How to make your crummy old apartment feel brand new!

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Living in an old house has a charm of its own. However, unless you give your house some TLC (tender loving care!) it can feel a little dated. The aim of updating an old house or apartment is to make it a more comfortable space while still maintaining the character of the house. If your home was previously owned by someone else, you can expect it to have had a few repairs along the way. Small repairs over the years can leave an old house looking mismatched and a little chaotic. Thus to make an old home feel new; start with a plan. 

Determine how you want your home or apartment to look and feel before beginning to renovate. You will also need to set yourself a budget for the renovation project. Depending on the budget, you could choose to hire professionals to renovate an old house or take a more DIY approach. Whatever your budget, here are few areas that need attention while updating an old house.

Repair the walls

Most walls in old houses are covered with plaster that cracks or pops loose with age. Seepage and nail holes that have been punched over the years can also weaken the walls.  If seepage is a problem in your house, get it treated by a waterproofing expert at the earliest possible convenience. 

Cracks in the walls can be fixed with spackling compound. You will need to apply thin coats of the compound at least three times. Allow it to dry well between coats and sand off the excess compound each time as well. If your walls are in a really bad shape you may want to ask a mason to take over and replaster the walls.

Clean or replace the carpets

Carpeted floors are magnets for dust and grime. Dust not only makes the carpet look dirty but can also gradually make your carpet go bald. Deep cleaning your carpets will instantly update the look of an old house but sometimes even that may not be enough. 

As a carpet gets older, it also loses its sheen and can begin to fade in places. Though most carpets have a stain resistant finish when new, this treatment also fades with time, leaving you with a carpet dotted with stains. A carpet is said to have an average life of 10 years. If your carpet is older than this, you may want to consider replacing it with a new one to make your old house feel new.

This beautiful overhaul is a work of brilliance by Connox-Be Unique based in Hanover.

Install new doors

Installing new doors is another step that can make an old house feel new. Doors do last a lifetime but in an old house, sometimes it can make more sense to replace a door rather than repair it. Repairing a door that is cracked or broken along the edges, or one that is no longer aligned with the hinges, is only a makeshift temporary solution. 

Doors and windows that do not close properly are safety hazards and can also adversely affect your insulation and heating bills. Doors in old houses are also usually made of solid wood making them heavy and high on maintenance. Inside the house, switch these for lighter doors made of fibreglass to make opening and closing them easier. 

Update power outlets, light switches, and plates

Uxbridge switchplate in chrome homify Classic event venues
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Uxbridge switchplate in chrome

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The wiring system and power outlets in most old houses are outdated. Not only does this look unappealing, it is also a safety hazard. Old musty power outlet plates may also be harboring insects that affect your health. Update an old house by replacing power outlets and switchboards with new ones. You could also consider switching old alarms, thermostats and smoke detectors that have yellowed with age. 

If you’re planning on doing this yourself, make sure you’re wearing rubber soled footwear to protect you from being shocked. Better still, hire an electrician. Updating dated switchboards with plates that feature built in USB chargers, multiple port connectors; dimmer controls etc can also make your old house more technology friendly. While you’re looking at electrical fittings, you could also consider updating lights and fans with more energy efficient models.

Apply a fresh coat of paint

Applying a few coats of paint is the most budget friendly way to update an old house. Replace all signs of faded wallpaper and muted beige walls with a fresh coat of paint in your chosen color scheme. Along with the walls, cabinet doors and furniture can be updated with a coat of paint as well. 

Follow the 60-30-10 rule when choosing a color palette for your house with the color of the walls forming the primary base of your color palette—that's 60% of a dominant colour, 30% of a secondary colour and 10% of an accent colour. To give the exterior of your house a fresh look, consider contrasting colors for the walls and trims.

Stain wooden features

Hardwood floors are distinctive features of most old houses. Hardwood floors give a house warmth and character but inevitably get scratched and worn out with age. The same applies to wooden furniture in an old house. To make an old house look younger, spend a weekend staining your wooden floors and furniture. Begin by cleaning all wooden surfaces thoroughly and gently scuffing the old finish. Plug holes from old electrical lines and touch up deep scratches with a stain marker before applying the wood stain. Allow this to dry well and cure for at least three days to achieve an even finish. An additional coat of polyurethane will protect the wood against wear and tear.

Plumbing lines also generally require attention when renovating an old house. Along with this, take a look at the insulation of your house as well. Kitchens also call for extra attention while you renovate an old house. Once the basics are covered take a look at your curtains and soft furnishings to see if they need to be updated to match your renovated house. Rearranging your furniture to be away from the walls, a beautifully framed mirror, and wall art are the final finishing touches that can take an old house from drab to wow.

For more creative renovation ideas, check out this unbelievable transformation!


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