3 ways to decorate your apartment on a budget

· Interior Design

Decorating Your Apartment

Things To Note

Thinking of feathering your new nest, but are on a tight budget? No worries. Here are three ways you can personalize your space without draining your finances.

So you’ve spent half a bomb securing your apartment, and the other half splashing out on the renovation. That doesn’t leave you much for the decor – the bits and pieces that make a home truly feel like home, like a statement armchair, nifty wall art, or a cool pendant lamp. But fret not. There are ways to stamp your personal touch on the space without breaking the bank. Here are three of them.

1. DIY

With scores of DIY tutorials on YouTube these days, there’s no excuse not to learn a few simple home improvement hacks. Probably one of the easiest tasks to DIY is paintwork. According to estimates, professional painting fees range from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the size and type of apartment (HDB/condo).

And while we’re on the subject of painting, why not channel your inner Van Gogh by making your own artwork? If you’re slightly hesitant, you could join an art jamming class to get those creative juices flowing. If you’ve already discovered your artistic talents, then go ahead and mount your masterpiece in a nice frame. Option: get it professionally framed so that it looks as if you purchased it from a gallery.

2. Scour the Thrift Shops

Often, a single flea market find – such as an oversized chandelier, club chair or railway style clock – can transform your space from drab to fab. But unlike London or Paris, Singapore has a dearth of fleas. And with Sungei Road Thieves Market to close for good on 10 July, bargain hunters in search of funky odds and ends will just have to make do with the Salvation Army and other thrift shops scattered around the island.

Besides the Salvos, one of the biggest and best places to trawl for second-hand furnishings is Hock Siong & Co. There you will find everything from vintage teakwood sofas and Chinese cabinets to crystal chandeliers and old-school electric fans. Of course, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s always eBay.

3. Upcycle

If you’ve managed to uncover some gems from your thrift shop trawls, it’s time to engage in some upcycling. The upcycling/repurposing movement has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. With good reason: just a little imagination is all that’s needed to breathe new life into second-hand or discarded items.

Old doors can be transformed into tabletops, headboards or dividing screens. A wooden stepladder makes a great storage device in the bathroom. Antique picture frames, fitted with mirrors, become focal points in a room. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh lick of paint – that leftover paint from your DIY paint job can give an old table or chair a brand new look.

In fact, chairs – and sofas – make perfect upcycling projects, thanks to reupholstery specialists like Soon Seng Heng. The family-run business has been around since the 1980s, and can patch up torn or frayed upholstery. Alternatively, they can replace the entire padding with new material and cover it with new fabric.

If you prefer a one-stop shop, consider Second Charm, where you can pick up preloved furniture from the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries, and then have them restore and reupholster the pieces.

If you’re more of the hands-on type, and are quite sociable, then Repair Kopitiam might be up your alley. Inspired by the Repair Cafes of Europe, this local outfit is a community meet-up where volunteer “Repair Coaches” offer advice on how to repair items like electrical appliances and simple furniture. As a plus, you also get to meet like-minded individuals.


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