Do you like mosquito-breeding jars of (in a week) dead flowers? Do you like being dragged out to a Mother’s Day lunch, where you’ll sit with a dozen other families with 2.5 screaming toddlers per table, while eating the restaurant stock clearance known as a “buffet”? Well here’s what we think: mum says she likes it because to say otherwise would make her look like a massive jerk. This year, try giving her something she might really want instead – a house that doesn’t look like it’s from a news report on Syrian air strikes. Consider the following home improvements:
A note on cost
99.co is not an interior design magazine. This means we understand concepts like “cost”, “affordability”, and “court-mandated bankruptcy”. So rather than show you a $12 million home improvement scheme, we’ve kept to what could potentially be under $5,000.
Unfortunately, every home is different, and prices can be unpredictable – so be sure to shop around a bit, because one design firm might charge you twice the price of another.
A walk-in wardrobe
These days, it’s trendy to put a walk-in wardrobe in an HDB flat (which amazes foreigners, who would probably think any flat is already a walk-in wardrobe if you put 10 shirts in it).
But you can get this done for increasingly cheap these days, with some firms charging as little as $700 to $1,200 (the ultimate price depends on size, and the types of material chosen).
Walk-ins don’t just let mum store her clothes – they can be custom designed to fit handbag and purse collections, or include jewellery trays to make any burglar’s visit a convenient one*.
As an aside, a walk-in wardrobe is a dramatic upgrade that could help your home value, if you ever want to rent or resell.
*Seriously, don’t let mum keep too much jewellery at home. If you look at your home content insurance, we’re willing to bet the maximum pay-out is capped at $2,500.
Repaint mum’s place
Maybe you’re still living with mum, maybe you’re not. Either way, it’s time to make up for when you were 16 years old, thought black would be a cool wall colour, and wore a Good Charlotte t-shirt in public without feeling deeply ashamed.
Or maybe mum’s place is just getting a bit old, and the paint job has gone from “sunrise orange” to “puke yellow” over 10 or 20 years.
Mother’s Day is a great time to do something about it. Cost wise, repainting a whole HDB flat (three colours) will probably come to between $1,000 and $1,500. For condos, it’s probably about $500 more.
You can get that from a qualified contractor or a paint company (they’ll send a professional team over). Alternatively, you can pay non-professionals $200, or try to do it yourself…and then pay the professionals $1,000 to $1,500 to cover up the mess.
Fix mum’s old flooring
Did you know kitchen and bathroom floors should be replaced every 20 years, for hygiene purposes? We do, which is why we now stock the pantry and bathroom with penicillin (this is a hint to our landlord).
But seriously, not only does old flooring nurture all sorts of bacteria, it also looks gross and wrecks the property value. You really can find mushrooms sprouting in corners when you have old wooden flooring, and they will start to climb up doorframes as well.
This Mother’s Day, give mum a floor she can be proud off. Rip up the old one, and install some fresh tiles or vinyl or whatever material she wants.
Labour costs are about $5 to $7 per square foot, and vinyl is about $7 per square foot. Something fancier, like parquet, can be about double that cost; the same goes for tiles.
Install a feature wall that mum likes
A feature wall adds a lot of class and visual impact, such as the designer colour collage on our office walls, that’s totally not an accident from a 2015 Christmas party.
This year, you can give mum a living room she’s proud of (or dining room, if that’s where you want it). Want the house to feel rustic? Put up some fake wood beams and brick cladding on the wall. Want it to be practical? Have a feature wall that also contains storage space. Want a French cottage theme? Put up a wall with themed French movie posters, and then wear a beret and expect to be taken seriously.
Most feature walls cost around $30 per square foot, or about 20 per cent more if you use expensive material like fancy tiles or stone.
Repurpose your old room for mum if you’re moving out (or already have)
If you’ve moved out, or will soon, then consider repurposing your old room to give mum more space.
Your old bedroom can be converted to a study or library, or entertainment space. It might mean room for a walk-in wardrobe (see point 1). Don’t just leave with a “thanks for all the rent-free living this past 20 years” – leave a little something behind.
Alternatively, if mum intends to rent out the space when you’re gone, you might want to take up the cost of renovating it. Even a simple paint job can make the room much easier to rent, as can throwing in some nicer furniture.
For other non-conventional ways to celebrate Mother’s Day without jostling with the crowds, check out our other Mother’s Day special here!