Things to Consider Before Your Apartment Renovation

My friend wants to buy an apartment (or you can call it a unit, or a condo, depending on where you live). 

She asked me about the renovation process, what she should be on the lookout for, and what she could achieve with her budget.

After our chat, it hit me that the tips I gave her could actually be helpful to other people looking to renovate an apartment. 

So, I thought, why not share these tips with everyone? Hope it comes in handy for you too!

Know The Rules

When it comes to renovating an apartment, you need to take into account the Body Corporate. They have their own set of rules and regulations that you’ll have to abide by. Plus, you need to be aware of the laws in your area regarding apartment renovations. These rules cover things like what you can and can’t do, working hours for trades, protection of common spaces, approved materials, and more.

Basically, the By-Laws exist to set the rules for everyone in the apartment complex. They’re all about maintaining privacy, safety, and the well-being of all residents. And don’t forget, each state and country might have its own laws and regulations, so make sure you look up the specifics for your area.

Once you’re familiar with the rules, prepare your design and scope of work and submit it to the Body Corporate for approval.

Cosmetic Changes

Major renovations like knocking down walls will require formal approvals. However, cosmetic changes can often be made to your apartment without going through the process.

Before jumping into a full renovation, consider whether you can achieve what you want with some inexpensive updates. There are a few quick fixes that can completely transform your apartment without breaking the bank.

A fresh coat of paint, a thorough cleaning (especially those windows!), replacing knobs on kitchen cabinets or wardrobe doors, and updating your carpet can make a huge difference in how your apartment looks and feels.

If you have a small apartment, painting it all in the same color can create a bright and airy atmosphere. I usually recommend a bright white shade, which works well with various architectural styles.

Don’t underestimate the impact of updating your furniture, styling, and accessories. If you’re not confident in doing it yourself, consider seeking input from an interior designer.

Kitchen Renovations

Renovating your kitchen can be quite costly. One budget-friendly option is replacing small things —the drawer fronts, benchtop, sink, mixer, appliances, and splashback… This type of cosmetic upgrade can make your kitchen feel brand new without breaking the bank. 

If you plan to stay for more than 5 years, a full renovation is usually recommended so you can get a customized kitchen. Consult a local real estate agent for targeted advice specific to your space.

To control costs, don’t move the services, such as water and gas. Also, you’ll need to get creative with the design to work around bulky items, like an electricity fuse box, while still achieving your desired layout.

Renovating A Bathroom

Bathroom renovations could cost you at least $20,000. To save space in small bathrooms, you could consider removing the bathtub and using glass panels for a more open and spacious feel.

And make sure you hire experienced specialists to avoid any leaks caused by poor waterproofing!


Generally, individual owners are not allowed to change or paint their windows. This rule is typically followed in all the projects I’ve been involved in. However, you can cover them up from the inside with plantation shutters without altering the building’s exterior appearance.

If the building is not in great condition, it’s best to check if the body corporate has sufficient funds for repairs. Trust me, you won’t like to pay for it by yourself.


Now let’s talk about the lighting. Many apartments have concrete ceilings or have no space for recessed lights, which means you have fewer options for replacing them.

But the surface-mounted spotlights can still provide a nice lighting solution. If you have high ceilings, installing a false ceiling can create a cavity for recessed LEDs or pendant lights. 

Keep in mind that the downside of this approach is that you will lose some head height. Additionally, there are regulations specifying minimum heights for habitable rooms, so it’s important to check those as well.


When planning a renovation in your apartment, you also need to consider how the noises, inconvenience, and safety concerns might impact your neighbors’ daily lives.

To maintain a good relationship with your neighbors, you can have a discussion with the neighbors about your renovation project.

Walk them through your plans, explain the design, and address any questions or concerns they may have. Assure them that you will strive to minimize noise whenever possible and communicate with your tradespeople to ensure cleanliness and tidiness in the common areas.

Seek Expert Input

When starting major renovations in your apartment, it’s important to seek expert input from professionals like interior designers, structural engineers, plumbers, or electricians, depending on your specific plans. They have the necessary knowledge and qualifications to work on your specific type of building.

Before diving into the renovations, create a plan outlining what you want to achieve and your budget. Then, consult with these experts to determine if your ideas are feasible and realistic within your budget.

Even if you have some renovation experience, a designer can offer fresh insights and ideas that you may not have considered. They can help you make the most of your space and ensure it suits your needs.

By seeking expert input and working with professionals, you can ensure that your renovation project is well-planned, achievable, and completed to a high standard. This will save you time, money, and potential difficulties in the long run.