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Apartment makeover using paint and vinyl flooring

Making a Splash
Making a Splash

Attention to detail paid dividends in this refresh of an investment unit with spray-painted cabinets and vinyl flooring laid over old tiles.





The project


An investment unit I own was in desperate need of a refresh but I had to work quickly so that the unit wasn't vacant for too long.


I decided to try the Dulux Renovation Range because of the Dulux reputation and the multiple online resources available. I followed the instructions and equipment list to the letter and couldn’t be happier with the results.


While I am one of those odd people who actually enjoy painting, I made great use of the Dulux videos, as well as those on the Bunnings website.


As you can see, the kitchen, bathroom and living area were all stuck in the '80s.


Old Kitchen.jpg


Old Bathroom.jpg


Living Area.jpg


Tools and materials


All tools and materials were purchased from Bunnings (except for husband’s compressor and spray guns) and include:


  • Dulux Renovation Range primer
  • Dulux Renovation Range Milton Moon for all benchtops
  • Dulux Renovation Range Clear Coat Satin for all benchtops
  • Dulux Renovation Range Satin White for all cabinets
  • Dulux Renovation Range Clear Coat Gloss for all cabinets
  • Taskmaster 96mm half-round matte black handles for all cabinets
  • British Paints flat white ceiling paint
  • Dulux Lexicon Half White for walls
  • ARDEX black grout
  • Gerflor Senso Ceruse Blanc vinyl floor planks
  • Dunlop Ardit Feather Finish Smooth Floor Compound 
  • The usual drop sheets, mini-rollers and trays, Frog tape, trowel, sandpaper, brushes, Selley’s sugar soap, silicone, respirator masks, safety glasses, Stanley knife and blades, set square, spirit level, measuring tape, etc.


Colour pallette.jpg


My top tips


1. Plan, plan, plan!  Write a list of all jobs and then sequence them, allowing for drying intervals and clean-up time.


Then compose a list of all resources needed. If you’re doing multiple rooms separate these into different lists but then cross-reference to prevent double-purchasing and wastage and check what you already own.


2. Realise that despite your best planning you’ll underestimate both resources and time. Plan for emergency trips to Bunnings … at 8.30pm!


3. Clean as you go. If you have a messy work area it will take more time and effort to clean. If you’re not a naturally organised and tidy person force yourself to tidy and clean every couple of hours. Set a timer on your phone!  


4. Don’t open every packet, tin and box at once. I did return a couple of unused and unopened items to Bunnings. I made sure that I had a clean storage area (the unit’s large linen closet) so all tools and material were kept off the floor, out of the way, clean and tidy and easy to find when needed.


5. Watch lots of instructional videos! The Bunnings website is invaluable for videos and, of course, the Bunnings Workshop site is incredible. I’d painted many times but hadn’t done benchtops, I hadn’t tiled and I certainly hadn’t laid vinyl flooring. Because I spent time watching people demonstrate these skills in videos, I had the confidence to do it myself.


6. Don’t measure twice – measure five times! Then get at least one other person to check your measurements and talk through your vision. Talk to the wonderful Bunnings staff and listen to their invaluable advice.


7. With the Dulux Renovation Range, make sure you follow the instructions for mixing, painting and drying times. Don’t try to take shortcuts. Make the very last thing you do the two top coats of clear coat and leave it for a week. A year on, even with tenants (two young students in their first adventure out of home), the kitchen, bathroom and floors still looked great. Why? Because I followed the instructions!


8. For the Gerflor vinyl planks, again, follow the instructions. Realise that filling the grout gaps between tiles to achieve a smooth subfloor takes hours.  It’s back-breaking work and really hard on one’s knees. But if you want your floors to look good and remain smooth, it must be done. Allow three times as long as you think it’ll take.




Use the Dunlop compound to fill the grout gaps between tiles


Levelling kitchen.jpg


9. Laying the Gerflor vinyl planks is relatively easy; the tricky thing is the measuring of the fiddly bits for cuts around corners, etc. Factor these into your estimate … and then double it! I laid the entire floor (kitchen, living/dining and hallway) in one night but I saw the sun rise and didn’t finish until 10am.


Senso planks.jpg


10. When laying the vinyl planks, replace your Stanley knife blade at reasonable intervals. You’ll need a few.


Hallway 1.JPG 


Hallway 2.JPG


Living area 2.JPG


Living area After.jpg


11. Spray your cabinets, if possible, as it gives a very professional finish. We used the idea recommended in the Dulux videos of resting the doors on blocks with screws in them. My husband did the primer first on both sides of the doors; then he followed with two coats of the top coat on the back of the doors first, let them dry for a day or so, then flipped them for two top coats and two coats of clear gloss to seal them. Again, let these dry for as long as possible before you reattach the hinges.


Kitchen left.JPG


Kitchen right.JPG


12. Mark the doors correctly. We wrote in each of the hinge holes, then covered that with painter's tape so it wasn’t sprayed with paint. We also wrote the corresponding numbers on tape and placed those in each cabinet and drawer. I also did a little map of each numbered door and drawer. This prevents wasting time on working which door goes where – the more time you muck around with each door increases the likelihood of damaging the paint before it’s cured completely.


13. Clean the splashback tile grout really well as you go.


14. Tape benches and tiles when applying silicone between tiles and benchtops, especially if it’s black and you want a razor-sharp edge. I learned this the hard way and I fancy myself to have a pretty steady hand. Black grout or silicone is unforgiving if you want a perfectly straight edge. Use Frog tape! 





15. Buy yourself a tool belt. Bunnings sells some great ones and then you’ll always have a pencil, measuring tape and Stanley knife, etc on you. It saves time, effort and always asking "Where’s my _____?"


Before and after


Old Kitchen.jpg 




Old Bathroom.jpg


Bathroom AFTER.JPG


Living Area.jpg


Living area After.jpg


Bonus extra tip: Back yourself. You can do it! Have a go and be proud of the results. I'd never tiled before but I was able to change an outdated soap dish to a contemporary shower shelf.


Here is the 1980s soap dish...


Shower dish.jpg   


... and here is the modern shower shelf!



2021 shower shelf.jpg


How to paint like a professional




Experienced Bunnings Workshop contributor Rob (Peggers) has put together a great step-by-step guide to getting professional results with your painting projects.


Resident D.I.Y. expert EricL has also put together this handy guide: How to choose the right paint for the job.


More makeover inspiration for your home


There are also plenty of great ideas in our collections of Bathroom vanity makeovers and Bathroom makeovers using paint.




Let us know if you need a hand with your project – we're here to help.


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