Restyle to Style
As homeowners, whether new or longtime, maintaining the condition and functionality of any space is of utmost importance, if not crucial, to the livelihood of its residents. An overhaul is often pricey and superfluous, so one might consider modifying to reinvigorate.
The average person spends roughly 45 per cent of their lifetime at home, making the living quarter of a house an integral part of a well-rounded life. Owning the ideal home is on everyone’s check list of goals and when it finally happens, elation is first met, followed by concerns, budgeting, renovation ideas, and upkeep of market value.
Unlike a new vehicular purchase which depreciates the moment it leaves the garage, properties can go both ways – either up or down in market value. Regardless of intentions to resale, rent out, live-in or keep in the family, a house’s valuation is heavily reliant on location, district development, political climate, and maintenance. While much on the list is out of your control, maintenance (or remodeling) to increase its value can be as simple as a quick upgrade of an isolated room.
A Hint of Hue, A Dash of Radiance
Interior designers pay extra attention to the color tone of every room while pairing furniture. A white room as opposed to a red room will always appear more spacious despite its square footage being the same. However, that being said, a white kitchen is an invitation for permanent stains, especially after simmering a pot of pasta sauce for three hours. Update and upgrade the varying spaces of your home by giving it a paint make-over.
While it is advisable to engage with a professional painter, a weekend do-it-yourself project may be just the ticket to gather some close friends or family, order in pizzas and have a paint-athon that gives your house the face lift it needs to up in value.
Cut Energy Consumption
Get with the times and come into the 21st century. If your home is still powered on by non-energy-saving appliances and fixtures, now is the time to make the switch. It is estimated that LED bulbs can save upward of 75 per cent on electricity bill every year and powered for a much longer period of time than incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, with an energy audit provided by your local utility company, the assessment result could increase the overall value and marketability of your property asset.
Beyond the bulb, other energy-saving upgrades can be made in the forms of showerhead, windowpanes, kitchen appliances such as rice cooker and microwaves, solar-powered outdoor lights, hairdryers, air-conditioning systems, and ceiling fans. The juxtaposition here is that you get to boost up your property value, all while saving the environment.
A Breath of New Designs
Renovating your home on a budget might seem counterintuitive or a pointless reinvestment if you’re trying to up the price of your property with simple hacks. However, the advice here is not for a complete overhaul, but rather a budget-friendly face lift that could give a rundown room the much needed breath of fresh design it’s been craving. It is well-known that the most attended to rooms within a home are the kitchen and bathroom. While the bathroom might take more than just a simple paint job, consider the kitchen as the starting canvas to liven up and add value as a whole.
Of course, renovating a whole kitchen will cost a pretty penny; however, replacing the worktops, changing taps and creating organisers within already-built cabinets can increase the value of your home by nearly 4 per cent. The silver lining is you can mask your kitchen up to best suit your usage, whether that is with a new coat of non-toxic polish or a new laminate to match.
Restore or Install a Feature Piece
Unfortunately, Malaysian homes are not built with fireplace and cascading water features to bend with the weather or suit the likes of feng shui, so take this opportunity to either upcycle an old painting or design a feature wall. Building a fireplace in the tropics might be ill-advised, but a timber feature wall or floor-to-ceiling shelf for memorabilia are not.
A wall is just a wall and has no visual interest for occupants; furthermore, the mundaneness can steal away from the room, offering no form of contrast from the furnishing. In recent years, interior designers have opted for textured materials to add a more 3-dimensional feel to a room, such as timber slabs and mirrors. Another cheap option is stickered wallpaper, which can be changed again and again when you grow tired of the design.
Tips from a Professional
Renowned architect and managing director of BEP Akitek, Ar Kam Pak Cheong, shares his insights on renovation mistakes people make in their living space and how to avoid degenerating any property.
When it comes to lighting, regardless of what type, don’t go overboard. Oftentimes, 5-10 watts is enough to light a room to perfection. “Don’t be greedy. You know, in a small unit, nothing big, no low lighting. Don’t try to light up the wall from the ceiling. If it’s not done properly, it’s the worst thing you could do. It’s almost like you’re trying to show people how imperfect your walls are.”
“Another very important thing is to make sure the building does not have leakage. This is something a lot of developers forget.” Kam emphasised the importance of using the proper spore traps, especially in bathrooms. “It’s very simple: very cheap spore traps – unless it’s cored in (perfect shape) – after a while, it will rot. And because of that, whatever water is inside will dry up causing it to emit an odour.”
If a room with plumbing is not frequently in use, poor water down the drain every two weeks to moisten the pipe and stop corrosion. This will prevent the stale stench from rising up into the unit.
Last and definitely not least, it’s paying close attention to sound proofing certain areas, such as the bedroom and/or bathroom. Kam advised that the rooms don’t necessarily need to be soundproofed, but a certain thickness in panes and sealant is recommended. “Sound travels through airways, otherwise there’s no privacy for both the occupant and its neighbours.”