Tips and Guides

10 Budget-Friendly Condo Updates You Can Work On

You can improve your home without spending much

Photography: Vincent Coscolluela and Miguel Nacianceno (Main Photos)

One of the best things about having your own place is the freedom to personalize it and make it your own. However, once you've completed all the payments, it's normal to have a tight budget when it comes to decor and furniture. To help you turn your space into a bright and cheerful home, here are easy improvement ideas to keep in mind: 


1. Update your kitchen by installing a patterned backsplash. It doesn’t have to be an expensive slab of marble or a one-piece color coated glass—ceramic or porcelain tiles will do.

Consider using tiles in 20x20cm or 30x30cm sizes. These usually cost less than the bigger ones and are easier to install as well. As an alternative, you can repaint the area above your four-inch kitchen backsplash (usually connected to your countertop)—choose an accent color or pattern for this. Do note that opting for tiles is a better option as they are easier to clean and maintain.

2. Add interest to the space by updating small details like changing the existing hardware of your cabinet doors and drawers. You can also replace your kitchen faucet with a flexible gooseneck piece—this kind is easier to use and looks better too. Those looking for a quick and easy upgrade can display framed prints and artwork depicting food, drinks, and the like.

RL Tip: For a similar faucet, drop by Wilcon I.T. Hub, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.

Living and Dining Areas

3. An accent wall in the living or dining area can make a huge difference in your unit. Accent walls can break the monotony in shared or connected areas. In this unit, the stripes on the wall helped separate the living area from the bedroom.

Repaint the whole wall in your chosen color or have it finished in wallpaper in your preferred texture or pattern. You can also liven up a wall with a series of framed artworks or mirrors.

4. Install a drop light for either area to accentuate the space. You can choose a fixture that houses more bulbs for better illumination as condos usually come with one lighting point per area only.

5. Dress your windows with full height curtains in thick and sheer variants. Having both kinds is advisable for flexible use during day and night.


6. Install a built-in wardrobe—this way you can specify what kind of storage you'll be needing—shelves, hanging storage, and drawers, to name a few. While you’re at that, add a full-length mirror in this area. For existing cabinets, you can also add additional shelving inside.

7. Make your headboard wall the focal point of the bedroom by changing the existing finish. Again, you can use paint or wallpaper for this. You can take inspiration from the photo above. The stylist used louvered doors to decorate the wall above the bed.

RL Tip: Looking for more options? You can also feature some artworks above your bed. An accent or surface mounted light can also be used to replace the existing receptacle.

8. Choose blackout curtains for the bedroom or line your chosen curtains with blackout fabric. Spruce up your bed and top it with a bunch of throw pillows.


9. Build a sink counter and cabinet around your existing bathroom sink which probably has exposed plumbing. This will help hide pipes and serve as storage and additional counter space as well. It is advisable to use a one-piece countertop so choose 60x90cm or 60x120cm tile sizes for this. Remember, less tile intersections mean easier maintenance.

You can also add a couple of hanging shelves to store bathroom necessities. Make sure to use a ¾” marine plywood for your new bathroom furniture as they are exposed to moisture and would most likely get wet.

10. Put up some wall art and choose a decorative mirror. These pieces add visual interest and make the space even more inviting.

PHOTOS (in order): Vincent Coscolluela (Beach-themed unit) | Paolo Feliciano (Faucet and living area) | Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions | Miguel Nacianceno | Apartment Therapy | Marc Jao | Michael Angelo Chua.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

More on

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Expert Advice: 6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Condo on a Budget

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