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If you’re on a shoestring budget like most ordinary South Africans today, elaborate home renovations may be completely out of reach.

Without changing a single tile, carpet or curtain, use these ideas from AAA Paint to get the creative juices flowing for only a few hundred bucks (including paint, brush, roller, tray and tape).

But first, before you buy
The key to getting bang for your buck is to choose rich, deep or vibrant colours which will make a noticeable difference.

Select a hue that will go well with existing furniture and linen. Most leading paint manufacturers have palettes or collections of carefully selected colours that will not clash. Use them as a reliable guide.

Painted stripes, patterns and other motifs work better in sparsely furnished rooms while an abundance of furniture and other decorations call for solid colour. Paint for the sake of spicing up a bland room or making a vast or cold space look cozy. Be careful not to overdo an already busy space.

1. The living room

Create a focus wall by painting it in a more intense colour than the rest of the room. If you already have one, add a small accent in a complementing bright colour elsewhere in the room. Think fireplace, pillar, small cabinet or bookcase. (For this, those preselected palettes we mentioned will come in handy.)

Your focus wall should enhance a main feature in the room such as a photo gallery, painting or TV and not compete with it.

Light add-on: Anchor your accent wall with a scatter cushion or vase of the same colour elsewhere.

Money to spare: Use a trendy neutral such as mushroom or charcoal grey to update the entire room’s base colour before you do your focus wall.

2. The bedroom

Use paint as a focus feature behind your bed. If your room is bare, play with vertical stripes or geometric shapes in different colours from your selected palette. Start off by lining out vertical lines or an interesting triangular pattern with masking tape. Now alternate between colours within the masking-tape lines.

If you’re wary of a busy pattern, paint a rectangular “box” in a solid colour around the bed’s top end. The “box” should be nice and big and extend to the floor to prevent it from floating and looking awkward.

Light add-on: A throw or scatter cushion can repeat an element of your new painted feature.

Money to spare: Use a lighter shade of one of your motif colours to repaint your entire room. If your cupboards look dated, sand them down and paint them too.

3. The bathroom

Bathroom all white? Think one focus wall in a muted forest green or tranquil blue. Then hang a large mirror with dramatic white frame in its center. Voila!

You can also try your hand at a two-tone wall. Create a horizontal line at about window height (and use masking tape to preserve the edge of the unpainted section). Leave everything below the line white and paint everything above the line in a muted pastel.

Light add-on: A small potted palm tree makes a huge difference to a sterile-looking bathroom.

Money to spare: A two-tone bathroom looks great in two shades of the same base colour. Light grey at the top and dark grey at the bottom (with white basin, toilet and bath for contrast) make for a stunning, very trendy bathroom.

4. The children’s room

Time to play! Paint a focus wall in your child’s favourite colour and hang a giant painting of their own in the middle.

Motifs such as clouds and stars are super easy to paint onto the wall, too. Create your own stencil by cutting the shape from a large piece of cardboard. If the motif should be inverted (white on navy blue, for instance) cover the white wall with cardboard stars before painting it.

Black chalkboard paint provides another instant lift to a kiddies’ room, just don’t make it too small and let it float in an awkward position on the wall. It needs to be big, bold and fill a naturally created section of wall.

Light add-on: A small play rug is the ideal way to repeat an anchor wall colour.

Money to spare: Use coloured chalk paint to create funky furniture for your kids. A red toy box or even a multicoloured chest of drawers will look fantastic against the right background.

5. The kitchen

If your kitchen cabinets are white, you’re in luck. Darker colour wall paints for kitchens are trendy, so you may want to paint the walls grey and leave all the cabinets white and the rest of your appliances unchanged.

If your cupboards are made from plain wood or are laminated in a random colour, it may need more work and money to give them a modern facelift. As two-tone kitchens are all the rage right now, paint the eye-level cabinets white and the floor-level cabinets navy blue or a rich grey. Be sure to get advice on the prep work before you start.

Any room
If you’re an old hand at walls and furniture in different colours and tones, a fresh look can be achieved by changing the colour scheme entirely. A bathroom wall can go from blue to green, for instance, or a lounge with neutral furniture can have its focus wall go from red to the mustard of the moment.

Any room

If you’re an old hand at walls and furniture in different colours and tones, a fresh look can be achieved by changing the colour scheme entirely. A bathroom wall can go from blue to green, for instance, or a lounge with neutral furniture can have its focus wall go from red to the mustard of the moment.

AAA top tip

Use technology to your advantage but value personal advice. Leading paint manufacturers and suppliers have digital tools for estimating paint quantities and helping you preview new colours on images of your own home. However, nothing beats personal advice from in-store consultants when it comes to the best product option for your specific surface, climate, functionality needs and budget.