) will make the area look smaller.

The reason that your landlord does not want you to paint the walls is that he or she does not want to take the time to paint them white again after you leave. The reduces the time in which a tenant can be livening in the apartment. The less time the unit is occupied, the less money they get at the end of the year. It is not about the paint. 

To get a color that you desire on the walls, you are going first to need to approach your landlord with the color you want to paint the walls. The color should be one that you will be able to paint over easily. Bright colors will require you to primer the wall and put multiple layers of white on when you move out. Speaking of moving out, assure the landlord that you will be restoring the barriers to their original color before departing. You never know, they may like the color and ask you to leave it. If you want to save yourself time, pick lighter colors as they will have the most chance of not requiring you to repaint when you leave. Make sure to get any approval in writing so that you won’t be billed for it in the future.

Hanging Things

There is nothing worse than looking at blank walls. That is why nearly everywhere you go, the store, the doctor, the lawyer, and many other places, take the time to hang stuff on the walls. The same goes for your apartment. While it is rarely a hard and fast rule, some landlords do forbid the hanging of pictures and other things on the wall. Make sure that you read your lease carefully. Should you happen to find a landlord that does not allow this, talk with them. Assure them that you will repair the walls before you leave the unit.

I have been renting for years and know many other landlords. I can easily say that I have never met a landlord that will not allow people to put pictures on the walls. I have met some that put it in their lease so that they can talk with the tenant to explain they need to fix the walls before they leave. However, he was having issues with people mounting large objects on the wall and making holes bigger than just a standard picture hanging nail.

Fixtures and Fittings

 The light fixtures and fittings that are on your walls, doors, and cabinets are the cheapest thing your landlord could find. The reason that we do this is that people, as a rule, do not respect the apartment as they would their own home. Therefore, they tend to damage things. If we were to put expensive doorknobs, ceiling fans, and cabinet handles in the apartment, we would have to replace them when someone moved out. That is a lot of money out of pocket. Therefore, we find a special on these items and put them in the unit.

Should you want to make upgrades, this should not be a problem. As I have said throughout this blog, you have to ask. There are some things that you will not have to ask about. If you are looking to change your shower head, make the change. However, if what you are doing requires shutting off the water or power to the unit, you may want to ask. Your landlord may not be covered for their tenants, making these upgrades.

When leaving, make sure that it is ok if you leave the additions you made. If not, package them up and take them with you to your next apartment. It will save you money from having to replace the stuff at your new place.


Depending on the type of apartment you are renting, you may have appliances in the house already. Chances are, it will look like your landlord raided the 1970s and put every Harvest Gold appliance he or she could find in your apartment. Thankfully that color went out in the early 80s. If you don’t want to look at this blast from the past, ask your landlord to replace them. It is very likely they will not want to. That is money that comes out of their pocket. Try to appeal to them by telling them it will save them money in the long run. This works particularly well if the landlord is paying the utilities.


I, Mark Roemer, hope that this has given you some hope when moving into a new apartment. If you like the space, consider moving in. There are plenty of things that you can do to make the house more appealing to your lifestyle. Remember to ask permission first. Most of us landlords are more than happy to accommodate you.