Budget home renovation


My first home

For every thing there’s also a budget solution. When I bought my first apartment, I fell in love with its character. It was on the second floor of a hundred years old city house, that was really in bad shape. It had high ceilings and it was really very light with many big windows and a beautiful round shaped balcony. The apartment was not big, but had tons of charm. Me and my husband were tight on a budget, so we really had to be careful with what we spend.

So we made a list:

  • Floors in whole apartment
  • doors
  • windows
  • new kitchen
  • new bathroom ( tiles, shower, toilet)
  • new lights
  • new wall colors or wall dressing

Floors were made from old parquet and at first we thought that it was no good, but then we saw it was just not maintained, so we just grind it and put on an oil. When it was finished, we had the most beautiful wooden floors, that you can’t even find it anymore.


Doors and windows were also in very bad shape, but we did’t have money to buy new, so we decided to renovate the old windows and doors. It was not an easy job, but we had a friend that showed us how to do it. Grinding down the old paint was the hardest thing and it took a lot of time, and we were already on the verge of giving up, but somehow we did it and when the job was done, the satisfaction was huge. You can never change the old doors and window without losing the old charm of the apartment, because they don’t make them the same way ( manually ) although if you have money to spend, spend it for the master, that can do it in half a time.

The old kitchen was situated on the north side of apartment, where you only have early morning sun and then the whole day nothing and also it was a pretty small but we’re people who love time spending in kitchen, so for us the kitchen is also a living room, so we started thinking of possibility to move the kitchen on the other side of apartment, on the south side in the biggest room of the apartment, where there was also entrance to the balcony with a beautiful view to the garden. And because the room was side by side with a bathroom, we had also access to the water that is essential.



The kitchen is one of the most expensive things in your apartment, besides bathroom, so we had to think hard how to have a new, but not expensive solution. When we bought the apartment the previous owners left a few very old pieces of furniture and there was also a beautiful old closet., so we decided to use it as a part of kitchen. Of course, it needed some work, but again it was worth it. Now we just had to buy a kitchen sink and a kitchen counter, for what we used wood directly from lumberjack and again did some work. On the wall above it and under it we put some shelves and a curtain to hide them.

And that was it, a new kitchen for less than one third of a budget for a newly bought kitchen.

The bathroom was also a big must, but the tiles that we liked were insanely expensive, so we first had to determine where the tiles were essential: on the floor, in the shower and around the sink. We bought the cheapest simple tiles in two colors ( white and blue) and we laid them on the floor in a manner of a chessboard. Around the shower and sink we left them in one color. Everything else we painted with a silicone paint that is resistant to water. The closets especially for bathrooms are also very expensive, so we just bought cupboards and shelves that were not made FOR the bathroom. You can get them again in half price or even less.

The lighting is also something that is very important if you want to feel good in your home and a right lamp could transform your plain room into a special place., but most important is the position of the lighting. It’s best if you have a few light sources and not just one : standing lights in the corners of the room, pendant lights above the table, wall lights, counter top lights, night lights in bedrooms, and maybe ceiling lights in spaces where you need a lot of light. They should all have their own switch, so you can change the lighting according to your feeling. But don’t forget the switch that turns them all out at the same time.

And in the end, painting your home in colours. Me, I’m a colour person. I don’t feel good if the walls are all white, so I always paint my walls in colours or put on wallpapers that can  really give your apartment a boost. It doesn’t mean that I paint them all in colours, but one or two painted walls gives your home a different perspective. You can also make rooms visually bigger, taller, smaller, emphasize a part you like, … Many times I also use a black colour, yes BLACK. I know it sounds strange, but black colour doesn’t actually work like a colour. Like in paintings brings a depth into the space. So don’t be afraid to use it.

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Moving in

After paint was dry we brought our furniture and everything else and we started living in our beautiful home and because we did most of the things by ourself it was so much more OUR HOME. After few years we had to move in a bigger apartment, but for all the times it will stay our first beautiful home.

You never forget your first one ;))











2 Replies to “Budget home renovation”

  1. Vesna,
    Doing renovations in your own home can be very rewarding. I have been doing them for over 40 years. I just put up some back splash in the kitchen that I found on clearance at a local home store. I have priced it at over $2000 for just the tile, I found a similar tile for only $25. If you look around sometimes you can save a bunch of money.
    I do have several cabinets that are from houses that were being torn down. Stripping many layers of paint and a refinish of the wood left me with some very nice storage solutions.
    All home improvements should not break the bank.

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