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What I Rent: Anju, $1,300 a month for a studio apartment in Washington DC


Meet Anju, 30, a senior internal communications specialist (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)

In this week’s What I Rent, we’re across the pond, in the US.

Washington DC, to be specific, in a studio apartment rented by Anju, 30.

That’s a bit of a departure from our last edition, when we were inside a £800-a-month three-bedroom house in Measham.

Anj works as a senior internal communications specialist, and, having grown up in California, moved to Washington DC six years ago.

Since then she’s been working out how to make the most of the small space where she dwells.

Here’s what she rents.

Hi, Anju! How much do you pay to live here?

I pay $1,300/month for rent (most utilities included) and $40/month for internet.

And what do you get for what you pay?

A 440+ sq ft studio apartment with a (highly coveted) parking space.

She rents a studio apartment in Washington DC for $1,300 a month (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

In the Dupont Circle neighborhood, the price for this unit is definitely a steal.

I absolutely adore the space and for $1,300 the rental price is right for a single, communications professional with looming unpaid student loans.

I do live without a few amenities like a dishwasher, central air and in-unit laundry so I had to determine convenience versus cost when deciding on this apartment.

What do you think of the area?

The area is replete with great restaurants, art galleries, shops and history. And, pre-COVID, a bussin’ nightlife.

How did you find the property?

My building is one of those hidden gems that doesn’t list vacancies or do public ads. A majority of the tenants find the building through referrals by existing renters or by calling up the number on the inconspicuous lawn sign.

Lucky for me, a friend lived in the building next door and referred me for the open unit.

With limited space, clever storage solutions like this bed are essential (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)

How have you made this place feel like home?

This is my first apartment after having roommates for ten years so I was excited to choose all of the furnishings to truly make it feel like my own.

I’ve probably made every design faux pas possible. From oversized furniture and clashing colors to mismatched styles and overly minimal, I went through a lot of trial and error before finally striking the right balance to make my space feel like home.

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

Decorating has not been an issue because my building does not have restrictions for putting screws or nails in the walls. I always make sure to caulk any leftover drill/nail holes when I change things up.

In other rentals, I’ve had much stricter conditions so I feel very fortunate to be able to decorate freely.

A room divider helps to break up the studio space (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I do have enough room for the basics. Some of my hobbies (rehabbing furniture, painting, sewing, etc.) need more space than my apartment has room for so it definitely can be limiting.

Having a studio apartment means I’m always looking for ways to make every square inch do double or triple duty. I created an instagram @thegildededit_ account to share all of my tips and hacks on how to make a small space functional and stylish.

Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?

This is a pretty unpopular thing to admit, but, the primary issue I encounter in a city apartment are the pests.

I’ve taken a lot of measures to try to de-mouse and de-cockroach my place. While caulking and spraying has made big improvements, unwanted critters are an inevitable part of living in the city.

Do you want to own a place someday or are you happy to rent?

The real estate in D.C. is astronomically, and frankly unattainably, priced. I think we’ll see more and more ‘forever renters’ but I do hope to one day call myself a property owner.

Fair. Shall we take a look around?

The apartment isn’t massive, but Anju reckons it’s a steal for the area (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
She’s also lucky to have a landlord that’s not bothered about her putting up screws and hooks (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
As a result, she’s really been able to make the space her own (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
White furnishings and plenty of plants creates an airy feel (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
Anju installed these shelves to create a makeshift vanity station (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
Here’s the kitchen space (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
Making use of the walls for storage is a great trick for small spaces (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
Take a look at those knives, attached to a wall with magnets (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
The closet area (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
And finally, the bathroom (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)
Complete with more smart storage, this time above the toilet (Picture: Anju/The Gilded Edit)

What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.

Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.



How to get involved in What I Rent

What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.

If you fancy taking part, please email whatirent@metro.co.uk. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.

Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.

We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).

This article contains placements with affiliate links.  We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links on these placements.


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