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You Told Us Your Renovation Regrets – And We Have Answers

August 27, 2019
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How to ‘Control+ Z’ your mistakes, according to the pros.

Toa Payoh East (Block 263) by Charlotte's Carpentry
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Interior Firm: Charlotte's Carpentry

No renovation is perfect – but instead of returning home every day and thinking “ugh, this looks terrible,” why not get started on fixing what’s wrong?

To help you out, we asked interior designers from Charlotte’s Carpentry and Black N White Haus about the renovation regrets you shared through Instagram (@qanvast, check us out if you haven’t!) – and here is the advice that they have to offer:

1. White haze on granite sinks

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How to fix it: Granite surfaces often appear cloudy or hazy due to hard water stains.

To keep them from forming, wipe your sink (or countertop) regularly with a soft cloth and a non-acidic stain remover. You can also try out a homemade cleaning solution, such as white vinegar with water or a baking soda paste – apply the mixture to the stains and make sure to rinse off any residue.

A future-proof solution would be to install stainless steel basins, because they are stain-resistant and easier to maintain.

2. Built-ins without laminates

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How to fix it: Laminates are rarely installed within built-in fixtures because it is quite costly to outfit an entire cabinet or wardrobe (read: both inside and outside) with them.

Instead, PVC material is more commonly used as a surface for storage internals – and although it usually comes in white, there are coloured options and even woodgrain patterns available to choose from.

3. Undone areas due to time constraints

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How to fix it: Most renovations run on a fixed timeline, but it’s possible to shave some time off the process and still get a mostly complete home.

If you need to move in quickly, one of the things you can do is furnish your home with loose or easily installed pieces, such as pendant lamps or store-bought storage units, instead of having built-in units.

Certain works can also be completed at a later date. For example, balcony decking and grille installation can be done without disturbing much else, but be prepared to deal with some noise and dust.

4. C**p kitchen tiles

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How to fix it: Retiling is a solution that you may wish to consider, and there are two ways that you can go about it – the first would be to completely hack away the existing layer and replace it with a new one; while the second would be to overlay the current tiles with ones that you prefer.

In the event that you are dealing with poor quality tiles or workmanship – such as pieces that have popped up or get damaged easily – a complete replacement is recommended as it is unlikely the remaining pieces will serve as a good base for overlaying.

Explore: What your tile choice says about your taste in bubble tea!

5. Dark living areas

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How to fix it: You can’t make the sun ‘shine more’ into your house, but you can definitely find ways to maximise the amount of light that enters. For instance, choosing white or shades of cream for your wall and floor finishes will make the surroundings of your home feel brighter and less cramped.

6. An empty gap above the fridge

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How to fix it: Adding an extra cabinet above a fridge is an easy renovation task and you can consider installing one to fill up the gap. But do take note that there is a chance that your new fixture may stand out from the existing ones.

This is because of the difference in the degree of discolouration/ visible wear on the exterior, which will show even if the same laminate option or colour is used.

Alternatively, you can simply leave the gap empty, as it may help to accommodate any future plans for a larger fridge.

7. Wrong bathroom shelves

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How to fix it: If you find your existing shelves unsuitable, there are always other options that you can explore, such as stainless steel racks and even acrylic shelves that look like glass.

Another option to consider for the next time you are re-doing the bathroom are shelf niches, which can be built in at the same time when the tiles are being laid.

8. Worn out bathroom cabinets

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How to fix it: Moisture is a carpentry killer, but there are ways to deal with it. To minimise water seepage, be sure to wipe down the surfaces of your built-ins with a dry cloth whenever they get wet instead of leaving them to dry naturally. You can also consider installing a ventilator as it will help control your bathroom’s humidity.

Likewise, building in suspended cabinets that are less likely to come in contact with water and installing aluminium storage units (which do not corrode even in steamy conditions) are viable solutions too.

9. Insufficient shelving systems

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How to fix it: Shelving systems, like corner baskets and kitchen pull-outs are a great investment, but if you want a quick fix and aren’t keen on built-ins, some places that you can check out for affordable shelves are retail shops (like IKEA) or hardware stores where you will be able to find D.I.Y options which can be easily installed with just power tools.

For example, peg boards are an option to try if you are looking for a fun way to keep your home tidy. There are also AA tracks, which can be easily configured according to your height requirements.

Explore: 8 brilliant storage ideas so that you can collect more!

10. White kitchen tops

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How to fix it: Pure white surfaces are akin to a sheet of blank paper – if there is a line drawn on them, it is just going to stand out.

The best solution to this problem is to simply pick other options that match your home’s aesthetic; quartz or porcelain surfaces with marble prints are great choices because they don’t just look good but are also resistant to stains and heat.


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