Renting: The Good, The bad, The Ugly

Hello everyone! This is Jackie from York Avenue blog, I'm here today on MadeByGirl talking about my rental experience! 

Renting in a city like New York has a ton of ups and downs. There are many challenges that come with living in, and decorating, a rented (and tiny!) space, but I think the happiness to be gained by living in a city you love far outweighs the downsides of being a renter!

Living in a rented apartment forces you to find creative solutions to the dilemmas that come with your space. If you can't paint, you have to bring in color in different ways. If you can't put down carpet, you have to use interesting area rugs in varying configurations. And on and on. It really opens up your creativity and forces you to think outside the box! Another thing I actually enjoy about renting is not being responsible for every single thing that happens. When something breaks, I can call my building maintenance staff, instead of needing to find a repair person on my own. Of course, this varies depending on your situation, but when I think about owning I just think of so many things that I would be solely responsible for, and forced to deal with all on my own, and then I feel happy about being a renter! One more upside: if I lived in my own space, I would feel a lot of pressure to make it perfect and renovate every inch. As a renter, if something is ugly and there's nothing I can do about it, I just learn to live with it. It actually turns out to be a good thing-I've learned to be flexible and not demand absolute perfection from my space. I've learned to do what I can (which is a ton), and be happy with the less-than-perfect bits of the rental. These things give it personality, I say! 

Of course, the big downside to being a renter is that you are stuck with those less-than-ideal features of your rental. I have an odd window situation and not very much light in my apartment-it's not what I would have ideally chosen, were I buying, but again, you find ways to manage. Another downside of renting a small space is the urge to decorate every inch of it! It's so easy to go overboard and want more, more, more, but I've found that in a tiny space, keeping things simple and airy is a MUST.

Then there are the really ugly things in a rental that you simply can't do anything about. For me, this would be the unattractive, dated kitchen cabinets. No chance of a total kitchen renovation when you're renting! But as I mentioned in "the good," I've learned to live with this imperfection and embrace it. As Deborah Needleman points out in her book The Perfectly Imperfect Home, (which is the best design book I've ever read, by the way), every home needs a little bit of ugly!

If you'd like to share, the good, the bad, the ugly of living in a rental, email me your submission with 3-4 pictures of your apartment! Pls use the same format as above! 



  1. haha we are renters over here and i could make a long list of the good, the bad, and the ugly. and they would all be a little bit equal in each area! i'll send my list your way!

  2. Thanks for having me over, Jen! Hope all's well with your new rental :)

  3. Nicely said :)
    I love small apartments :)

  4. Looks cool! I just rearranged my office and am much happier with it. Everything in its place...and so forth. When I think of NY apts. based on my movie experiences they are either penthouses or hovels. This falls nicely in between the extremes.

  5. Aw! Every home needs a little bit of ugly. :)

    Great job space planning for the bedroom and living room divider. That's always so tricky when it's all one space!

  6. needless to say i love jackie's blog and apartment!! this is such an interesting series!

  7. JACKIE: hey! so sorry, i forgot to link to your blog. Its fixed now! :) Thank you for doing this series.

  8. This was such a cute article. How I miss my renting days . : ( My husband is a firm believer in buy buy buy! I would give up my home anyway for a doorman, amenities, and the worry free life of picking up a phone and up pops maintenance. It's so true, I'm def trapped in all the aspects you mentioned about owning a home. I want every inch to be perfect. I obsess, redesign, re-envision and overall just drive myself crazy. Oh to be a renter again. : )

    Vonae Deyshawn

  9. love the way she separated a studio with a bookshelf..great job! xoxo -e (modern24seven)

  10. So true--renting makes one more flexible and not so consummed with what things look like. I can't get enough of small spaces!


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