Whether you’re preparing to rent or sell your property, or you just feel like a fresh look, renovating an apartment can be extremely rewarding for homeowners. Unfortunately, it can be costly, so it’s not unusual to seek out cost-effective options for home maintenance and upgrades.
If your apartment is looking a bit tired, but you know major 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. You don’t need to be an interior designer, or fully remodel your space, to make a big impact in your apartment.
Low-cost home decorating ideas
Apartments and units generally have smaller spaces than houses, so a home decor revamp is your chance to think creatively. You may even be able to increase property’s value through simple design ideas and improvements, without spending tens of thousands of dollars.
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 your Body Corporate. Instead, think smaller hacks, such as colour, texture, space, and clever design.
1. A fresh coat of pant
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. A new coat of paint can breathe new life into how a room feels, or be a dramatic focal point when colour is used effectively, such as an accent wall.
2. 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 new floorboards. For a quicker upgrade, you can always just buy a bright, new rug or new throw pillows.
Window treatments can also dramatically affect the mood of a living room. Experiment with curtain and blind colours and levels of opacity. 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 look and feel.
Another option to transform a living space is to consider making a gallery wall part of your room makeover. You don’t have to buy brand new artwork either, but consider budget-friendly options like thrifting old frames and printing images yourself.
3. The bathroom
When it comes to the bathroom, the important thing is to make it shine. You can then brighten the walls with a crisp white mould-resistant paint, and disguise old-fashioned tiles with tile paint, or give them a facelift by re-grouting.
If your bathtub is looking grimy, give it a lift with paint designed specifically for ceramic surfaces. Small fixtures can also make a surprising difference, such as installing new taps for your sink, shower, or bathtub. Also consider replacing outdated towel rails with something contemporary or uniquely vintage and change the knobs on your cabinets. Even changing the light fixtures in the bathroom can create a more luxe home look and feel.
Consider shopping online, such as through GumTree, Ikea or Amazon, as there are some striking designs that can easily add a pop of colour to the room. For some simple, low-cost fixes, replace that icky shower curtain with a lavish designer one, and buy a gleaming new water-saving shower head. Hang a wall mirror in smaller bathrooms to create the illusion of space.
4. 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.
If you cannot afford to gut and redo your kitchen, you may want to consider refacing, or reskinning, your kitchen cabinets. This can be especially useful if you are happy with the layout of the kitchen, but just want a bit of a facelift. Refacing involves replacing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, as well as adding a new veneer or laminate to the cabinet front and sides. Any hinges, drawer pulls or handles are also typically updated in this process.
5. The bedroom
Achieving your dream bedroom on a budget can be as simple as starting with your décor. Grab yourself some fresh new bed linen and revitalise the colour scheme with decorative accents like area rugs, wall art 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.
If you are renting out your apartment, the décor may not be as important. Instead, it may be worth looking at maximising storage space for your tenants. Look at affordable options to add more storage space and wardrobes in the room, such as taking advantage of any built-in nooks, tiered shelving, and more.
6. Heating and cooling
Nowadays, most Australians expect their properties to come with modern heating and cooling systems. You may find more value is added to your property if you invest in heating and cooling, as opposed to a quick makeover. This may require approval from the body Corporate, but installing air-conditioning and updating your blinds and awnings (if applicable) could go a long way in helping to keep the apartment temperature controlled.
How to finance an apartment renovation
Smaller updates can be a fantastic way to inject life into an apartment, and potentially boost its value. However, if you’re looking for more significant ways to increase the equity in your property or earn a greater return on your investment, it may be worth considering renovations.
Refinancing to access equity
You could consider using the equity in your property to pay for much-needed home renovations. This is typically done if you have a loan-to-value ratio (LVR) of less than 80%, by refinancing your home loan to access these funds. You will increase your loan amount and generally be paid the difference as a lump sum or line of credit. However, as your loan amount has now increased, this will hike the amount you will pay mortgage repayments over the life of the loan.
If you’re considering refinancing to access equity in your home, it may be worth prioritising a lower-rate home loan option. This way you’re reducing the interest you otherwise would be charged on your now higher principal owing. This essentially gives you a head start, so your new mortgage repayments do not break your budget.
Cash back mortgage refinance
You could also consider refinancing to a cash back home loan. Some home loans offer new customers generous sign-up perks, also called cash back offers. At Reduce Home Loans, you could receive $2,000 up to $10,000 cash back on purchases and refinances, depending on the value of your property. This is cash you could put towards any of the home improvements mentioned above.
You could also consider taking advantage of a cash back offer and refinancing to access equity in your home. When used in tandem, these strategies may offer you a significant cash injection to put directly into your apartment.
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?
For more information on refinancing for cashback deals, or to access equity in your property, consider speaking to our team of experts today.
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