5 budget home improvement ideas

Reality TV might set the bar ridiculously high, but you don't have to go all in on the home improvement as though you're on The Block. Investing a bit of time and money wisely can make all the difference to converting your house or apartment into a space that genuinely feels like home.

Smaller projects you can finish one at a time – and on a budget – are better for many of us than massive projects that seem like they'll never end. They also come with more manageable price tags and are much easier to keep up to date with the coming years of changing trends.

Interior design trends: the minimalist look

In the age of Marie Kondo, everyone is on board with minimalist living, or at least the appearance of it. Geometric patterns and shapes create interest and sleek lines without the clutter. Wire furniture is the perfect example – thin lines and the ability to see through the wire creates openness and visual spaciousness. Other tricks like painting walls three-quarters of the way up, give the illusion of high ceilings and can create an instant contrast to your rooms.

Instant home improvement with texture

There's a boom in high-rise apartments in Australia, serving up all the essentials of modern living in the heart of the city. But with Airbnb taking off, everyone's looking for something with a bit of personality, something many of these places can lack. You can offset the uber-modern by upping the textures throughout your space. A small loan could be enough to help you expose brick walls or floorboards and will instantly unearth character in a space. If that's out of the question, invest in that shagpile or cowhide rug; limestone or marble-look surfaces; and ceramic, teak or heavily woven homewares. Working together, these elements will make your home feel rustic but clean.

A budget-friendly home lighting option: the sun

There's no better light than the sun. It's that simple. Natural light has an unbelievable effect on a space and, if you spend a lot of time at home, your mood as well. Adding in new windows is often out of the question, but a skylight is a much easier introduction. Usually, it's a matter of finding space between the rafters; a small skylight can squeeze between three and you can either leave the middle rafter or carefully have that part removed.

Interior designer’s secrets: pastels and metallics

If it's not possible to introduce light in the physical sense, a colour revamp inside can be just as good at opening up and brightening a room. Nobody could miss the pastels trend being championed by interior designers the world over, and it's a bandwagon worth jumping on. Make sure you choose rich tones and luscious fabrics (think Belgian linen) and have them pop with the addition of metallics like copper taps or brass light fittings.

Tips for small spaces: think outside the box

No matter how big or small your space, every outdoor area can be an oasis. If it's a terrace, a few metres of turf can rezone the space into a grassy nook, meaning you no longer have to venture to the local park to do your serious relaxing. Decking, on the other hand, will give the effect of being poolside without having to dig a huge hole and fill it with water. Or, if you lack space, installing a vertical garden will transform a boring brick wall into a lush botanical outlook.