The best on-budget DIY renovation of small interior

Nadia with her husband Vova and daughter Varya live in a residential building. There was no initial repair budget, so they did everything gradually, setting aside small amounts from salaries. Today, our heroes will talk about cool ways to save on repairs and not lose in quality and style.

Building: Residental building
Area: 46 m2 (495ft²)
Rooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Residents: 3

About stand-alone drawings

I am an architect by profession and work for a company that designs industrial buildings. The activity is not creative, but in ordinary life, I pay attention to what surrounds me.

During the repair, I took over the entire engineering and design part: I didn’t do a big working project, only separate drawings when necessary.

Even before the start of the repair, I took measurements of the entire apartment and drew the walls in a special program. And as they began to make repairs in individual rooms, they saturate them with furniture. I moved for hours, changed places, and tried different options.

I consider this stage to be very important in preparation for the repair: it depends on the location of the furniture exactly where the sockets will be, and how to arrange the lighting elements. It also helps a lot to understand what size furniture will fit and how to arrange it optimally.

Not everyone knows how to use such programs, but now there are a lot of online tools that will also perfectly solve all these tasks. The whole design came into my head. I didn’t focus on any particular style. I just followed my inner desires. 

About electrical and lighting

We didn’t do redevelopment, but there was enough dirty work during the repair – all the electrics changed.

For us, this was an important moment for two reasons:

  1. The electrics were old, they could not withstand all the planned equipment.
  2. I wanted convenience and the absence of wires and extension cords in a conspicuous place.

All sockets are thought out in detail, and in the end, there are exactly as many as necessary.

I also wildly wanted to get rid of the old and uncomfortable solution – one chandelier in the center of the room, so we have built-in spots (like spotlights) for the main light. There are pendant lights in the living room, bathroom and kitchen, but they are more for beauty, highlighting the zone and creating different lighting intensities, and different scenarios.

About the kitchen

Our kitchen is scanty – the pain of all the owners of Khrushchev. Gas is not common in Vladivostok – there are always many questions about what was done with gas equipment and how the opening to the living room was legalized. No gas, no problem.

In general, I am satisfied with the Leda Gray kitchen set from Leroy Merlin. Our budget was limited, so this option suited me in terms of quality and design. Still in love with grey

In such a small kitchen, it was possible to place a complete set of household appliances: a microwave, an oven, a hob, a grinder, and a dishwasher.

The oven and dishwasher are 45 cm wide, this is not a standard width (usually 60 cm). But that’s enough for our family.

Appliances occupied almost all cabinets, there were few storage places left. So I came up with a rack that fits perfectly in size. Although at first glance it is quite decorative, it stores a lot of things: potatoes, kitchen textiles, a bread box, some cereals, and dishes. Also, a lot of things hang on an apron or stand on a countertop, which also frees up space in the cabinets. All knives, shovels, and cutting boards are here.

In order to have more working space, the window sill was made a continuation of the countertop. A kettle and a capsule coffee machine have moved here.

Above the countertop, there are necessary sockets for a blender and charging your phone.

Refrigerator in a niche that used to be a passage, to the right of the kitchen unit.

Laminate on the floor. With a larger budget, I would recommend tiles.

A wide opening of 1.2 m leads from the kitchen to the living room. The doors were not made intentionally. Before the renovation, they were here but never closed. The wide opening gives the feeling of a continuation of the space, and we placed the dining area in the living room. It’s almost like a studio.

They left the old radiator in the kitchen. I painted it myself with paint for radiators in a color close to the color of the walls.

About the living room

The dining area is highlighted by three suspensions. Initially, there was a large table 140×80 cm, for four people, very beautiful and made to order. We have guests once a week, but my daughter grew by the day, and she needed a place. Therefore, the table was changed to a simpler design but folding. On the balcony, we keep folding chairs for guests.

I keep beautiful dishes in the cupboard. The toy rack is our latest purchase. This is a standard IKEA shelving unit with wooden legs. In the future, I want to replace the baskets and cover them with a wooden tabletop.

About finishing and decor

Throughout the apartment on the floor, we have one laminate, quite a budget one from Leroy Merlin. Beautiful, but you can’t leave water on it, it immediately swells. There is paint on the walls in the hallway and kitchen. Wallpaper in the bedroom and living room. And this is my biggest pain. Joints are visible. Moreover, two brands of wallpaper were used. It was glued by one person at one time, but one brand glued perfectly, and the other terribly.

Another can`t – moldings. They are from MDF. And for them, there should be ideal walls. This is not the case with us, and some moments do not look very neat.

There is a lot of decor in the apartment, but I also try to approach its purchase consciously. I have nowhere to store it, so I buy only what I really need and fit it into the interior. I throw away/sell.

I also have a lot of indoor plants. I think that they add +100 to comfort and beauty. This is how green works. Although I’m not an expert in caring for them.

About the bedroom

The bedroom has plenty of storage space. My principle is that in order not to have a mess, everything should have a place. The bed has a large storage compartment, the wardrobe is the only one in the apartment, and is very large. This is a modular storage system from Leroy Merlin, also thought out for our needs.

There are two lighting scenarios – near the closet and in the crib area. Above the large bed did not do anything intentionally.

About the bathroom

Our bathroom is 3.5 m². We thought for a long time, but in the end, we decided to put in a bathtub, not a shower cabin. And I didn’t regret it. I love hanging out with candles in the bathroom. The washing machine was moved to a niche in the hallway during the renovation of the bathroom. The bathroom is the brightest room in our apartment. Many, looking at the photo, say that there are too many accent tiles. It is the photo that gives such an effect, in real life, there is no such thing.

There are two types of ceramic tiles on the walls – white large rectangular format and square accent. The grout is gray, contrasting. I chose not white partly in order to protect myself from changing its color later. Accent tiles on the floor, bright blue custom-made furniture.

Although visually the furniture turned out exactly the way I wanted, the experience of interacting with a custom-made furniture manufacturer turned out to be unsuccessful – they delayed the deadlines, lied, and there are complaints about the execution of the interior.

Bath made of artificial stone, this option is more expensive than acrylic and cast iron. But more aesthetically pleasing and tactile. Acrylic empty and deaf. Cast iron is cold.

She paid great attention to the organization of storage places. All cosmetics and household chemicals had to be hidden. This is partly why the furniture was made to order. Since it was impossible to choose the right size and such a bright blue color in the finished furniture.

There are a lot of shelves inside the 170x30x20 high pencil case, but there are holes in the walls for the entire height so I can adjust the location of the shelves myself. A cutout is made in the back wall for a socket for charging the husband’s electric shaver. Here are all the household chemicals, everything for bathing Varya, and my things for the shower.

We made the screen for the bathroom ourselves, all the components were from Leroy. The shutter doors open. The space under the bathroom is also a great storage place: we have a bucket and a rag for mopping, and some building materials there.

About the hallway

The entrance hall is very narrow – 110 cm. There is also a door to the bathroom. In order to somehow use the storage space, they put a narrow IKEA shoe rack, which stores a decent amount of seasonal shoes.

The front door with a mirror expands the space, and the mirror is used for its intended purpose. Above the shoe rack are my dad’s watercolors.

Niche-cloakroom-laundry room

A niche of 1.8 by 0.8 meters was obtained from the former passage to the kitchen. Small space, but we got the most out of it. There is a modular storage system on the walls, we had it even before the repair. Its modularity made it possible to remove a couple of sections and install a dryer and washing machine.

What is there:

– washing machine,
– dryer,
– all shoes
– hats and scarves
– part of outerwear.

Of course, this is a very narrow space. And access to the washing machine is not very convenient. But I was ready for it and got used to it. This allowed the bathroom to be freed from the washer, which is wonderful.

Separated from the hallway with a simple IKEA curtain. It would be possible to make a door, but more expensive and more difficult to implement.

Top Tips:

  • If you have a budget, contact the professionals. If not, study and take the time. Only thoughtful space can be comfortable and functional.
  • Be sure to think over the location of all the elements in the apartment before the start of the repair.
  • Think carefully about storage places, but first throw out the excess. No need to make a mess. When everything has its place, it’s much easier to keep organized.
  • Start your renovation by choosing color combinations and remember that there is always a background, accents and details.
  • If you don’t have a lot of money, start small. Many are frightened by the large volume of the entire apartment, and they continue to live in neither beauty nor comfort. “The elephant must be eaten in pieces.”
  • Relax. There will be difficulties in your repair. It is impossible to foresee everything.

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