7 Style Tricks from This Year’s Ultimate Makeover

Here are easy ways to transform your space into a dream home

Photography: Michael Angelo Chua Pictorial Direction: Tala Singson and Paula de Guzman

Sometimes, you don’t need to break the bank to create a beautiful space. Learn from these styling tricks employed by interior designer Van Acuña Solaña when she redesigned this year’s Ultimate Makeover winner. And if you didn’t make it this year, don’t fret—there’s always next year!

1. Play with prints.

Prints are an easy way to update any space. If you’re not afraid to commit to statement-making prints, go for visually arresting wallpaper like this one from Studio 11. If you’re still hesitant about it, incorporate graphics in small doses like in pillows or area rugs. Prints vary in design—florals, geometrics, photographic images, patterns, etc.—so there’s bound to be a style that will work with your taste and your existing space.

2. Go for texture.

If you’re really wary of prints, add interest to a neutral space or vignette by way of textures. Take, for instance, this three-seater sofa from Blims, which sports a quilted design. Knitted pillow covers or those with appliques are also a good addition to a plain couch.

3. Create interesting walls.

Jazz up a plain wall with a series of wall art that are readily available at department stores. For a more personal statement, hang photos of your family in uniform frames (or pick random frames for added quirk). Here, the sepia photos blend well with the narra wall.

4. Keep it light.

Ample lighting is always important in any home. If there is not enough natural light, make sure you have enough general lighting to illuminate the area. Also, veer away from dark walls especially if you have a small space. In the case of this home, Van had the walls refinished in a lighter stain (from Boysen) and had geometric grooves etched to update the space.

5. Define spaces.

Properly defined spaces make for an efficient home, no matter how big or small your place is. You don’t need to have walls or dividers to separate each area; just make sure to group furniture pieces accordingly, as seen in the way this Blims sofa separates the living area from the rest of the room. If you have enough space, don’t cramp the dining set beside the living area. Well-defined spaces are not only visually pleasing; they also ensure there’s enough room for foot traffic.

6. Invest in quality fixtures.

While cheap fittings and fixtures may seem like a good alternative, they will only cost you more money in the long run. Think leaking faucets or tarnished showerheads—you’ll end up replacing them sooner than expected. Go for fixtures that are of good quality (these ones are from American Standard), and make sure you get those that fit the style of your space.

7. Don't forget storage.

Ample storage helps keep your home tidy. Have built-in storage units custom-built to maximize space. If you want stand-alone pieces, opt for those that can also double as extra seating pieces. (You can find a lot of options in Handyman.)

Don’t forget to declutter occasionally, as you don’t want your storage cabinets and bins spilling with knickknacks.

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Van Acuña Solaña at vanacuna[at]

 Read the original article ("To Lola, With Love") in the September 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

*Ed's note: Final cost does not include designer's fee.

How Much It Costs:

*Labor and assorted construction materials - P 50,000
Paints and other finishes - P 80,000
Sofa and side tables - P 57,994
Construction materials and electrical wirings - P 50,000
American Standard
Powder room fixtures and sanitary fittings - P 42,791
Studio 11
Wallpaper - P 26,685
Decoliving Manila
Area rug - P 23,415
Felport International Marketing
Tiles in powder room - P 22,000
Mattress - P 9,199
Chan C Bros.
Pin lights - P 7,125
Drop light - P 5,000
Accessories - P 5,000
Grand Total:

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