I'm excited to share some before and after photos with you from my latest cost conscious home makeover. These are all from the same home. I have been working hard to do maximum impact with minimum amount spent.
Kitchen - the heart of the home
To me it was important to remove the angle and straighten the kitchen up, open up the space to be one with the living area and add a few cabinets for practicality.
I had the carpet in the living area and the tiles in the kitchen replaced by hardwood from Germany. Having the same floor throughout creates a holistic space and the finished look is contemporary and stylish.
After - A new bench top with water fall made it stylish, lighter and softer looking.
I added new dish drawer for practicality and new sink and tap for the looks.
As I added a few new cabinets, I took the old doors from removed cabinets and cut them to the right size. That way I didn't need to repaint anything. The only thing I painted was the skirting board which I made white instead of keeping it the same colour as the cabinets.
After: The new bench top allows for much popular seating. As it's 3.7 m long I didn't feel all of it was needed for seating so I used the end furthest away as a storage and also added a wine fridge. That freed up more space in the kitchen.
By removing the previous dark and heavy curtains I created an airier and more modern looking space. The window frames don't look so beige anymore, instead they blend in nicely and come across more as white. In one smaller bedroom I saw it wiser to change for a roman blind to allow more space on the sides. In the kitchen and dining area, I actually removed the curtains all together and had roller blinds installed. The result was amazing. The area became much lighter, whiter and architecturally pleasing.
Curtain in making
After: New lighter curtains and new wooden floor.
Before: This space was not too bad but once the curtains were pulled it became very gloom. This was not practical in the middle of the day when I wanted to avoid the place from becoming hot and sun bleached. Besides, the darker curtains gave the room a heavier and maybe old fashion look.
After: The new curtains can be pulled during sunny days to avoid direct sun but still let the light through which leaves the room bright. I had block-out roller blinds installed too to give the option of darkness if/when that is desired (for example when the TV can't be seen due to the strong sun rays or during summer nights when it gets too bright to go to bed otherwise).
After: This is a small room and the former curtains took too much space so I changed it for roman blinds to provide more space.
Change of Colour
I feel dark coloured furniture tend to look too heavy and not particular modern. In the bathrooms I therefore sanded the vanities down and repainted them in light grey. The walls and ceilings looked beige which I changed for grey/blue on the walls and really white on the ceiling. All of a sudden the place looks much more compelling. All it took me was a bit of time and a few hundred bucks to buy a roller, good quality brush, sandpaper and paint.
Lighting plays a huge role in the Nordic countries. I bet you already have seen plenty of Scandinavian designer lamps. Pendant lights have always been very popular as they enable you to give the room a special character. It can be glamour, funkiness or coziness, the choice is yours. I find that many people often install too small lights - I like going large and bold.
I often find that the outdoor space is somewhat neglected. I think it important to keep the same standard on the outside as on the inside.
In this case I improved the look at the back of the house by water blasting the space and applying a couple of layers of oil to the wood. I also added a few lighter coloured plants to lift the space and make it brighter long term. It will take a while for the plants to grow and make full effect but I'm not in a hurry. The next step is to put light coloured tiles in this area - but that is for a later stage. Rome wasn't built in a day.
After - water blastering and applying oil as well as adding a few brighter plants.
Lots of plant shopping =)