Revitalizating and Renovating Multifamily Buildings

Sometimes I’ll pass by an apartment that has aged beyond its glory days. It’s a bit sad, but the DC area holds many complexes like this; places rife with striking, clever architecture; living spaces that were clearly beautiful once–and could be again, given a pinch of care. I’ll imagine what the place must’ve looked like years ago, and how, by re-installing just the right combination of style and functionality, it could be polished to outshine its past.

When I see these apartments, I start to picture all the exterior features switched, reconfigured; I theorize what the interior might look like and the changes it would benefit from; every little twist and tweak needed to make an outdated, faded place feel alive again.

My curiosity as to what it might actually take to achieve these updates prompted a bit of research, the result of which is this: a list of a few of the most cost-effective, practical and visually stunning multifamily renovations available today.

  • Hard surface flooring – Cherry, oak maple and other varieties of hardwood floors are great options, and ceramic, glazed, or porcelain tiles, as well as vinyl offer durability along with a clean, up-to-date style. Hard surfaces are more sanitary than carpeting; wine spillage and other messes notorious for staining carpets are easily wiped from hard surfaces.
  • Wide spaces – Most modern designs feature a kitchen, dining room and living room which seamlessly connect into one another through gratuitous use of space. In the past, enclosed kitchens were the norm. Today, many property managers opt to remove any walls (even half walls) enclosing the kitchen to create a contemporary, loft-type feel. This creates additional space which can be supplemented with auxiliary features, like a bar.


  • Granite and steel – Many renters hunt for housing that conveys a sense of luxury. Certain high-grade materials such as granite are more affordable than ever. Granite countertops imbue kitchen surfaces and bathroom vanities with 21st century elegance, while stainless steel appliances add a sleek appeal.


  • Bold colors – First glances are often the deciding factor in whether a renter will choose a certain apartment. Property owners are realizing the need to set their complexes apart; an excellent way to do this is by incorporating an intrepid color scheme that departs from the old-school beige or white, and augmenting it with strategic lighting.


  • Energy Efficient Windows – Windows that allow heat to excessively enter or escape a dwelling can contribute to a massive energy bill. Energy efficient windows prevent these unnecessary costs, and are adopted by savvy owners as a rental incentive.


  • Balconies – The functional and visual benefits of a glass rail make it a wonderful choice. It creates the illusion of more space and it is easy to envisage having morning coffee or an evening glass of wine while sitting on the balcony with an unobstructed view.

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