I own a college student rental condo. It was built in the 80’s, but I have had fun staying on top of updates. The last few years have drained me however: replacing carpet, fridge, furnace, washer/dryer, water heater, and dishwasher are not the kind of upgrades that are fun. With the expense of all the appliances and behind the wall stuff the general look of the place deteriorated… and the condo wasn’t renting. So, it was time to overhaul.
We don’t live in the same town so we had one Saturday to update the place and get it to rent. We also have four kids, so the kid factor made the time more like a few hours! There are a few things you can do to any space to give it a quick facelift:
1. Paint. You’ve heard this one before. It is the fastest, cheapest, easiest way to transform a space. We didn’t even have time to paint an entire room so I chose an accent wall that extended from the front room into the kitchen. I call this paint “Modern Family Blue” because it is the blue in the Dunphey’s house on Modern Family, Labrador Blue by Benjamin Williams. I gotta say, it looks darker without all the stage lights.
2. Furniture. We bought this set of faux leather couches on Craigslist for $400. We were lucky they were available. We found them on Friday night, my bff went to get them first thing in the morning while I started to paint. When we took the old blue couch to the good will they wouldn’t take it! Ha! That has never happened to me before! They said it was unsellable… but we helped them see the DIY potential and they reluctantly let us unload.
3. Clear the clutter. Old furniture and stacks of books, etc. that are not used just add to the general run down feel. Especially in small spaces like this one it’s important to purge and repurpose each item in the room. The condo had a large, mostly unused tv armoir, yucky old armchair, and a bookshelf in the front room that looked trashy and dated. We donated all of them (although I was lamenting I didn’t live in town and couldn’t take advantage of all these potential DIY projects!) I used the black unused coffee table for the new tv stand and it worked perfectly.
4. Update the decor. My grandma gave me this old mirror about 10 years ago, so ya, it’s old. I threw it up in the condo to help the room feel bigger, but the wood frame was too dated. One quick coat of white spray paint and the room looked tons better.
5. Hardware. This is my name afterall. I took all the hardware off in the condo, cleaned it, and gave it a couple coats of metalic spray paint. Word to the wise! DON’T spray on plastic! When the wind blows it is a disaster! (How many times do I need to learn this lesson!?) Flat cardboard is the way to go. I was in a hurry and thought it would be fine… then the wind picked up, everything stuck together and it was a mess. In the end it made a great difference.
Here is the cost breakdown:
One day, less than $450, and guess what? The condo is no longer vacant, which made it totally worth it. Saturday well spent.