A little caveat, I am no professional decorator. All my knowledge about interior designing I got off of my Google searches and Pinterest. Having said that, I am quite proud of how our apartment turned out. I didn’t want to do a major remodel; I don’t have the cash for that. Instead, my partner and I opted to do it slowly and in increments. We chose to splurge only on certain things and kept the entire budget in check. It took close to 5 years but it truly was worth the wait. Here are some small changes I think made a huge difference.
- Powder Room
Let’s start at one of my favorite parts of the house, the bathroom. We spend a lot more emphasis on bathroom comfort. Because we spend a lot of time in the bathroom doing intimate things, it’s obvious we would want to make it as comfortable as possible. From getting comfortable rugs, live plants, and other bathroom accessories, it seems like we are spending as much money beautifying our bathrooms as much as our own bedroom.
For your powder room practically used by both guests and residents, invest a little in timeless pieces such as a vintage dresser or a gorgeous tile. In some way, it will serve a good first impression for the rest of the house. Add a little touch of toilet paper rack and a personalized hand towel to make the bathroom experience even more amazing for your guests. If a vintage dresser is a little too pricey for your liking, you can stick to the time-tested pedestal sink to keep the look and feel of the powder room classic and elegant.
For this last one, it took a while to get used to, at least my partner and some of my friends. Being of Asian background, I grew up in a shoeless house. Back home, the moment you enter, the first thing you do is take off your shoes. Even guests know to do this without much fuss. Western folks, on the other hand, find it weird to be asked to take off their shoes. I persisted and always reminded them to do so. For this last little upgrade, I added a wooden shoe cabinet right by the door for people to store their shoes. Right beside it is a stack of indoor slippers for people to wear for those who don’t like going barefoot in the apartment.
- Living Room
I don’t know about you, but the living room at my house sees a lot of use on a daily basis. Being primarily based at home for work, I usually do most of my work sitting on the floor with our coffee table acting as my work table. I refused to work in my room as I want to keep it a place of rest and relaxation. In the past few years, I’ve invested heavily in many things in my living room to make it conducive space for working as much as a place to entertain guests.
But the one thing that truly made a huge difference, at least in terms of transforming my living room space, is me deciding to invest in a beautiful coffee table. What’s great about the one I have now is that I didn’t even have to spend too much money on it. I repurposed an old one I got from my parent’s old house, painted it in gold and installed new glass to it, replaced its drawer tracks, and I have an amazing table for work and leisure. I’ve heard many of my friends comment on it and it has served me well all these years of working on it.
While I’m no cook myself (I leave that role to my partner), I do love spending time in the kitchen. I usually have my breakfast on the kitchen counter. It’s where friends and family immediately flock to right before dinner, and it’s become the unofficial home bar in my apartment. Naturally, we want to keep it as clean and appealing as possible. We refurbished the little kitchen island to hold most of our favorite spirits and wine for easy access.
But the one thing that truly made a huge impact was changing our kitchen hardware on our cabinets. When we moved in, the kitchen cabinets came with ugly steel hardware that’s been painted in black, a true eyesore. After much debate from my partner, we decided to splurge a little and got new ones. Nothing too fancy, just simple stainless steel ones but it complimented with how we remodeled and decorated the kitchen. It perfectly matches the gorgeous white of the cabinets, the marble countertop, and the sink fixtures.
- Guest Room
I took a lot of convincing before I relented and allowed our second room into a guest room. I always wanted to use it as a home office or an art room but I never got around to using it. Plus, it already had a bed when we moved in and getting rid of it seems a lot of work. So we opted to turn it into somewhere guests and visiting family can use.
We had a lot of ideas on how we would want to decorate it. We wanted a room that anyone can be comfortable staying at but at the same time, we didn’t want to make it look and feel like a hotel room too. We wanted to give it our own personal touch. Ultimately, we stuck with making it as personal as possible. The decorative pieces we bought from our travels that didn’t fit anywhere made their home in our guest room. Our old recliner was refurbished and moved into the room as well. We added colorful and plush pillows, a quilt from my grandmother, and a vintage lamp my aunt passed on to me.
Besides the powder room, we only had one other bathroom in our tiny apartment and so we made it an excuse to go all out in its remodel a couple of years after we moved in. The old design was dated and looked like it was handled by a middle-aged woman in the mid-70s. I admit it had its appeal by truly outdated. We wanted a bathroom that’s modern, comfortable, and functional. We added a floating vanity to it for added storage as well as new lighting and hardware.
But my favorite addition was the frameless glass showers. A friend recommended it that she got the idea when she saw her parent’s newly renovated country home. It created the illusion of more space than it actually had. We went with gold hinges and hardware for the entire shower to make it more seamless.
For our bedroom, we didn’t go too crazy about remodeling it. It only took a new desk, our old vanity table, and a fresh coat of paint to make the room look fresh and comfortable. The one difference that we made that I still think is a wise decision was getting a new mattress. The old one wasn’t too shabby, I must admit. It just wasn’t comfortable enough for me. I have a very sensitive back and one wrong sleeping or sitting position and I’m in pain for days. The mattress we got was mid-range but wonderfully comfortable. I haven’t had any back issues since we got it.
Sarah Brooks is an ardent blogger and frequent traveler who writes about home improvement, travel, and the latest trends in emerging technologies. She is currently working with EyeSpySupply, which offers a wide range of spy equipment and tracking device, including wireless spy camera, nanny cams, GPS trackers, and voice-activated audio recorders and more.