How to renovate an apartment without a designer and foreman

Recommendation points

The first renovation, like the first love – you will never forget. Let’s make these memories enjoyable! You are middle class, and you are the one who has every opportunity to do it..

Apartment design

How do rich people make repairs? They hire the designer who is considered the most fashionable this month, and hire the firm that is considered the most advanced, progressive and again fashionable. They pose a problem, something like “I want to renovate in a classic style.” Or “I want renovation so that our old sofa would fit into it.” Or even simpler – “I want Vaska (Lyudka, Seryoga, Anka – underline the necessary) to burst with envy!” And they leave for the period of renovation to their country house near Paris.

How do not rich people make repairs? They choose wallpaper “in a flower”, move to the next room (or to the kitchen, if the apartment is one-room) and begin to do everything with their own hands.

Do you consider yourself neither one nor the other? Is it possible to move to your house in the Moscow region during the renovation? And you are not going to do anything with your own hands, since you earn enough? Everything is clear, you are the middle class! And that’s great, because these articles are for you.

How to do without a designer or how it all starts

Of course, from the fact that you finally decided to start renovating your apartment. But determination alone is not enough, it would be good to know where to start and in what sequence to do everything so that you don’t have to regret something or, God forbid, redo it..

So let’s start!

If you have the opportunity to hire a good designer, hire. He will make planning decisions for you, select a color scheme, and help decorate the premises. There is only one thing … The designer has to be really good. Otherwise, you will waste your money and get an apartment, which will be uncomfortable to live in. And this is much worse than spending money wrong..

How to determine if a good designer is or not

The easiest way is to look at past work. If you are satisfied with what you see – formalize the relationship. And if you are satisfied with the price tag … Unfortunately, the services of a good designer are comparable in price to the cost of the repair itself. Alternatively, you can hire a good budding designer. But there is a danger of hiring not a good beginner, but an inexperienced designer. You decide.

And what if the services of a designer are not initially planned, since there is not enough money for a good one, and other options are not even considered? Become a designer, of course! You have one undeniable advantage over a professional designer – you know exactly what you like and what you don’t, and you don’t have to explain to anyone why.

And do not be scared when imagining some incredible projects that you have seen in magazines before. Firstly, gorgeous 3D models are the final result of the designer’s work, it’s easier to say, you can easily do without them. Secondly, magazines, as a rule, get the most expressive, striking projects. Do you want to live inside this?

So let’s put our doubts aside and start.

The first and most important step is to make a plan

The renovation plan, oddly enough, will start with an ordinary apartment plan. Where can I get it? The easiest way is to open the Technical Data Sheet and copy from there. Take the basic dimensions there. You can simply copy from the data sheet, increasing it by two or three times. For example, I drew a floor plan of an apartment using Photoshop. You can use this or any other program – graphic editor.

I advise you to arm yourself with a tape measure (it is better to take it with a wide rigid tape of 5m or more) and re-measure all the walls, checking with the data from the data sheet. Otherwise, unpleasant surprises are possible, which will manifest themselves in the process of repair or arrangement of furniture..

In fig. 1 photo of the plan from the Technical Passport, in Fig. 2 – plan drawn by me.

DIY apartment renovation
Fig. 1. Apartment plan from the technical passport.

Apartment plan
Fig. 2. Drawn apartment plan.

Make some copies of the plan, you will need them.

Buy a few apartment design magazines. Look through, bookmark those pages that caught your attention. Not necessarily completely ready-made solutions, these can only be individual elements. And do not hesitate to use other people’s ideas – they are published for that..

Now is the time for a family council.

There are several questions you must solve:

  • What style will your apartment be decorated in after renovation??
  • What furniture, household appliances and interior items will remain in the renovated apartment? Take this issue very seriously. If the apartment is planned, for example, in the techno style, it is better to take the old sagging armchair to the country house, no matter how convenient it is to watch TV in it.
  • What kind of furniture, household appliances and interior items you need to buy?

Do not hurry. It is better to postpone repairs a little than to change something when you have already started it.

Measure the furniture with a tape measure. Arrange the furniture on the plan by cutting out the corresponding paper figures. If you use graphic editors, just draw and arrange on the plan.

Try to rearrange the furniture, it’s better to do this now than later, and moving the mouse across the screen is still easier than moving the refrigerator to another corner.

At the same stage, you need to come up with everything that will be new in your apartment. Built-in wardrobe? A workplace where you can work at the computer without disturbing anyone? Or a shower instead of a bath?

Think and create! This is the most interesting thing in apartment renovation, enjoy the creative process to the end. Involve your family members as much as possible. After all, they want to contribute their share, in addition, they will also stay with you after the renovation?

How we arranged our furniture is shown in fig. 3.

Arrangement of furniture
Fig. 3. Arrangement of furniture.
The figure shows the premises: A – corridor (entrance hall); B – kitchen; B – parents’ bedroom; G – boy’s room; D – girl’s room; E – common room; F – toilet; And – bathroom;
The picture shows the furniture: 1. bed; 2. table; 3. built-in wardrobe; 4. table for kettle and coffee maker; 5. built-in bookcase; 6. TV; 7. refrigerator; 8. kitchen set; 9. sofa; 10. armchair; 11. computer desk;

For a full-fledged design plan, only the floor image is missing. In our case, we have chosen the following coatings:

  • Kitchen and corridor – granite tiles;
  • Bathroom and toilet – ceramic tiles;
  • Rooms – laminated parquet;

We immediately decided that porcelain stoneware from the corridor would enter the rooms, which would visually expand the space due to the visual unification of the premises. From this idea was born the idea of ​​corner built-in wardrobes in the parents’ bedroom and the boy’s room. Due to the exit to the loggia, an ordinary wardrobe will be installed in the girl’s room.

The result is a ready-made plan with furniture placement and floor design. Please note that on the plan you can immediately see the “living space”, i.e. space not occupied by furniture.

Furniture placement and floor design
Fig. 4. Furniture placement and floor design.

We drew the floor using a graphic editor, you can do the same, or you can simply paint the floor with colored pencils or felt-tip pens.

The next step is to decide on the lighting for your home

The most important rule here is that it is better to let it be superfluous than not enough.

When renovating the apartment, which we are citing as an example, it was immediately decided that the lighting would be point, diffused. At the same time, you should think about the design of the ceilings. Built-in wardrobes helped us add speakers to the ceilings, we used the geometry of the wardrobes as guides:

Ceiling geometry and overhead lighting scheme
Fig. 5. Geometry of ceilings and overhead lighting scheme.

Suspended ceilings, plasterboard. All rooms have the level of the existing ceiling in the middle. This is to increase the height of the ceilings. This effect is enhanced by the reduced level of ceilings adjacent to walls; in addition, the effect is enhanced by the reduced level of ceilings in the corridor. We advise you to take this technique into service, especially in rooms with initially low ceilings. This problem exists in almost all panel houses of twenty or more years of construction..

Along the edge of the lowered part of the ceiling, for greater expressiveness, a “step” was provided:

Ceiling design

Fig. 6. “Step” of the ceiling.

In addition to the lamps indicated in the figure, lamps were additionally provided above the desks of children, above the computer table in the common room and above the bed (at the head) in the parents’ bedroom. In addition, four lighting fixtures will be installed in the decorative niches of the bookcase..

You should take into account such nuances as the maximum illumination of exactly those zones that are needed. In our example, it can be seen that we have shifted the lamps in the kitchen towards the dining table, since above the work table: a) part of the room will be “eaten” by the wall cabinets; b) independent lighting of the work table, stove and sink zones will be provided. The lighting in the common room was also shifted from the bookcase with the TV to the side of the sofa. With this decision, we achieved two goals at once – removed the light from the TV, which would make its “picture” as contrasting as possible, and “saturate” the area with light where the owners will, for example, read.

Your apartment will naturally have its own arrangement of furniture and functional areas, but the general principles remain the same for everyone – maximum light in the places where you spend the most time.

Having decided on the light, you can start planning the light switches and sockets.

Refer back to the furniture layout plan. Study it carefully and check if you have placed all the fixtures? Where will the sockets you need to clean the apartment? Will there be additional appliances in the rooms that consume energy? For example, after a while additional computers may appear in children’s rooms.?

Consider all the appliances in the kitchen and common room. As a rule, these are the main consumers of energy.

In our apartment, the wiring diagram looks like this:

Placement of electrical installation products
Fig. 7. Placement of electrical installation products.
In fig. 7 marked: B – switch; VP – checkpoint switch; Р – socket; DD – motion sensor; Sv – call.
Accordingly, the numbers indicate the number of devices.

We dwelled on the arrangement of electrical devices in such detail, because it largely determines the comfort of your apartment. Agree, an extension cord stretching across the whole room in a newly renovated apartment will look ridiculous.

Therefore, let us recall once again about the devices that will almost certainly be in your apartment;


  • refrigerator;
  • stove (modern gas stoves require an electrical connection; an independent connection must be provided for an electric stove);
  • oven (everything that is said for the stove is also true for ovens);
  • microwave;
  • Electric kettle;
  • coffee maker;
  • food processor;
  • Dishwasher;
  • washing machine (if it is not provided in the bathroom, then the connection must be provided there);
  • forced ventilation hood;

Common room:

  • TV;
  • home theater;
  • music Center;
  • computer;

In the toilet and bathroom, it is necessary to provide for the connection of fans.

Now you have a design plan for the arrangement of furniture, a schematic diagram of the placement of wiring accessories and an overhead lighting diagram with a design of ceilings.

Choice of materials and colors

You just have to choose the color of the walls and flooring, choose the tiles for the toilet and bathroom.

Nobody can advise you on a certain color, you need to choose it yourself. But the general principles are as follows:

Light pastel and “natural” colors visually enlarge the room, do not irritate the eyes and go well with almost any furniture and interior items.

The smooth texture of the walls visually enlarges the room, while the structured, “rough” texture reduces it. A room painted with paint will look more the same, covered with textured wallpaper. But the smoother and more uniform the surface, the greater the requirements for the walls for evenness..

Laminate parquet and porcelain stoneware will look more advantageous if they match, if not in color, then in tone.

It is better to choose the color of the doors as close as possible to the laminated parquet. A little advice: the more “expensive” your doors look, the more “expensive” the whole repair looks. This principle is widely used in the renovation of office premises – inexpensive finishing materials in combination with expensive doors. Doors “set off” everything else, drawing attention to themselves.

Wiring accessories have the opposite effect. No matter how you make repairs, no matter what expensive and high-quality materials you use, if cheap switches and sockets are installed, this will ruin the whole impression.

When choosing decorative elements, adhere to the principle of compatibility with other materials that will be used for interior decoration. In addition, decorative elements can be functional. In our apartment we have selected small-sized decorative tiles to match the porcelain stoneware on the floor. We decorated the corner between the corridor and the kitchen with such tiles, decorating the room and protecting the corner from damage and contamination of the walls, which are inevitable in the passage areas:

Decorating the corner in the corridor
Fig. 8. Decorating the corner in the corridor.

The repetition principle works well if you don’t get too carried away with it. In fig. 8 shows how the front door is decorated with the same tiles. In fig. 9. shows how we applied laminated flooring to decorate the TV area in the built-in bookcase:

TV area
Fig. 9. TV area.

The principle of combining materials with different textures – smooth and with a structured surface, shiny and matte – works very well. It also visually enlarges the room. Notice how well the gloss of the door and mirror cover matches the matte finish of the walls and decorative tiles in Fig. 8.

In fig. 10 shows a winning combination of bathroom door glass, glass bricks and wall and floor materials:

Corridor view from the front door
Fig. 10. View of the corridor from the front door.

As always, with any materials and decor, live plants look great. This is perhaps the only decorative element that cannot be found in abundance..

So we have finished the first part of our story. In the second part, we will tell you what you need to know about the production of basic construction repairs. How is this done in general and what you need to pay attention to.

Until the workers started to break everything: Be creative and invent!

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