8 Affordable Ways to Update Your Home Without Major Renovations

Can’t afford to buy a new property just yet? Make your existing space look fresh and new with these budget-friendly decorating ideas.

By Sasha Gonzales        16 May 2023

With property prices on the rise, you may have decided to delay purchasing a new home for the time being. Skyrocketing inflation may have also put you off from renovating your place. 

But there are other ways to update your property and give it a new look that won’t take a lot of time or cost the earth. These eight home improvement projects and ideas are easy to execute, achievable in a few hours or a weekend at most, and, best of all, affordable. 

1. Bring walls to life with wallpaper

Wallpapering is a great alternative to painting. You don’t have to wallpaper your entire home; select a couple of walls you would like to transform and give them a beautiful new look. This year, wallpaper trends include earth tones, from sandstone to chocolate brown; faux textures (to give the illusion of wood, concrete or linen, for example); loud, bold patterns; tropical and botanical motifs; retro, ’70s-style geometric prints; and wavy stripes. Besides adding interest and colour to walls, wallpaper is also a good way to divide a room, use in-between wall panels, or create entirely new spaces within your home. 

Hello Circus designs wallpaper with prints and colours inspired by nature and the outdoors. Durable and easy to maintain, the wallpapers are manufactured in Europe with high-quality substrates and inks to ensure a vivid print with great definition.

SAFRA members enjoy $50 off wallpapers with a minimum $550 spend till 31 Dec 2023. Find out more at safra.sg/promotions/hello-circus 

2. Paint your doors

Make your interior and exterior doors look clean and new again with a lick of paint. The easiest way to paint a door is to remove it from its frame, but if you’re unable to do this, grab a step-ladder and get to work on it yourself, starting from the inside hinge edge and working outwards (remember to protect the floor and surrounding walls first, to avoid making a mess). To prep the doors and give them a smooth surface, sandpaper them before wiping them down with a tack cloth to remove any dust. 

Neutral colours like grey, black and white are best for interior doors as they work well with other colour schemes. If you want a front door that looks bold and unusual but welcoming, go with red or navy blue.  

3. Fill your home with flowers

Fresh flowers add colour, fun and fragrance to your home. Chrysanthemums, carnations, sunflowers, orchids, lilies and daisies all thrive in our humid climate. Choose colours that work best with your interior decor theme and display the blooms in attractive vases. To make your flowers last for as long as possible, cut the stems at an angle before putting them in the vase and change the vase water every day or two. 

Established in 2009, AngelFlorist offers an assortment of beautifully arranged bouquets and table arrangements.

SAFRA members enjoy 20% off with a minimum $100 spend before GST, or 10% off with a minimum $80 spend before GST, till 31 Dec 2024. Find out more at safra.sg/promotions/AngelFlorist.

Get expert tips on how to keep flowers fresher, for longer.

4. Display an artistic statement piece

Framed artworks are perfect for dressing up a plain room or a blank wall, and they need not be expensive. Find an oversized print, photograph or poster that you love, get it framed and display it on a prominent wall in your home. To give your artwork extra appeal, choose an ornate or colourful frame. Tip: Always hang your artworks at eye level so that you don’t have to tilt your head too far up or look down to appreciate it. 

Don’t want to put up an artwork? An oversized statement mirror works just as well at giving your room that wow factor. 

5. Replace your bathroom accessories

Rather than renovating your bathroom from top to bottom, give it a cool designer look by replacing the accessories, such as the showerhead, mirror and basin taps and mixer. Top bathroom accessory trends this year include rain showers (choose one with a dual attachment so you can take a “regular” shower if you want), brass and black tapware, curved mirrors, statement lighting, colourful sinks and sculptural taps.   

Buy a small cabinet for your toiletries, install a small shelf for scented candles or ornaments, and your bathroom will look as good as new.

SAFRA members enjoy 8% off selected products at Azora, a unique and comprehensive, one-stop gallery for lighting, curtains, blinds, wallpaper, and kitchen and bathroom accessories. Find out more at safra.sg/promotions/azora for details.

6. Add an area rug

A rug can help delineate one zone from another – it can be used to separate the dining room from the living room, for example. To get the most out of your rug, remember these “rules”:

  • Bigger is better: Make sure the rug extends under all the main pieces of furniture in the room.
  • Keep it centred: Rugs look best when they’re positioned right in the centre of a room, so try to leave the same amount of floor space on all sides of the rug.
  • Go bold: Don’t shy away from bright colours and wild patterns. Bold rugs can help “lift” the look of a room and make the furniture stand out. 

7. Invest in a new sofa

If your sofa is sagging or sinking and looking worn, get a new one. A well-designed sofa can transform your living room, making it more inviting and appealing, especially if you accessorise it with cushions. 

The top things to look for in a sofa now: soft and sculptural shapes; bright colours; warm, natural colours (like sage green and amber), a quilted design; and textures (like bouclé).

When shopping for a sofa, remember to “try before you buy”. It should be comfortable to sit on, sturdy and have quality fillings. The fabric should be durable and easy to maintain.  

Get your perfect sofa at Etch & Bolts, a furniture studio founded upon two tenets: design and customisation. Through its personalised design process, Etch & Bolts strives to create the best pieces to suit customers’ needs.

SAFRA members enjoy 10% off original retail prices for all non-discounted sofas, dining tables and chairs. Also get a free upgrade to premium seating comfort for every sofa purchased (worth $220). Find out more at safra.sg/promotions/etch-bolts.

8. Mix up your textures

For a really luxurious look, add texture to your rooms. Use a variety of textiles, from wool and satin to linen, leather and velvet, in your bedding, rugs, window treatments and furniture upholstery. And don’t be afraid to mix these textiles up. For a bigger visual impact, decorate the room with ornaments and accessories made from different materials, like metal, rattan and glass. 

Want more ideas? Here are more quick and easy ways to refresh your home.

NSmen, sign up for your complimentary 1-year SAFRA membership and enjoy discounts on dining and shopping purchases at over 2,000 merchant outlets islandwide, as well as members’ rates at more than 45 sports facilities at SAFRA clubs! What’s more, your family can enjoy the privileges too – your 1st dependent pays $10/year, and it’s free for your 2nd dependent onwards. Click here for more details.

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