Not everyone can afford to spend time, effort and resource on a massive room makeover. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have.

It’s the same old case isn’t it? You spend hours looking through Pinterest boards, flipping home and interior magazine pages and if you’re really industrious, you’ve probably got cutouts in a little scrapbook about the top ten designs you absolutely adore, with all your favourite colours. But then you realise where you’re living, and how much it’s going to actually cost to make that dream moodboard you’ve created in your head, a reality.

There’s a lot you can do with what you have though, and it shouldnt have to cost an arm and a leg. So we thought we’d give you some advice on how to improve specific areas of your home, and specific levels of work you can do to improve them, depending on how much effort you’d like to put in. We’ve arranged these tips in order of how much effort you might want to put into this project, as we’re sure not everyone works with the same budgets!

Follow these tips and you’re guaranteed to have a home that’s a little brighter, more open and inviting, and ready for the new season!

Tip 1: Declutter declutter declutter!

Image of decluttered bookshelf by Andre Francois Mckenzie via

Image of a decluttered bookshelf by Andre Francois Mckenzie via

This probably goes without saying, but start with reducing clutter. It’s never a wrong time for a bit of a spring clean. Nothing gives the impression of a cramped space more than cabinets and shelves that have too many items in them. All those back issues of magazines and books you read once that have piled up in one spot? Either get rid of them or try stacking them differently, i.e. stack them flat, instead of vertically and make sure you don’t fill an entire space with them.

Tip 2: Colour coordinate your books/shelf items

Image of colour coded books by Blog

Image courtesy

This is especially effective if you have a light wall. If you can find a method of rearrranging your books so that their spines are all the same colour, you can pull off a very funky focal point, and it will look especially trendy and vibrant in the spring or summer. And while we’re on the topic of book shelves, our next tip is relevant.

Tip 3. Move shelves closer to the ceiling

Shelves that surround the top of the kitchen ceiling - Image from

Shelf Space along the ceiling – Image courtesy

Our eyes are naturally drawn upwards with shelves and we tend to scan them from top to bottom. A floor-to-ceiling book case can therefore show off the height of your room, making it seem larger. If your shelf doesn’t necessarily stack that high, you might want to consider installing a high shelf space along the perimeter of a single wall in your room and stack either books or a potted plant on them.

Tip 4: Use floating shelves

Floating Shelf Space Image

There’s an old trick in interior design that you can apply to make the height of your room seem larger than it is, and that to lift bookcases, shelves and cabinets off the ground. You can pick up several kinds of floating shelves depending on your style and the amount of space you need to fill, but make sure to choose light colours for them. You can of course use floating shelves not just in a living room. They’re great spaces in kitchens and bedrooms as well.

Tip 5: Remove the doors

open shelving kitchen ideas from

Open shelving kitchen ideas from

This is handy for cabinets in the kitchen for your pots and pans. Removing the doors to cabinets allow them to breathe. It also gives you a bit more depth to your room. Kitchen spaces are typically not designed as very large spaces, so make use of any opportunity you get to make them seem larger than life. Oh and while you’re at it, you may want to rearrange your kitchen items to be colour coordinated as well! If you do go for the no-door look, you’d want to do a paint job on the insides of the cabinets to really make them pop!

Tip 6: Repainting cabinets

Repainted cabinets from image

Repainted cabinets, image courtesy

Trying on a new colour for your kitchen cabinets and shelves seems like a no-brainer, if you want to change your style or if they’re looking a little dated.  Whether you’re going for a brighter or deeper shade or looking for a more Scandi-style grey as above, make sure your choices reflect a contrast with the rest of your kitchen. Before your paint job begins, if you don’t want to get rid of cabinet doors, you’ll want to label them with their correct location. Remember to choose a paint that’s an extension of your personality!