refresh your home: the transformation of an apartment for rent

A former client of mine had mentioned he owned a small apartment that he was renting out. He had bought it several years ago with furnishing and a tenant already living there, and had never really had to do much with it.

A few months ago, the tenant left and he asked me for some advice to make some improvements.

Specifically, he was concerned about the entrance hall – a circular-shaped space – and the difficulty of placing a regular piece of furniture there.

When I visited the apartment, I was struck by its unexpressed potential!

First of all the location is very good; secondly, the spaces were well proportioned, the kitchen and bathroom were simple but presentable, and the technical installations were also fine. The basics were already in place, and all that was needed was a change of finishes and furniture.

I suggested to my client to do a complete revamp of the apartment – changing the colour scheme, a few finishes, and adding furniture and accessories that would make the place look new and up-to-date.

He was intrigued and we agreed to go ahead.

I started with the colour scheme; there were some elements (window frames, entrance door) that were green and looked horrible in the original setting. The armchairs were also green, and we decided to keep them. I chose a range of greys for the walls and a series of accessories that enhanced the original green elements, making them look new and beautiful again.

2018, Standing Renovation, Brussels

Green can be a cold colour (and this shade definitely was, being rather bluish), so I added some yellow elements to create a touch of warmth.

I kept the wooden bookcase, and a dark grey sofa bed and curtains were added. You can see from the before & after pictures that the space looks more balanced by adding these darker touches.

The pink curtains were also thrown away – to my great pleasure – and replaced with white roller blinds.

The kitchen was kept as it was (we only replaced the worktop, the tap, and the appliances) but you can see how changing the wall colour can make everything look so different. The cabinets now stand out and the white seems whiter. They look cleaner and newer simply because of the contrast!

The entrance was tricky; dark, with an ugly tiled floor (which would stay) and curved walls.

We decided to paint the walls the same colour as the doors. In fact, the doors would not be touched, and I choose to “blend” them into the wall so that their colour (not particularly beautiful against a white wall) would become a feature.

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, a dark space becomes more interesting if painted a dark colour, so this is what we did. The new colour also made the floor tiles slightly less prominent.

In terms of furniture, I selected an open module that would fit the curved walls. On the other side, we took a regular chest of drawers but changed the top for a bigger one, to be cut following the curve of the wall. The white of these elements stands out against the dark walls.

The bedroom had a very imposing, but also practical, made-to-measure wardrobe that we decided to keep. To make it less dominant, we changed the colour scheme and floor covering. The old carpet was replaced with a dark wooden vinyl, and the walls painted a light grey. A new bed, roller blind, wall decorations, and lighting completed the room.

Once again, it’s interesting to note how the same element can look different just by changing the finishes around it.

All the lights were replaced with white ones, which are more functional, modern and clean.

The project was carried out in a few weeks, but we were able to dramatically change the look and feel of this apartment.

If you have a similar project, either for a property you rent out or for you own home, have a look at the Refresh Your Home Service and contact me at to book a complimentary first call.