What I Rent: Haley, $1,245 a month for a studio apartment in Chicago, US

What I Rent: Haley, $1,245 a month for a studio apartment in Chicago, US

It’s time once again for What I Rent, our weekly series that explores all the ins and outs of renting, from how much people pay to how they make their rented spaces feel like home.

Last week we were in Clapton, London, with Assia and Jack, who pay £925 a month for a room in a house shared with 11 other people.

Today we’re exploring Chicago, in the US.

Here is where Haley, a 27-year-old digital strategist, content creator, and yoga teacher, rents a studio flat solo.

She moved to Chicago four years ago, having originally lived in a smaller town just outside of Kansas City, Missouri.

Here’s what she rents.

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Hey, Haley – how much do you pay to live here?

My rent is $1,245 a month and includes water, electric and gas. Internet is typically $45 a month, bringing the total to around $1,300.

And what do you get for what you pay?

It’s a studio, but it feels less claustrophobic because the kitchen is separated and there is also a separate changing area. There are three closets technically (including one walk-in) and one bathroom.

I also get access to the building’s incredible rooftop that overlooks the lake – it’s my favorite view of the city. There is also a mini grocery store, gym, business center with printers and sparkling water/coffee machines in the lobby.

Do you think you have a good deal?

I do! It’s small, but for the location and amenities, I don’t think you could get any cheaper. I actually thought it was a scam the first time I saw the listing.

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Whereabouts is your apartment based? What do you think of the area?

My apartment is in Gold Coast in Chicago. I think it’s the most beautiful area in the city.

It’s right next to the lake and has a lot of historic, beautiful homes.

You can walk just about anywhere yet it’s quieter than some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

How did you find this property?

It was through one of the online apartments listings, I believe apartment.com.

How have you made the apartment feel like home?

I think a place really starts to feel like ‘you’ in the details.

It’s the little things, like pictures of my grandparents and my favorite books that bring me a lot of comfort.

I also think plants and flowers can make a place feel extra homey.

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

Nope! I’ve never let renting hold me back in how I decorate. You can always paint something back or fill in nail holes.

My landlord is on a need-to-know basis, but I always get my apartments back to their original states before moving out.

You’ve got such a distinct style when it comes to interiors – tell us a bit about that.

I grew up in a family of girls – two sisters, almost all girl cousins and lots of aunts so everything in my life has always been ultra feminine.

My mom was my first introduction to design – she’s an incredible designer. She and my dad flip and build houses so I got my love of DIY from them.

I trace a lot of my style back to my childhood. I had amazing grandmas and great aunts who gave us girls a magical childhood and made us really believe we were princesses for a while.

We spent a lot of time playing in my grandma’s rose garden, having tea parties and wearing fluffy dresses so I have nods to rosebuds and gardens in my decor.

My love of pink started early. It was my ‘assigned’ color out of my sisters growing up (theirs being purple and blue).

I also studied ballet at the Kansas City School of Ballet for 13 years and naturally there is a lot of pink associated with it.

I’ve never really been a neutral gal – I find I instantly love the things I own more, whether that’s clothing or decor, if they are in happy colors and patterns that feel authentic to me.

And you’ve done some DIY projects, too, right?

Yes! I recently wallpapered my fridge (it’s removable)!

I really love removable wallpaper, and it has so many use cases, whether you’re renting or just aren’t ready to fully commit to something.

I once had a kitchen table in this apartment that I turned the top of light blue with removable wallpaper because I couldn’t commit to paint.

A lot of other items in here are also DIY! I found my vanity on Facebook Marketplace and painted it and replaced the handles.

That’s also where I found my purple squiggle lamp – I painted it, too, and switched the lampshade.

A few of the ceramic items around here (plates and vases) I made at a ceramic shop, which is super fun.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

I have 525 square feet, but it has served me well for two years. Sometimes I kind of enjoy how small it is – it’s just me and all of my favorite things.

That said, I will be looking for more space in my next place. I’d love more rooms to decorate!

Are there any problems with the apartment you have to deal with? Tell us about the not-so-great bits.

Truthfully, there’s really not much to note! I’m not a fan of the carpet I have in my apartment, but the new units have hardwood. I love my building staff. Shockingly, I get no noise from neighbors. I’ve been really happy here.

Do you have plans to move again any time soon?

I do! My lease is up in June, but I’m planning to start slowly moving in with my boyfriend in Pilsen.

I’m going to really miss this place and location, but I’m excited to explore a new part of the city.

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

I’m perfectly happy to rent right now, but yes eventually, I think I’ll own.

I also like the idea of owning Airbnb’s or maybe flipping houses like my parents, but we shall see!





























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 [email protected] 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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