Since moving into my current rental - a small but pretty one bedroom in Montreal - I've made endless "small renovations". I replaced the pathetic old shower head, cut a custom mirror for my awkwardly-sized medicine cabinet, and switched out almost all of the overhead lights. Last year, when I was repainting the whole place for the second time, a friend of mine sarcastically asked "you own this place right?"
The implication, of course, was that I spend way too much on it for something that isn't mine.
To be honest, he may be right. I'm constantly thinking about how to make my home better and more liveable, but if these things aren't transportable to my next place, or just won't work in it, then it's money down the drain, right?
In reality, these types of thoughts have always nagged at me, and there are certain improvements I've chosen to hold off on because of them, telling myself that I simply can't justify the expense. At the top of that list? Replacing my kitchen cabinet handles. I hated them (to put it lightly), but they worked, and spending the money to replace them when my next rental could have decent ones felt irresponsible.
For your reference, the handles the previous tenants had installed looked like this:
Yep, those are knives and forks. Knives and forks, folks. Because apparently I needed reminding that I was in the kitchen. Needless to say they didn't go with anything else I'd put in the room, and I grumbled to myself every time I opened the drawer to grab a real knife or fork.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I came across some decent replacements on ebay that cost only $1.69 each. Almost as importantly, they fit the existing screw holes, meaning no time consuming and costly hole filling and door refinishing.
So I caved.
I'm so glad I did. For the cost of a dinner out with friends, I took my handles from country kitsch to classic:
They may not be brass perfection, but for the cost the payoff is huge. Stepping back after putting the last one up, I immediately regretted not doing it sooner. I've lived here for two years, and yet I left those old handles up, abiding by a rule that, quite frankly, isn't mine. I care about my home more than I do a lot of things. The aesthetics of my surroundings matter to me, and making these improvements make me happy. How do you calculate the worth of that?
This weekend I decided that you can't. I went out and bought a new toilet seat to replace the disgusting cushioned (ugh), and ripped (double ugh) one that was there when I moved in, and my dad came over and cut custom shelves for my bedroom closet. It was another 100$ out of my pocket, but it's a more comfortable environment in which I spend so much of my time.
I've decided that for me, it's worth it.