Monthly Archives: October 2015

#34 Renovate Painlessly

You’re laughing uproariously now, aren’t you? Thinking that the phrase ‘renovate painlessly’ is a supreme example of an oxymoron on a par with ‘government organisation’ or ‘business ethics’.

Of course you’re right, but it seemed a neater title and more likely to catch the eye than the more honest:

#34 Renovate Painlessly (If at all Possible – Which of course, It Isn’t) 

Over ten years ago, I did major renovations to my kitchen, moving from its outdated faux-log-cabin-look with incongruous lime green bench tops (what were they thinking?)


to a more streamlined modern look:

New Kitchen 2003

But what these cool Before and After shots don’t show is the agony of the weeks and weeks of living like this:


Recently, I decided to give my place a face lift, but being reluctant to suffer in this way again, took the easy approach and went with a simple repaint. And the good news is that you can feel like you’ve moved into a newer, larger home just by painting the ceilings, walls and skirting boards in lighter colours!

For those of us who waited patiently in the wrong queue when the skills for Choosing Design Features were being handed out, the agony of having to decide on a colour scheme has been taken away by the ever-helpful Mr Google.

Type in ‘what is the most popular colour to paint indoor walls in 2015?’ and the number one answer is ‘Antique White (USA)’. If you then ask a couple of knowledgable designer friends and the answer is exactly the same, you know you’re on a winner. Because even if it ends up looking awful, at least it’s the colour du jour and no one will dare criticise. 

(As opposed to the delicate peach colour I independently chose for the second bedroom which has resulted in many comments along the lines, ‘Ah, an old fashioned colour. How quaint! It will probably come into vogue again one day’.)

So before long, and relatively painlessly, this:


magically turned into this:


And the dark hallway:


miraculously expanded into lightness and brightness:


…aided and abetted by furnishings and turning on lights, but doesn’t everyone cheat in the after photos?

Of course as everyone knows, once a bedroom has been painted, its fraying carpet and budget curtains scream in unison that they want a makeover too and what began as a relatively painless renovation becomes much more complicated.

However the whole experience of shifting furniture, rearranging ornaments and trying for a minimalist look has taught me that both tidying up and getting rid of junk can also make a home look so much better. Who knew?

If the idea of actually tidying up is enough to give you an attack of the vapours though, I’d recommend buying a very large, flat pack cupboard and finding a very talented person to put it together.

laundry cupboard

Bet you can’t spot the mess in the laundry any more…