You don’t always have to embark on a huge, expensive renovation project to breathe new life into a tired apartment. Revamping your space can be as simple as a lick of paint here and there, and with a little bit of creativity you can achieve some amazing results on a tiny budget. To help you feel inspired, here are a few top tips based on what we’ve seen at some of our apartments:
1. Choose a colour scheme and stick to it
Colours have a huge effect on a visitors mood and perceptions, a well balanced scheme can give a real boost to a room and help to create a warm welcoming atmosphere. With just a colour wheel, a few tins of paint and a bit of thinking ahead it’s a pretty simple idea with a huge payoff in the end. There are 3 types of colour scheme: Tonal, which uses only different shades of the same colour; Harmonious, which uses colours close to one another on the wheel and usually creates a tranquil, relaxing atmosphere; and Complementary, which uses opposite, contrasting colours for a strong impact. Once you have picked a colour scheme, think of all of your rooms contents in these terms, match up cushions and carpets and, if you’re really feeling brave, break out the spray paint for ornaments, vases or even coathangers.
2. Optimise your space and avoid mess with trays and bowls
A strategically placed bowl, tray or even a hook can really cut out the clutter and create a sense that everything is in its perfect place. Decorative bowls with just this purpose in mind are available everywhere – markets, DIY Shops, charity shops etc – and cost next to nothing.
3. Add character with some books
A well stocked bookshelf is high on a lot of peoples list of what makes a house a home and can create an excellent point of interest in almost any room. Even if you’re not a big reader, there are second hand bookshops everywhere. Why not consider a collection of cookbooks for the kitchen, or even just some hardback covers sprayed to fit in with your colour scheme.
4. Provide some candles
Candles are a great tool for creating an atmosphere in the evening and they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes to fit any theme. Leave one in the centre of your dining table to light up late in the day. Indoors it’s best to pick something in a glass container, to protect your surfaces and limit the fire risk. On a balcony or patio, however; nothing beats the classic plain candle stuck into a wine bottle. Don’t forget to install smoke detectors in your home and to regularly check the batteries still have life.
5. Re-use and Recycle Materials
Got some seats with worn out covers? cushions that have seen better days? you can reupholster these using old curtains, tablecloth or any other material you have lying around. All you’ll need is a staple gun, and a washing machine dye if you want to change the colour. You could also create your own stencil pattern using just a sheet of card, scissors and a felt tip pen.
6. Think about Lighting
Lighting is an integral part of any decorating project, and one that is too often left as an afterthought. Off centre light fittings can easily be repositioned using a hook and a length of wire, lamps are also a great option for most rooms – ensure you pick something the right – one lamp might not be enough to light up the whole room, too many small ones will create clutter.
7. Decorate the walls with your own artwork
You don’t need to be Banksy to create something worth hanging on your wall. Try creating a stencil on canvas and filling in with drawing pins for a shiny, modern aesthetic; or choose some photos with a common theme – children, summer etc, put them in identical frames and you’ll easily create a stylish collage wall. For an even quicker, yet equally attractive fix, try framing pictures straight out of art magazines or vintage books.
In major cities especially, hundreds of apartments have a disused fireplace, most likely at the bottom of a blocked up chimney, taking up space right in the centre of the living room. Rather than leave this outdated feature be, turn it into a fantastic focal point for the room. You can get all kinds of inserts to fill the hole, from plain colours, to fake logs to more outlandish designs. It is also very easy to turn a piece of scrap wood into a stylish mantelpiece.
9. Revamp old furniture with spray paint
When trying to create an all new look on a budget, spray paint is your friend. A thick, glossy coat in black or white will transform more or less any piece of furniture you can pick up at a flea market or charity shop into a shining beacon of modern style. Metallic colours can also be used on furniture to great effect.
10. Add an extra blanket and some different shaped/textured cushions to the bed
The bed really is a key feature in any apartment. On top of the standard sheet, pillow and duvet a blanket can really give a great look and some added warmth and comfort. Also try adding a few different pillows with a mix of silk, wool, cotton or any other covering.
Once you’ve got your apartment looking just the way you want it; you need to make sure it stays that way! check out our next post, which offers some fantastic tips for keeping your place clean.