Making your space feel new again
By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
Having lived in the same 650 square feet for the last five years, I’ve grown bored of seeing the same beige walls, boring fixtures and appliances, and charmless views of the building across the street day in and day out. Living in Metro Vancouver means that I don’t really have a choice in the matter—unless I want to double my rent. Experiencing a similar situation? Here are 10 ideas for what I’ve done, and what you can do too, to make your space feel like new again:
Simplicity is key
Start with the basics, the low- to no-cost things that are often overlooked, like cleaning the windows. It truly is amazing how much of a difference it makes to a space when those windows—a prime focal point—are clean. The walls lighten, the rooms brighten, and things just look new without really having to try.
Changing over to water-saving shower heads is not only a fantastic way to do your part to help the environment, but it’s also a low-cost way to grab some extra water pressure for boosting those morning showers. For $15, you can pick up a ZenFresh water-saving shower head off Amazon and feel good about yourself while feeling clean too. The best part? These are your fixtures! They go where you go, so there’s no loss.
Painting! There are two ways to go about adding a bit of colour to your walls, the cheap way and the reliable way. If going with the former, places like ReStore are going to be your best friend. Prices range from $5 for a pint (473ml), $10 for a gallon (3.8 L), and $50 for five gallons (18.9 L). Repeat visits for the right colour may be necessary.
If you don’t want to wait for the right colour, home improvement stores like Home Depot and Rona are the way to go. Some home improvement stores even boast a “one coat only” brand of paint in a wide variety of colours.
Hot tip: If going the ReStore route, make sure you measure the walls to know how much paint you’ll need before you buy it.
Brightening dark rooms and corners makes a space seem bigger and increases its functionality; you can install a skylight quite economically or change the brightness or colour of existing lighting for as little as $10. Another approach is to replace solid wood doors with glass-panelled ones.
Walk on wood
Got some dirty, old, beige carpet? Why not pull that thing right up and find out what’s hiding underneath! Those timber floors will be lovely when sanded and sealed.
When this is not an option, either because of the building’s age or because that timber isn’t hiding, area rugs are another great choice. Shopping online or through your local community is going to be the most cost-effective.
Bring the outdoors in
Through the simple addition of plants and flowers, the outdoors can be brought inside. Want to go further? Consider adding a water feature to the common room or bedroom for some soothing background noise. Other options for bringing the outdoors inside include using natural materials for interior décor—like stone or wood—and replacing doors and closets with bifold doors.
It is in the details
Why not create a unique tile backsplash for your kitchen or a decal border on the bathroom mirror? Try swapping boring standard cabinet knobs for DIY knobs or adding throw pillows to couches and chairs. Paying attention to the details will help change your space right before your eyes by adding fun pops of colour and texture while cleaning up the place. Win-win!
Make sure to save the old cabinet knobs in order to reinstall them later when you move out.
On reflection: Bigger is better
Creating a bigger apartment instantly with mirrors is really easy. There are so many options: Big, classic frames, circular mirrors, floor to ceiling length, or those quirky tile mirrors from IKEA—four-packs cost only $10!
Finding new uses for old things can be a stylish way to add a vintage flair to your place. Know of someone who’s retiring an old filing cabinet? Claim it—filing cabinets, though out of date, make great storage space for all sorts of things. Unused skateboards are perfect for DIY tables and chairs. Look around you and ask yourself, what else can you repurpose?
A brush of genius
Your own place is the best place to showcase your art or the art of a friend. It really seems simple but using double-sided adhesive on blank canvas is a damage-free and low-cost way to hang up the raw goods—and it really does wonders for any space, creating a unique and lively vibe.