Renovating

Low-cost ways to give your apartment a makeover

If your apartment is looking a bit tired but you think renovations will be difficult – not to mention expensive – you might be surprised at how easy it is to give a small space a big makeover.

Whether you’re preparing to sell or rent your property, or you just feel like a fresh look, renovating an apartment can be rewarding. Apartments and units generally have smaller spaces than houses, so a revamp is your chance to think creatively.

Remember, we’re not talking major work here – external changes or major structural work like knocking out a wall could come at significant cost and will probably need approval from the owners’ corporation. Instead, think colour, texture, space and clever design.

Light and large

One of the easiest ways to spruce up your apartment is with a bright new coat of paint. Consider white paint or soft neutrals to make the space feel lighter and larger. If you don’t think the entire place needs a full repaint, just give the walls a good clean and touch up high-traffic areas.

The living room

Your choice of flooring can make a major difference to the look and feel of the apartment. If the carpet is looking a bit worn, you can either replace it with something lighter in colour to increase the feeling of open space, or go all out with floorboards. For a quicker upgrade, buy a bright new rug.

Window treatments can also dramatically affect the mood of a living room. Experiment with curtain and blind colours and levels of opacity, and position the curtain rail higher than the windows if you want your ceilings to appear taller.

When you need an instant change, don’t underestimate the impact of colourful new cushions for the couch. Think about linking colour accents for a whole new feel.

The bathroom

When it comes to the bathroom, the important thing is to make it shine. Start by scrubbing the entire bathroom – it’s the easiest way to freshen the room. You can then brighten the walls with a crisp white mould-resistant paint, and disguise old-fashioned tiles with tile paint. If your bathtub is looking grimy, give it a lift with paint designed specifically for ceramic surfaces.

For some simple, low-cost fixes, replace that icky shower curtain with a lavish designer one (shop around online – there are some striking designs that can easily add a pop of colour to the room) and buy a gleaming new water-saving showerhead. Hang a wall mirror in smaller bathrooms to create the illusion of space.

Small fixtures can make a surprising difference – replace outdated towel rails with something contemporary or uniquely vintage, install new taps, and change the knobs on your cabinets. Again, shop around online, as there are some amazing designs out there.

The kitchen

A quick way to update your kitchen is with new cupboard handles and modern tapware. If you’re short on space, get creative with storage options – an island bench on wheels can also store your pots and pans, or sculptural shelves can make the most of overhead space. Is your knife block taking over the bench space? Screw a magnetic knife strip to the wall.

The bedroom

This one is easy. Grab yourself some fresh new bed linen and revitalise the colour scheme with decorative accents like rugs and cushions. But more than anything, get your mood lighting on. Soft wattage bulbs create a snuggly ambience, while pendants and floor lamps can provide relaxing lighting options.

It doesn’t take much to put a little pep into a property – a lick of paint, a splash of colour, a crisp new bedspread. These simple updates can be made quickly, and on a budget, so why not give your apartment the DIY treatment this weekend?