Room for Improvement

Squeaky windows and cheap floors: Apartment pet peeves from New Yorkers

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Low ceilings, a lack of lights, and squeaks that break the sound barrier. Five New Yorkers share their apartment woes.

  • High-rise, low ceilings: I just closed on an apartment in my building where I was renting. I like the building’s amenities, but just like my former apartment, I don’t like the apartment features that much. Typical of such high-rise apartments, the ceilings are really low. My new apartment gets really nice light in the morning and the first part of the day, but it just isn’t a bright apartment. I’d love to brighten it up over all, starting with the floors. I’d love to install flooring that has that white-washed oak floor look! - Abby, Upper West Side
  • Living in the Dark Ages: I really don’t like the lighting. I’ve been reading more and more about how important lighting is in a home and my rental has zero light design, and just the ugliest, energy-saving, cold, overhead lighting ever! I wish I had some recessed lighting—dimmable for evening ambiance—or maybe even some track lighting to get some light in my super-dark, extra-long hallway! Whatever decade this place was designed must have been a good time to own a lamp store. - Danielle, Bronx
  • Fixture fixes: I would love to swap out all the fixtures in my apartment: lights, towel rods, bathroom vanity, bedroom sconces, shower head. You name it. If I can unscrew it, I want to get rid of it. I think it would spruce up the place instantly and get rid of some of the cheap look. I mean, plastic towel rods? Really? That and a fresh coat of paint would do the trick! - Rachel, Harlem
  • Vinyl crap: I hate the cheap vinyl floor in my kitchen. It is so icky! Like the floor of a McDonald's or something. I wish I could rip it all up and replace with tile or hardwood or anything else! Except maybe carpet. - Ron, Jackson Heights
  • Window shopping: My windows stick like crazy! It seriously takes brute force to get them open at all. I don’t know what on earth is wrong with them. If I do get them open, it’s so hard to get them shut again. I have to clench the top of the window and dangle from it, using my considerable body weight to pull the window down. And one of the windows lets out this obnoxious, high-pitched squeak when you open or shut it. I swear dogs in neighboring boroughs can probably hear it. - Antoine, Harlem

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