A Studio Unit Makeover by a Real Living Reader

She successfully transformed a 22sqm unit into a Scandinavian-inspired space in one month with a P200,000 budget

Photography: courtesy of the Homeowner

It’s not surprising why many invest in a condo unit nowadays. While some turn it into a rental unit, there are those who spruce it up to be used as a home away home. For one of our readers, purchasing a unit served these two purposes. “It was a bare unit with beige walls, a small corner kitchen, one bathroom, and a light wood vinyl flooring. I plan to have the space for rent or use it for staycation purposes since I live in Sta. Rosa, Laguna,” she shares. With her interior design background and job as a furniture and product designer, renovating the unit on her own became easier. The owner made a list of changes she wants to work on and set a budget for the project. “I really love the Scandinavian theme and that’s what I would like to achieve. The unit needs to look spacious and must be able to accommodate at least three people,” she adds.

Knowing where to shop and what needs to be done to improve the space helped the owner keep within her budget. One of the drastic changes done to complete the transformation concerns the unit’s lighting. Given that renovating a condo has limitations, they are not allowed to add extra outlets and lighting. “In the living area, I added a dropped ceiling with cove lighting, then added a pendant lamp above the dining area. The connection comes from the center so the wiring was hidden by the dropped ceiling. To save on costs, just about one panel of gypsum board was used for the dropped ceiling,” the owner explains. After a month of hard work, the once dull unit became a bright and welcoming space that will surely entice possible renters.


Prior to renovation, the cooking area is tiny and cramped. With a kitchen as small as this, it’s hard to imagine how one can prep meals and accomplish tasks. To make it more functional, the owner opted to extend the countertop to create a bigger workspace.

Extra overhead cabinets were also built and installed as additional storage. To maximize the space, the small refrigerator was placed under the countertop. White beveled subway tiles were used as backsplash, complementing the white walls and cabinets in the space. Most of the construction materials were purchased at Wilcon Depot.

Dining Area

From a blank space, the owner was able to create a compact dining nook for two. To keep the space from being boring, she opted to paint one wall in teal blue. The said color brightens up the dining nook and makes it extra inviting. Completing the look are two large mirrors placed above the dining set to create an illusion of a bigger space. “My initial plan was to have a floor-to-ceiling built-in mirror but due to costs, I ended up buying two horizontal mirrors from Furniture Source,” she explains. The dining set was also purchased from Furniture Source.

Sleeping/Living Area

The living/sleeping area shares space, with a slim glass partition separating the compact living area from the kitchen. Since the owner plans to rent it out, she hopes to accommodate more people in the unit. The comfy sofa bed can function as an extra sleeping space when needed.

RL Tip: Purchase a similar piece at Dimensione.

Sleeping/Living Area

The owner chose to retain the original flooring since the light-colored vinyl tiles go well with the Scandinavian theme. In the sleeping area, the bed from Dimensione serves as the focal point. It’s kept inviting with sheets and pillows from SM Home and Robinsons Department Store.

Since white walls dominate the space, the owner injected pops of color into the final look through accessories and wall art. A picture ledge from Furniture Source was installed above the sofa bed to hold framed prints and wall art from Landmark and Robinsons Department Store. Beside the bed is a C-table that can function as a side table and as a work table.

Sleeping/Living Area

To make use of the space at the foot of the bed, the owner carved out a space for a wardrobe cabinet and a a TV side cabinet. Additional compartments for belongings were also installed to avoid clutter and keep the home organized. “I originally planned to have customized or modular cabinets on one wall but due to costs, I ended up buying assembled cabinets. A metal cabinet with lock can be seen along the hallway for additional storage as well,” the owner shares.

For this makeover, the owner got the wardrobe cabinet, overhead sliding cabinet, and metal storage cabinet from Furniture Source Philippines.

Do you also have your own makeover story? Share it with us and we might feature you next! Send photos for review on Real Living's Facebook page.

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