Spring in lockdown is nothing new to pandemic-weary Melburnians, who’ve spent the higher a part of a yr shut inside their houses.
However whereas the onset of spring undoubtedly has a Groundhog Day vibe to it this yr, there are many straightforward dwelling renovation and styling actions for these hoping to spice issues up round the home.
Rebeka Morgan, co-founder of women-led design and renovating enterprise BuildHer Collective, mentioned the majority of inquiries she was receiving as of late have been from “drained” Melburnians sick of the sight of their houses.
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While some had the luxury to pick up and move, many didn’t due to skyrocketing house prices.
But she said a few simple changes could freshen up a property and potentially add a little value when the time came to sell.
“Just about everyone we’re speaking to is tired. We need a refresh and we need something to lift our spirits and energy,” Ms Morgan said.
“What we’re seeing in the market at the moment is it’s very hard to buy and sell (in lockdown), and the market is obviously increasing, but a lot can be done with your existing house.
Ms Morgan continued: “The thing we mainly talk to people about is, ‘what’s the cost of moving versus the cost of a renovation?’ Because by the time you have agents’ fees, stamp duty, and marketing campaigns and moving costs, the cost is often equal to a small renovation anyway.
“People are really getting an idea of how important their home space is and how much we need it to do for us.
“It (renovating) is also something you can do as a family to change things together and work towards a goal. I know we’ve found that our kids like getting involved and helping.”
Painting was a good choice when it came to freshening up a room or even the entire house, Ms Morgan said.
Wall colours had a “huge” influence on how people felt, she said. And with more people working from home and staring at their computer screens, she’d noticed a big shift away from white.
“(It’s) out with white and in with some colour. Haymes Paint just released their new colour range, Awakening, and it is all about moving away from stark whites and using some colour and tones,” she said.
Beige shades were now in – but only “good beige”, not “bad beige”, which tended to have yellow undertones.
“It’s moving into … colours that have more depth and warmth to them, because when we’re looking at computer screens all the time and we’ve got that kind of stark white (on the screen), we’re seeking more warmth and comfort from the rest of our house,” Ms Morgan said.
It goes without saying spring is the time for a good deep clean, but adding shelves can be a novel way to declutter.
Shelves not only helped to boost storage space – a big plus for buyers if planning to sell – but Ms Morgan said they also created focal points in a room to display knick-knacks or plants.
She recently installed a PLANK shelf and she said it was easy to do herself.
Best of all, the business is Melbourne based for those who like to shop local.
“It’s a great way to freshen up a wall and show off the things you like, because you want to display things you love but you want to have the ability to move them around fairly frequently,” Ms Morgan said.
Adding indoor plants to existing shelves, benches or other surfaces are also a great way to revitalise indoor surroundings.
Monsteras and fiddle leaf figs are Ms Morgan’s top picks.
She said it was all about “layering” the plants to get the best aesthetic, rather than bunching them all in a corner.
“So not always putting them around the base (of another plant), but on shelves,” she said.
“It’s about how you cluster things. You could do one by itself and then on a shelf next to it you could do a couple, but it’s the layering of them that creates warmth.”
Tenants can also think about changing the layout of furniture in different rooms to liven things up, such as moving a couch to a different wall or adding a rug.
They could also get creative by making an artworkto hang on the wall or even add some new soft furnishings like cushions or a throw to liven up a room.
Ms Morgan said time in lockdown had everyone thinking about the things that made them feel comfortable in their space – and people shouldn’t be afraid to get rid of things that no longer served their purpose.
“For example, I had two gorgeous but really uncomfortable mid-century chairs and so I got rid of them and got some really nice new chairs,” she said.
“It’s just about moving things around to increase use of space, and that’s changed that entire area. I’ve also added a rug.”
The kitchen is the heart of the home. But with tradies banned from entering occupied premises under lockdown, there are some quick and easy things owners can do themselves.
Replacing handles on cupboard doors or painting a bench could be options for those looking to change things up.
But Ms Morgan warned resurfacing certain benchtops or repainting cupboard doors could look “really DIY” if not done properly, so it was best to spend the time in lockdown researching ideas and liaising with tradies via email or phone.
“It depends what type of kitchen you’ve got, so if you’ve got an older style kitchen that’s already been painted, then paint can be amazing. But if you’ve got a laminate kitchen, then that can be tricky to paint and you’re not going to get a very great finish,” she said.
Replacing light fixtures or adding lamps could also be a quick and relatively easy way to modernise a room.
And involving the family in home styling and small renovation projects was a great way to beat the boredom blues while forging closer relationships, Ms Morgan said.
She built a cubby house in the backyard with the help of her kids, which had the benefit of getting them out of the house while the parks were closed and giving her a little peace and quiet when they went outside to play.
Her children also had loads of fun painting it.
“I just built it with some posts and some timber. Building a cubby house is pretty easy, you can build them from scratch or you can buy them online,” Ms Morgan said.
“There’s a lot of different varieties out there, but they’re pretty easy to assemble. That can be a really great way to spend a weekend and create a space for the kids to play.”
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