Giving your old home a new look

Giving your old home a new look


Are you tired of coming home to the same look and atmosphere every day? Aruna Chandaraju describes different makeover ventures and how they have benefitted the home owners. 

Education-consultant Anjali K S has been living in her husband’s 60-year-old ancestral home in Bangalore since they married 22 years ago. For years, she envied her sister-in-law – her elder brother was an IAS officer because of which, this couple got to live in five different bungalows in the same time period. Anjali herself felt a sense of ennui. She and her husband were tired of coming home to the same house with the same interiors every day. Finally, last year she confided in her mother-in-law and after much persuasion got her to agree to a makeover.

They called in an architect who suggested major changes in the areas which had experienced the most wear and tear over the years. “The rest of the changes were based on our family members’ requests. Thirteen months later, we had an exciting new home with a striking façade, different doors, a lovely, new landscaped garden and a more user-friendly kitchen. I even gave away the old sofas to an old-age home I volunteer at and also did away with the old carpets. In its place, I bought some new furniture and floor lamps,” adds Anjali.

While the whole thing cost quite a pretty sum, Anjali and her family had the satisfaction of what looked and felt like a new home without having to move. Whether the makeover is expensive and done with the help of professionals or by the do-it-yourself method, it is possible to give your house a new look when the old appearance gets monotonous, goes out of fashion or simply no longer fits the requirements of the family. To get started, you only need ask your friends or a professional for advice and find either a simple low-cost solution or go for a radical expensive scheme. It all depends on your budget, the degree of change you desire and the time you want to spend on this project.

Touch of novelty

Sridevi Putrevu, an assistant professor in an engineering college, has been living in the same house for nearly two decades now: For a touch of novelty, she changed the sofa upholstery twice.

She also kept changing floral arrangements. “Then I decided on a more radical change. I moved one bedroom upstairs (we have a two-floor home) and converted this space into a home-theatre. This I did by removing the beds and cupboards, repainting the walls, changing the curtains, getting new engineered-wood flooring, mounting the theatre-equipment on the wall, and then placing low-level sofas for comfortable viewing.”

So, in effect, she had two new rooms. Mumbai-based Reetika Singh has been living with her husband and two sons in a sprawling three-bedroom flat – a luxury in this city for 21 years. However she does not have the luxury of making any radical changes. It is an apartment after all, and one governed by strict building-society laws regarding alterations at that. So, she has found a way out. “Our house was brand-new when we first moved in. We reinvent it every third year. I don’t spend much money or effort but manage a fairly new look. I reposition the furniture and replace the low-cost items; change the sofa upholstery and curtains for new ones in dramatically different colours and patterns; replace the decor items in wall niches partly by buying new ones and for the rest by bringing in objects from other rooms; and finally, make it a point to change the entire lighting and wall-art.”

Madhavi Choudary, a Hyderabad-based homemaker, was happy with the location of her home – in a posh area – and its proximity to everything her family needed. She has been living there for two-and-a-half decades. “We were, however, loth to change anything as this home was lovingly and patiently created by my parents. So instead we got new woodwork done a few years ago which has not only given a partially new-look to the house but also has plenty of utilitarian value.”

For many the nostalgia factor counts when making a decision on redoing their old home. It is important to be sensitive when considering change. Jaipur-based architects Shalini and Amit Gehlot say that in redoing old property, one should always check with the client and their elders, about which aspects have sentimental value and what the person would not like to have altered as far as possible.


As Kolkata-based architect G Chatterjee explains, there are indeed many old homes where the children, though unhappy with certain features, do not attempt to alter things since their parents have loving and painstakingly built the house overseeing every aspect and so they don’t want to hurt the parents’ sentiments.

In some cases, parents go along when they are shown valid reasons. Chennai-based octogenarian G S Nambiar and his wife stoutly resisted all requests by their elder sons who lived with him (in a joint family) to give their 55-year-old bungalow a makeover.
However, when the youngest son, who studied interior design in USA, returned and patiently explained how the house could be changed for the better with minimum intervention, they finally agreed. They are now happier with the remodelled kitchen and bathroom and the modern fittings, as well as the redesigned living room which now accommodates a home-theatre as well as the new-look garden accessorised with terracotta art and small water bodies.

But then all change need not be good and in some cases, there is sense in keeping the old untouched, to a large extent at least. Adds Chatterjee, “I have seen beautiful heritage homes and others nearly half-century-old, which have been ruined in both their exotic look and user-friendliness, by some thoughtless, unimaginative remodelling.”

So, there is much to be said for both sides. Change if you want but only for the better, advise experts.

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