By Cherie Barber
Anyone who’s tackled an ambitious renovation will tell you that labour costs are one of your biggest outlays. And, of course, once you go taking down walls, demolishing decrepit kitchens and bathrooms, and pulling up old floors, you’re inviting nasty surprises that could demand deep pockets to fix.
So this simple cosmetic “spruce up” of a basic one-bedroom apartment will hopefully give any novice renovators confidence that they can pull off an inexpensive makeover in a small window of time. It really just requires a keen eye to target all those important details that, together, add up to a mini transformation. The fact any handy DIYer could tackle a lot of this work themselves would slash the budget considerably, but obviously demand more time (labour consumed around half my budget).
So let’s see how far $6000 stretched in a long weekend.
Colour my world
The seventies apartment was unremarkable in every way and had no cohesive theme, so I didn’t want to settle for a neutral colour scheme. I needed personality, but not necessarily an overpowering one! The restful tones of Taubmans Sprig of Ivory teamed with Ginger Rose, and finished off with crisp white trims, injected a freshness that immediately lifted the apartment out of its drab shell.
Take the floor
The existing flooring was a mish-mash of old carpet, lino and tiles, which had a jarring effect in the open plan space. So I needed an economical flooring that I could run throughout the apartment. The answer was Senso Rustic vinyl plank flooring in “Pecan”, at a total cost of about $450. It’s an easy DIY solution that can be used in both wet and dry areas, so I was able to run it from the living area straight through to the kitchen.
Specialty paints provided a quick cosmetic fix for the dated kitchen, giving the benchtop, tiles and cupboards a gleaming white finish for just a few hundred dollars. However, it didn’t address the fact the kitchen had a lot of dead space and unnecessary clutter. Shelving is always a fantastic solution if you don’t have the funds for additional cabinetry. So I put shelving on one side, and extended the benchtop and tiles on the other, with room for storage underneath. The modernised kitchen now sits comfortably in the bright and breezy open plan.
While tile paint has always been a great stand by for bathroom tiled walls, it’s never been a durable option for floor tiles – until the Rust-Oleum Tile Transformations Kit came along. This two-part product is suitable for floor tiles; I tinted it a deep grey for the bathroom floor, successfully camouflaging the 70s brown tiles.
This is a makeover most people could replicate if they wanted to simply update a rental property or place to sell, without any risk of overcapitalising.
–Cherie Barber is the director of , a company that teaches everyday people how to buy and renovate properties for a profit.