Subtle style updates to make a space your own

subtle style updates

Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.

So you’ve purchased a new home and have had to stretch to get it, finding every spare cent you have to roll into the deposit and legal fees it takes to leverage the biggest amount you can borrow and service to get the best possible place for your future. But that best possible place is not necessarily in its best possible state, at least not yet. How do you improve your new space without further funds?

There a number of things that you’re able to do yourself to make your home yours by removing any reminder of the life that was led in the space before it became your home.

Firstly, think about paint

It can be costly in both labour costs and time taken, however there is a shortcut that will get you a fresh new coat of paint in a short time with little expense.

You’ll want to hire a giraffe or plaster sander from Kennards or the like and find yourself some coarse grit discs to replace the too smooth ones available from Kennards - if you search for Joest useit abrasives Superpad P on google or eBay you’ll find a suitable solution. With the coarser grit discs you can whip around your home giving the ceiling and walls a quick once over to roughen the surface and clear any oil and debris from the surface which will impede the proper adherence of the new paint.

You can do most surfaces with the giraffe – or long neck plaster sander – and it sucks up dust as you go. Finish and smaller spaces with a hand held electric sander and you can have your house prepped in a day or so depending on size and timber work.

You’ll next need to mask windows and doors and cover flooring if you don’t want it damaged, though it is best to treat the flooring as something that needs to be replaced too as the next part can get quite messy and will likely damage your floors.

If you’re intending to remove or replace your flooring, or even cover the existing floor with something cheap and effective, you can spray your home to give it a few fresh layers of paint. Hire an airless spray rig from Kennards and take it home to practice on a wall that you will be painting anyway. You need to water down the paint and get the consistency and air pressure just so for the paint to distribute evenly, but once you master that it’s a really neat way to apply paint in large volumes, to large areas, in small amounts of time. It’s worthwhile considering painting your ceilings and walls the same colour as you can paint the ceiling in matt or flat finish along with the walls to save hours of hand painting to cut in between colours. Ceiling white on the ceilings gives the best possible result as it conceals bumps, scratches and irregularities in ceilings, though you can still paint in the same colour, using a low sheen or flat on the walls for a passable, if not professional, result.

Painting your timber work in the same colour as the walls, in a different gloss level will also save you volumes of time as you can be a little less precise with cutting in and still get a decent result.

Once the paint is done you’ll see that your floors will almost inevitably need to be replaced

You can remove carpets or lino and if you’re lucky you might find floor boards underneath. A simple solution is to paint the floors using a timber flooring paint. Sanding them to allow the paint to grab is necessary and you need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The benefit though of painting is you’ll only need to roughen the surface and likely not take it right back to raw timber. If however you have more time and patience you could hire a sander and sand the floors back to raw timber, using a smaller electric sander to do the edges and corners which would allow you to seal your timber floors with a wood oil or lacquer to get that polished timber look. All of this is labour intensive but relatively cost effective apart from the sander hire costs and paints or lacquers. You will however need to do a final coat of paint on the skirting after the floors are dried and trafficable as they will inevitably sustain damage in the process of sanding edges and corners.

If that all sounds like too much work and you can afford it, look at getting some cheap carpet or cost effective vinyl planks. You’ll get best results by removing the old coverings but if you’re short on time or desperate to move in you can take a DIY approach and go over the top. It might not allow you the luxury of a warranty though you will create a barrier between the old flooring of the house and the fresh new look you’ve been able to achieve elsewhere.

Buying some ready-made curtains or blinds can freshen up your windows and with the placement of your furniture and décor you can move in with the feeling that you’re living in a home that you can imprint your life onto, grow into and love.