Does your new home need a makeover but you have no budget left after moving house with all the associated costs and solicitor’s fees? Never fear there are hundreds of cheap and easy ways to quickly improve you home without breaking the bank.
Here are 25 of our favourites but if you have other ideas why not send them to us and we will add them to the list.
- Rip up old carpets and paint the floorboards – just make sure you use proper floor paint that will stand the wear and tear of people walking on it. Ordinary paint just won’t do.
- Buy black and white stick on vinyl floor tiles and transform old kitchen floors into a retro checkerboard – just make sure the old surface is spotlessly clean before you stick the new tiles on.
- Scrub down all paintwork and if necessary apply a coat of quick drying white eggshell paint – it’s water-based so brushes are easy to wash out afterwards and there’s very little smell.
- If the walls are papered in vinyl very carefully peel off the top layer to reveal the backing layer that can be painted – yes really!
- If the walls are papered with a textured finish then check how easily you can scrape it off with a metal scraper – many textures are polystyrene and come off easily – not quickly but it’s quite a therapeutic job, surprisingly.
- If the walls have woodchip or other textured surfaces that can’t be scraped off then console yourself with chocolate and move on to another job.
- Paint the walls with matt emulsion – IMHO you can’t beat Little Greene’s Absolute Flat Matt to hide a multitude of sins.
- Take down all dated curtains and rails – better a bare window than curtains that remind you of your grandparent’s house. Obviously we don’t mean remove all window dressings in bedrooms here, but if the bedroom curtains are really bad replace with a plain blackout roller blind.
- Clean the windows inside and out.
- Paint fitted wardrobes and replace the handles with modern ones. Even MDF or melamine surfaces can be painted provided you use a special base coat first such as Zinsser’s Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 primer – find it at specialist decorator’s shops.
- Paint your lampshades to complement your new décor – tester pots are great for this if you want to use a contrasting shade.
- Buy some new cushions for sofas and beds – there are plenty of inexpensive ones around – check out the large supermarkets – and don’t forget to update beds with simple but stylish bed linen.
- There are also cheap throws readily available if you need to cover up old sofas or armchairs.
- Make a headboard – all you need is some 7mm thick MDF, 7mm foam, adhesive, fabric and a staple gun.
- Buy a few long artificial flower stems and place in a clear vase in a prominent place – even fake flowers can cheer up your day.
- Buy some blank artist’s canvases and paint in block colours to match your décor – or even try copying something simple like a Mark Rothko.
- Buy framed mirrors in junk shops or charity shops and spray paint in silver or chrome for an instant update.
- Buy old stringed or brass instruments from junk/charity shops and spray paint in bold colours – hang on your walls or place on shelves.
- Paint your kitchen cupboards – any surface can be painted provided you use the right primer first like the ones from Zinsser. Change the handles for something more modern.
- Put up strings of fairylights above your windows – switch them on when you get home from work for an instant cheer-up (but for safety don’t leave them on during the night or when you are out).
- Buy hundreds of unscented tealights and light them around the house – use old jars or saucers if your budget won’t stretch to tea light holders, although the basic ones are cheap in everyone’s favourite Swedish store. Avoid scented tealights unless they are top quality like those from Nazareth Gifts.
- Hide away all your kitchen clutter – make room for it in your cupboards if you can – because clear surfaces just look better.
- Scrub all your taps with Astonish – it’s supposed to be an oven cleaner but works brilliantly on limescale encrusted taps.
- Buy a good quality reed-diffuser for the entrance hall and bathroom(s). It’s worth stretching the budget a bit here as nice smells go a long way to making a nice home. My current favourite is White Lavender from the White Company.
- Replace dated light fittings with bargain pieces from the major DIY stores – they may not last a lifetime but are generally on-trend and inexpensive.
I hope you enjoyed reading these – while you’re here I also wanted to share something close to my heart at the moment and that’s about the importance of old people being able to stay in their homes as they become less mobile. I’ve written some other stuff all about that. Take a look if you’re interested: