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Renovations can be a mission, so here are tips from an expert to make it feel more like an adventure as you go about it with patience and paint, using what you have, keeping it stylishly personal, and finding the right place for everything

Getting a place to call home is exciting, and putting your stamp on it can be a real adventure. Here are a few tips to help you, working on a budget, from Ina Baard who recently spent two years renovating her inner-city apartment, and has insights to share.

Be clear about what you want: Get a good understanding of your style. Pinterest boards are great to help you see what kind of kitchens draw you in. When I was preparing for my kitchen renovation, I realised I kept pinning pictures of black and white kitchens. This really helped me to narrow it down and get the kitchen I love.

Be patient: If you are willing to be patient, have a willingness to learn and have time to invest, you can save a lot of money by doing some projects yourself. Learning to paint your own walls, for example, saves a lot of money, and is satisfying to know this is your own work. If you give yourself the time, you will be able to source great accessories and appliances at discounted prices. Try not be in a rush to get something just for the sake of checking it off your list of things you need for your home.

Work with what you have: When renovating your kitchen, first decide what you are willing to let go and what needs to stay. If your cupboards are still in good condition, a new coat of white paint will make them look new and smart again. Alternatively, by just replacing cupboard doors, you can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen.

Consider replacing the old melamine or stock standard silver handles with polished brass handles, for example – as long as it fits in with the style of the rest of the kitchen. Splurging a bit on stylish and/or colourful accessories is an easy way to make a big impact when making your kitchen feel more modern and to make it feel more personal.

Give your kitchen a more customised feeling by replacing existing (outdated) hardware and lighting with something that makes your heart sing. Be on the lookout for sales. Sometimes you can get great bargains when shops are clearing their old stock to make room for a new shipment.

Add your personal touch: Open shelving is a great way to add a homely feel to your kitchen. Consider taking the doors off some of your existing eye-level cupboards to create open shelving.

Open shelves not only give you easy access to the crockery you use on a daily basis, but also really opens up the feel of the kitchen and creates a focal point and without costing you anything extra. When installing a new kitchen, open shelves are also a cost-effective storage solution compared to fitted cupboards.

Find the best spot for everything: Someone once gave me the advice that if something always ends up in a certain spot in your house, it probably makes most sense to make space for it there. So, say for example you have a place for your keys in a cupboard in your kitchen, but instead they always ends up on a table near the entrance, it will make more sense to move the designated area for keys from the kitchen cupboard to somewhere near the front door.

Let the room breathe: Reduce, reduce, reduce. If you have not used something in the last year, chances are slim you will use it again. We tend to hold onto things unnecessarily and that just takes up valuable storage space and makes it difficult to find things. Clutter is not sexy, regardless of the room it occupies.


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