Overhaul your living spaces on a budget with these money-saving DIY projects
If spending months in lockdown has left you feeling a little less than house proud, there are plenty of ways to give your home a revamp without forking out loads of cash.
READ MORE: 30 home renovation mistakes you should avoid
Personal finance experts Ocean Finance have consulted with interior design and property insiders to compile these home hacks to save you thousands of pounds, if you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and put in the elbow grease yourself that is.
Their four-room DIY renovation plan will cost you a total of £2,940 – a saving of £11,560 off the average price of calling in a professional, which would set you back a whopping £14,500. Here's how you can overhaul your home without breaking the bank...
DIY Kitchen makeover
Average professional cost: £8,000
DIY cost: £1,000
1. Wrap up your worktops
Got a tired, dated kitchen that's seen better days? Though a new scheme would set you back an average of £8,000, there are ways to update your existing kitchen for a lot less.
Parminder Mew, construction director at Darcy Construction, says, “If your worktops are looking a little outdated and you’re seeking an instant solution, covering them with a quartz overlay is a fantastic trick.
“Quartz overlays simply slot over your existing work surfaces and immediately refresh your kitchen’s aesthetic.”
Marble or quartz vinyl can be bought for around £50 for 15 metres of wrap, which should be enough for a standard-sized kitchen.
2. Swap out kitchen doors and handles
You’d be amazed how much of a difference you can make to your kitchen simply by changing the doors and handles on your cabinets.
Parminder says if you keep your cabinet carcasses but change the doors and handles, you can give your kitchen a completely new look for as little as £25 per unit.
She explains: "This is incredibly cost-effective as changing your doors can transform the look of your kitchen. Handles can be purchased for as little as £2.99 each, instantly changing the style of a kitchen.”
If you have 30 cabinets in your kitchen, this will cost around £840 – still a lot cheaper than buying new cabinets.
3. Replace your tap, not your sink
Replacing a whole sink can be a costly affair, but there is another way to bring it up to date – just changing the taps.
“This can refresh the look of your tap area without breaking the bank. Taps can be found for just £35 whilst professional installation should only cost £75 for a two-hour job", Parminder says.
DIY Bathroom makeover
Average professional cost: £4,500
DIY cost: £1,725
4. Mix and match fixtures
It's common for many homeowners to opt for a white bathroom suite, which makes it easier to update your space with more affordable fixtures where high-end quality isn't of the essence – plus this mix-and-match approach can save you as much as 50% off the cost of a full refit.
Image: Victoria Plum
Lee Devlin, managing director at Homecure Plumbers, says, “You can easily coordinate a high-quality bath with less expensive sinks and toilets. These can be bought via online marketplaces, and you could sell your old suite and fixtures to reduce costs.”
However, Devlin is keen to point out that you should avoid scrimping where possible, as lightweight shower trays or cheap fixtures are rarely worth it: “Buying cheap when it comes to bathroom appliances often leads to issues further down the line,” he says.
Instead, opt for mid-range individual items, where possible.
5. Get tooled up
If you really want to save money, you’ll really notice savings if you undertake the labour yourself, but you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools for the job first.
Lee says: “Whilst plumbing and the electrics must be completed by qualified tradespeople, there’s nothing stopping you from removing tiles, painting, or putting up shelves and mirrors... To keep costs down further, re-use old bedsheets or newspapers to protect the floor and sockets."
Lee says that a set of DIY tools will set you back around £300, but it is worth it. “This should be seen as an investment rather than a cost,” he says. “Allowing you to reduce costs elsewhere and tend to any other routine maintenance needed in the house.”
6. Design your own space
Trying to decide what you want to go where? You could enlist the services of a designer, but your bathroom’s costs will soon rocket. Instead, Lee suggests putting pen to paper and designing your bathroom yourself.
“Drawing up a plan to scale, however basic, makes your life easier. You can then choose whether you want to buy twin sinks, a bath, shower (or both), remedying difficult room layouts with corner/smaller baths and shower units,” he says.
DIY Bedroom makeover
Average professional cost: £1,000
Average DIY cost: £175
7. Co-ordinate your paint palette
Bold paint effects are all the rage at the moment, and this relatively simple project can really transform a lacklustre bedroom scheme.
Steph Briggs, TV celebrity interior designer and co-founder of La Di Da Interiors, says: “For a contemporary look, paint the skirting boards and architraves the same colour as your walls.
"Use good quality paint, particularly if you’re making a dramatic colour change, such as from white to navy. It may be a little more expensive initially, but it will save you doing additional coats. For an average-sized room, this would cost around £60.”
8. Lift your lighting design
From creating ambience to helping us unwind, your lighting setup is crucial so it’s important you get it right in your bedroom.
“Although they’re not an obvious choice, angle-poise lamps are brilliant by the bed,” Steph says, “as you can swivel the head to find the perfect angle to read in bed or rotate it to the ceiling if you want more ambient light. These can cost as little as £40.”
9. Dress the bed
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary at the end of a long day, but you don't need to splash out on a brand new bed to make it feel cosy and welcoming – investing in new bedding could be all the change you need.
Steph says: “For maximum impact, change the sheets and add layers of texture and colour using cushions and throws to make it tactile and attractive, which can cost around £75, on average.”
You can also upcycle a statement headboard or source one on Facebook marketplace or similar to add the wow-factor while making huge savings on buying one new.
DIY Home office makeover
Average professional cost: £1,000
DIY cost: £40
10. Upcycle your old desk
With more of us now working remotely, it’s the perfect opportunity to overhaul your home office.
Jeremy Poole, sales director at Building Interiors, says, “Wooden desks can be repainted, sprayed, tiled, or even replaced with materials such as glass to create a completely new look.
"Alternatively, metal legs can be added to an old wooden desk to create the rustic yet modern look that’s popular right now.”
If you fancy trying your hand at upcycling, you can pick up a pair of reclaimed metal desk legs for as little as £30.
11. Create a bespoke noticeboard
For making notes that you can’t ignore, a blackboard feature wall is a great way to add a personal twist to a workspace.
Jeremy says, “You could paint a section of wall using blackboard paint and frame it using rustic wooden slats. Not only will this create a feature on any wall, but it will also provide a good place for keeping notes and appointment times.”
Jeremy says blackboard paint can be bought for as little as £5, while wooden slats can be purchased for around, or you can reuse bits from around the house: “Old trellis, window shutters or bed frame slats could be used instead, if you have them laying around,” he says.
Need some inspiration for your next home renovation?
Main photo: @renovating_ethelwolf / Instagram
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