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Author: Jane Eyles-Bennett
It doesn’t take much to transform a tired home into a fresh new space. A little paint and some new fixtures can do a lot to enhance what you already have.
If you’re looking for ways to makeover your home without blowing the budget, here are five of my best tips.
Painting has to be one of the easiest ways to instantly freshen up a home.
If you’ve got a blank canvas, or everything in the space is being completely replaced, the world is your oyster with regards to colour choices. However, if one or some of the existing elements are remaining (flooring, kitchen cabinetry, your roof etc) make sure you choose the right colour scheme to suit.
For example, if you’re painting the exterior, does your fence or roof (or any other element that is remaining) have warm or cool tones?
If painting the interior, look at your flooring, window dressing, benchtops and furnishings. If you’ve got a lot of cream tones and you choose a grey for the walls, it can look a bit off. A general rule of thumb is to stick with all cool or all warm tones.
Many people think white is the best way to go, but there are countless shades of white. You might think they all look the same, but compare them on a colour chart and you’ll see that some have grey, green or blue tones, some have pink or purple tones and others have cream tones.
What seems like an insignificant difference on 2cm square colour chips is magnified ten-fold when you paint all four walls this colour.
Updating the flooring can go a long way towards modernising your home. Aside from walls, it is a home’s most dominant feature.
Your flooring choice will depend on your location, climate, lifestyle and budget. Get it right, and your design choices will be enhanced, but get it wrong, and you might just bring down the whole tone of your project. Head here for a handy guide on flooring choices.
Has your kitchen seen better days? You might get away with tricking it up by replacing benchtops, splashbacks and taps, but sometimes you will need to gut the kitchen and start afresh.
If you’re replacing all the cupboards, you can save money by buying a flatpack kitchen and, either getting a tradesperson to put it together, or doing it yourself. However, make sure you invest in a good quality flatpack. If you go too cheap, your kitchen could look second-rate in a very short period of time.
You could go to a kitchen renovation specialist and get them to do the entire job, but you will be paying for design, supply and installation/project co-ordination. If you have your design already and think you could co-ordinate the renovation, you can save money by employing a cabinet maker and managing the other trades, such as tiler, plumber and electrician, yourself.
Note: A kitchen specialist company is the right choice for many renovations but not all.
Renovating a bathroom can be costly, but there are some simple things you can do to update the look.
Get rid of old-style shower screens and install frameless or semi-frameless screens; they give a cleaner, seamless feel to a bathroom. Change the lighting to include feature lights over the vanity; pendant lights are a great choice here.
The next step could be replacing the vanity, but don’t just automatically go for white. A timber vanity can add warmth and softness to what could be otherwise be a cold, hard and sterile-looking room.
Another simple trick is to update the mirror in the bathroom. I prefer to fit the mirror inside the tiles (so the tiles and mirror front faces are flush), but in some bathrooms it works better to have the mirror fitted to the surface of the tiles.
Often underestimated in makeovers, lighting can really make a room pop. Aim for a consistent look throughout the house, including the colour of the globes.
If you’ve got surface-mounted lighting with warm white globes, or all bright white downlights, continue the theme when you update or you’ll lose cohesion.
Look for places to add feature lighting. For instance, underneath overhead cupboards or over island benches works well. Pendant lights can look great in a hallway and, if you’ve got a double-story house, there are some great feature lighting options available to hang over an internal staircase.
If you’re going to makeover your home, do it well. You’re better off doing a good quality job (but doing less of it) than doing a cheap job and trying to fit every-renovation-idea-you’ve-ever-had in.
Jane Eyles-Bennett is one of Australia’s leading home renovation and interior design experts. She is an award-winning interior designer with more than 25 years’ experience designing the interiors and exteriors of homes, specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces.