The Living Room

Fully renovated with New Wiring, Fake Ceiling, Carpet, Radiator, Door And Windows.

NEW Lounge

The living room (lounge) is 3.4 Meters wide and 5.2 Meters long, making it 17.6 Square Meters.


The Carpet

This orange-tan carpet matches the orange walls of the lounge perfectly, I think.

NEW Lounge Carpet

Instead of having a dark brown or black carpet to contrast the orange-tan walls, we decided to go for this blend-in colour instead.


New Radiator

The new radiator in the lounge has had a new thermostat, heat meter and junction pipes fitted to it, just like with the kitchen and bedroom radiators.

NEW Lounge Radiator
NEW Lounge Radiator

I did not have the radiator pipes hidden in the lounge because they are only 80cm in length and look better painted gloss white.


New Wardrobe

The new wardrobe from Karnis is very strongly built.

NEW Lounge Wardrobe



The Renovated Lounge

NEW Wiring, Fake Ceiling, Radiator, Carpet, Door and Windows.

Below are some of the before and after shots of our newly renovated lounge, in our apartment in Szeged, showcasing how much work and fine detail was put into its renovation.

When I was viewing the apartment I knew the living room just needed a cosmetic makeover - New Door, Radiator, Carpet, Wiring, Lighting, Double-Glazing and five coats of paint! I also decided to have Shutters and Mosquito Nets installed to keep out the cold in winter, sunlight in summer and the mosquitos. Yes, a hot country like Hungary has mosquitos I'm afraid. Don't worry though, the nets really do help!

The Living Room JUNK

The living room was not as bad as it looked, but I did not tell the estate agent that of course. I saw past the initial junk because most of it could easily be thrown away and I dismissed the previously water damaged walls because I knew they just needed a clean up. The room's over all renovation costs, such as rewiring and plaster work, did not worry me either because I classed them as standard costs and not extra, problem, costs.

Old Living Room

The junk in the lounge was mainly an old mattress, records, newspapers and dirt!

After clearing out the junk one of the first things I did was clean the floor. I had to douse it with a few millimeters of bleach water, leave it standing for 15 minutes to get rid of the room's smell, before scrubbing it to remove the now loosened grime. I was not sure at this point if the room was fully water tight, but I was forced to use this cleaning (soaking) method because the floor was in such bad condition grime-wise.

Luckily the floor and walls were water tight! Probably because they are made of concrete. Either way, as added protection I painted the floor with a special floor paint the next day. Unfortunately it did not take too long, under renovation conditions, for the floor to become so dirty that I actually thought the special floor paint had faded away (as seen two photos below) and therefore had not worked. Fortunately after a quick hoover I realised just how well the floor had been protected. The special floor paint was still there, still protecting, even if it was not bright grey anymore.

Old Living Room

The floor, once thoroughly cleaned, was painted with special protection floor paint

Preparing The CEILING AND WALLS

With the rubbish removed and the floor cleaned and protected, the next job was to install the electric cables and sockets, add a fake ceiling and plaster the walls.

I was going to leave the ceiling alone in terms of its original plaster simply because it looked solid and permanent, but when I was removing tiny bits of old, loose, cracked, plaster the adjacent plaster just fell away with ease. Hence why I then decided to remove all plaster from the ceiling regardless of its condition. I did not want it falling away at a later stage, when painting for example.

Lounge Wall

The old ceiling plaster work looked okay, but came off too easily when scraped.

The PLASTER WORK

Before all the fake ceilings and plastering jobs were due to commence I was forced, due to lack of time, to do their preparation work myself; unbeknown to the workers. They should of done this preparation work themselves of course, as it is a basic fundamental of their profession, but when you are lacking time you have to do certain jobs yourself; which I did not mind, especially as it was for my own apartment. The downside of doing the preparation work myself was that the builders took advantage in terms of not doing any future preparation work themselves because they assumed I would do it.

I know this for fact because when I was painting the left-side of the hallway the plaster work was coming off in my paint roller. A sign of not enough new plaster, but also a sign that the wall had not been prepared properly, if at all, beforehand. When I confronted the plasterer he said "That is because you did not prepare the wall"....."the new plaster could not stick to the wall properly", to which I replied "I know that"....." but it is your job to do the preparation work, not mine". Hence their downside when I asked them to strip the wall, prepar it properly and then plaster it three layers thick; just to make sure it would be okay to paint on without problems.

I got the same plaster problems when painting the living room. About 5% of the plaster was coming off on my paint roller. I later found out that only one layer of plaster had been applied to the existing (old) plastered walls. It turns out the plasterer had been told to do this by his boss, who probably assumed one layer would be okay because it was going on top of an existing (old) layer. Either way, the walls should of been plastered twice. The other rooms were plastered twice, apart from the problem hallway wall and living room walls. Luckily for them I knew how to carefully paint the first two coats to ensure no plaster came away, which in turn ensured the success of the final third coat. This meant that once the walls and ceilings were finished no more problems occurred.

The shame here is with the company boss who dictated shortcuts to his hard working plasterer. You cannot blame the plasterer for lack of preparation when the boss told him to ignore preparation. In fact, it was the plasterer who helped the boss with the fake ceiling. After speaking with the plasterer he felt let down by his boss because he knew these small problems where reflecting on his excellent plaster work. The kitchen for example was beautifully plastered with two layers of plaster. It could not be faulted.

Lounge Wall

It looks nice now, but it was fragile to paint with small bits of plaster coming off!

Note Well - Although I use the words plaster and plastering, in Hungarian they say glet and gletting. Glet is slightly different to plaster in terms of the way it is applied and its texture. Glet is more like a polyfilla substance. In the UK we tend to plaster a wall up to 1cm or 1 inch thick whereas in Hungary they tend to glet a wall up to 5mm only. So it acts more like a skimmer/smoother, hence why I say it is like a polyfilla.

The FAKE CELING

After all the preparation work, building of the fake ceiling, painting and adding spotlights I was very pleased with the final result.

Lounge Ceiling

The 8 fake ceiling spotlights can be switched on/off 4 spotlights at a time

The eight spotlights can be switched on/off four spotlights at a time via two switches. This means you could have four bright (ice) bulbs in one set of four spotlights and four natural (daylight) bulbs in the other set of four spotlights whereby you could choose whether or not to have natural light or bright light; or a combination of both, which I did with the bedroom spotlights. However, in the lounge, with it being a larger room, I decided on having all bulbs bright (ice white).

The DOOR

With the bedroom and lounge doors I wanted them to lock, with a latch knob from the inside and a key from the outside, just in case I rent out or have some guests over who feel the need to lock their room for whatever reason(s). With the bathroom lock I went for the standard inside latch knob and standard outside slit (screwdriver open) lock. I also chose to have a mocha wood style to blend in with the beige hallway walls. The orange-tan lounge and light blue bedroom also blend well with the mocha.

Lounge Door

The lounge door can be latch-locked from inside or key-locked from outside

When planning your renovation you should consider having locks on the doors, especially if you are thinking of renting out more than one room to multiple people, as installing locks later can be more expensive. Locks also add security of course and piece of mind and privacy to individual tenants with their own room.

I had my doors custom-made by a company, as opposed to visiting the D.I.Y shop and calling out a locksmith and carpenter, so that my specifications were met. The price between custom-made and locksmith/carpenter is more or less the same (between 66,370 Ft and 70,000 Ft). The beauty of custom-made is that the locks, hinges etc are assembled and checked before leaving the factory. In my case the doors came from Budapest.

The NEW WARDROBE

I have just bought (in 2017) a new wardrobe from Karnis, initially for the lounge, for 100,000 HUF (£282.48); with delivery included. It is solidly built and has plenty of storage space for coats and other clothings. It is bigger than it looks.

Bedroom Wardrobe

The shelves and drawers are really made for clothes and not storage boxes!

In CONCLUSION

The living room (lounge) was pretty straight forward to renovate once the water damage marks were removed, and the rubbish removed. The rest was simply a paint job and paying for the double-glazing, carpet and furnishings.

I think the overall cost of the living room (lounge), compared to what it would of cost in the UK, was very affordable; especially when you consider that I got the labor for free whereby at certain times I had three workers on a particular job. And there was not really too much I could of saved on in terms of buying the materials. Note: The grand total below is estimated because the fake ceiling costs, for example, were for the whole apartment.

Product(s) / Service(s) HUF Price GBP Price Notes
Fake Ceiling / Plaster Work 130,000 Ft £346.66 FREE LABOR - Plasterer Did Work For Free
Paint And Other Materials 37,500 Ft £100
Carpet 85,000 Ft £226.66 Includes underlay and fitting
Bed Frame 28,000 Ft £74.66
Matress 99,750 Ft £266
NEW Radiator + Cut-Off Valves 41,800 Ft £111.46 This includes pipework for radiators
NEW Double Glazing 150,000 Ft £400 Includes shutters + mosquito net
New Door Purchased And Fitted 66,370 Ft £176.98
GRAND TOTAL 638,420 Ft £1,702 Rough Estimate (more like £1,400)

NOTE WELL - The reason why I got free labor from the electrician, tiler and plasterer was because they were in some way related to my friend, Tünde, or friends of those relations. Furthermore, the labor prices shown on this web page are rough quotations of what a standard client might of paid. In other words, I asked the electrician etc what they would of normally charged a client so that you have a rough idea of labor costs in Szeged. If you want to get a quote from them and/or hire them please e-mail me for their contact details.

Disclaimer: At the time of renovation, where 1 GBP (Great British Pound) was equal to 375 HUF (Hungarian Forint), the HUF and GBP prices and costs shown in this renovation section were 100% correct - GBP prices and costs were based on and calculated at an exchange rate of 1 GBP to 375 HUF. With exchange rates, prices and costs naturally being variable, you should therefore take the prices and costs shown throughout this website as guidance only.

BEDROOM RENO
HALLWAY RENO
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