Building & Renovating

10 Practical Tips from RL's Makeover Designers

Planning your makeover soon? Learn a thing or two from our esteemed designers


Before you embark on a makeover journey, make sure you are equipped with design and decorating tips. RL's amazing Real Makeover designers share these handy hints.

Selected photos from Real Living's Real Makeover features.

Read the original article ("Make Me Over") in the 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

Keep in mind these tips:

Purge and Store

Interior designer Grace Moslares (Ultimate Makeover, September 2009) insists that clutter should be removed. "You need to dispose," she advises. Keeping those important things and getting rid of other stuff that just take up space will make you realize the space you've been wasting all along. "Find a place for everything," adds designer Lisa Salvador (April 2010). Custom-made closets are efficient space savers, which can even be maximized if you install shelves, hooks, and other closet organizers inside them.

Recycle, Refurbish, Reuse

Designers Ann Dee and Doty Yap (July 2006) say that if you couldn't replace all the bulky furniture inside the room because of limited budget, you can give old things a new life instead. You can refurbish furniture pieces by simply giving them a new coat of paint, new slip-ons for couches and ottomans, and new knobs for doors and cabinets. 

Personal touches tickle the heart.

Interior designer Hannah Acab-Faustino (Ultimate Makeover September 2008, August 2010) appreciates it when homeowners take the initiative to help in personalizing their space. Hannah recalls doing a makeover in which the homeowner's daughter gave personal touches to the stairs and the living area. "Their active participation on the design process" will make it a "home where a lot of good memories and strong family ties will be made," she says. 

The paint does it.

Because the existing tiles (Ultimate Makeover , September 2009) didn't need replacing, Grace decided to paint the bathroom walls for it to look brand new. Ann, on the other hand, made a small bedroom look spacious just by painting the walls stripes. A fresh coat of paint does work wonders!

Simply beautiful.

"Get the most neutral looking chocolate brown or beige dining sets, they will blend with everything," says design consultant Gwyn Guanzon (Ultimate Makeover September 2007). In case you would want to repaint, no worries, your dining sets will just work well with any wall color. 

Make room for air.

Is a specific area of the house too hot? An exhaust fan is Grace's simple yet efficient solution for a hot bedroom For a stuffy kitchen with poor ventilation, interior designer Kat Villanueva just added a ceiling fan, which would takes up minimal space. 

Home is where the comfort is.

For your home to be a comfy haven, Grace suggests you choose a relaxing bed and add air conditioning (if you have the budget). Also, entertainment areas are usually family bonding areas so they should be welcoming and warm. To achieve this, Grace says a spacious couch, area rug, and pretty floor pillows will do the trick (Ultimate Makeover, September 2009).

Linen Magic

Grace incorporated funky beddings to give the bedroom a distinct look (Ultimate Makeover, September 2009). By changing the linens you can go from girly, classic, elegant, or whatever suits your mood!

Postcard Material

A confused space can easily be transformed into a more aesthetically pleasing area just by giving it a "focal point" says Kat. A lovely outdoor entertaining area with the "plantscape as backdrop for the furniture set-up" (April 2009) will give you a relaxing feel. In some cases, Kat says a "picture window can be used to frame the view of the ocean or mountains." 

Let there be light.

Bring in some light to a room by installing light fixtures. Designer Kristine Neri used industrial-looking droplights and track lights to liven up a cramped bedroom with no windows (June 2010). She says these kinds of lighting fixtures "are cheap but they look great."

Are you ready for your own home makeover? Get a chance to win a free home makeover from the Real Living team in partnership with Handyman, Boysen, JamesHardie, and Robinsons Department Store. Click here for the Ultimate Makeover 2015 complete mechanics.

Want to know more about the different makeovers mentioned in this article? Download the digital copy of the issue that you like! Log on to for more details.

For more makeover stories, click here.


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