Give your home a new lease of life by following our fast and easy home improvement tips. We reveal how a simple splash of colour and some clever rearranging can help create the home of your dreams. If you’re desperate for some expert advice then we’ve got that covered too! Homes Under the Hammer star Martin Roberts tells us his secret tips for transforming your home on the cheap.
- Redecorate some key rooms
- Dye your way to a brand new look
- Get creative
- Create more space
- Expert tips revealed
- Use the right people
First of all take a look at our list of dos and don’ts.
- Stay safe. It may sound obvious but make sure you always read the labels on paints, solvents and any other products, and be sure to follow the guidelines. The same goes for using tools and climbing ladders – if you can do something quickly that’s great, but don’t compromise your safety because of it.
- Measure the room. Write down the dimensions of the whole room and make sure you note down windows, plug sockets etc. If you take these measurements with you when you go shopping, it’ll make your life so much easier.
- Get inspired! Read magazines, look online and browse shops to get a clear idea of the styles and colours you like. Get free test samples from John Lewis and Cath Kidston among loads of other places to see if the fabric and pattern is what you’re looking for.
- Create a focal point. Each room should have a focus, whether it’s a fireplace, a bed, a window, or even a piece of art. We particularly like websites like ArtRepublic and Easy Art where you can take a look at a huge selection of canvas prints, tapestries and posters for sale.
- Co-ordinate. Make sure that the accessories, fabric and colour scheme work together throughout the room; this isn’t to say that everything needs to be matching, just that by using colours, patterns and fabrics that complement each other, rather than compete everything will tie together.
- Consider using wallpaper. It’s very on trend at the moment and by wallpapering a single wall you can completely alter the look of a room. Try out Wallpaper Direct to find a massive selection of wallpaper, you can tailor your search to find exactly what you’re looking for, and once you’ve selected a design a photo will load showing you how it will look once it’s in your room. If these guys are a little out of your price range then have a look at Homebase, as they always tend to have loads of special offers on.
- Be be afraid of variation. By using a wide range of textures you’ll stop a room from looking dull. Experiment with smooth, rough, shiny and matte. If you have leather sofas brighten them up with some soft cotton cushions.
- Choose paint from a colour chart. This really is essential, even if a colour looks great on paper, you might find that once it’s applied to your walls it changes tone completely. The best thing to do is head to somewhere like B&Q who sell cheap paint samples. Test them on a small section to see how they’ll look in natural light. Make sure you pick the right paint for the surface you’re painting. If you’re not sure, check the label and ask in stores to find out what the best kind of paint to use is.
- Crowd a room. Simplicity is key; don’t cram a room with little bits and bobs, as it will only look smaller, instead, select a few key items and arrange them carefully. Use your space wisely, make sure the position of your furniture doesn’t create waste space. This might mean, because of a chimney breast or alcove, that you can only have one layout – so just work with what you have.
If you’re planning on doing any major DIY project you do need to think about insurance. Check your home contents and building insurance to see if you’re covered for accidental damage. It’s also really important to tell your insurer about these changes or you may not be able to claim, don’t worry it’s really not as complicated as it sounds and we’ve put together this great home contents insurance article to help guide you through the entire process.
You can really liven up your bathroom with a new shower curtain, toilet seat or a soft new set of towels. Check out the big department stores like M&S, John Lewis, BHS and Habitat regularly as they’ll often have loads of special offers and seasonal discounts on. Or if you want consistently low prices then try out Wilkinson Plus and Ikea.
Clean up any mess and prepare to get green fingers! Pull out any nasty weeds (making sure you get the whole root) and replace them with some gorgeous shrubs, head to Crocus for some beautiful plants and shrubs and check out the offers section to save yourself some extra cash, you can get up to 45% off roses and get loads of great offers on a wide range of fruit and veg.
Wood stain your fence
It’s really important to stain your fence, not only will it protect it from the sun and prevent water damage, but it also stops it from peeling and cracking. Make sure you follow these simply tips for a long lasting, healthy looking fence.
- Always apply the stain in the direction of the grain.
- Use wax for surfaces that suffer from a lot of wear and tear, but make sure they won’t be exposed to water.
- Use varnish for a hard-wearing finish, you can get both gloss and satin finishes.
To discuss your needs and find the best product for your fence go to B&Q for a huge range of waxes and stains.
Once you’ve got your garden looking great you’re going to want to spend those long summer evenings enjoying the view. Some stylish garden furniture will immediately make it somewhere you love to sit and soak up the sun. For some great deals on garden furniture we love BHS which has loads of gorgeous items including barbeques, loungers and tables.
Again check out Crocus which has a lovely furniture section stocked full of chimeneas, benches and fire baskets, this is a great place to go if you want to liven up your garden a bit. Failing that try Amazon for some fantastic bargains or grab a great bargain at Lights4Fun and give the garden a lift with some pretty lighting.
Renovate your home by giving a new lease of life to your old textiles. Don’t feel as though you have to splash out loads on new sofa covers just because they’re faded – dyeing is a much cheaper alternative! Make old towels and cushions look brand new just by changing the colour.
We recommend you go straight to the experts at DYLON and see how much you can save simply by dying tired fabrics and accessories. With loads of different kinds of dye to suit every need from machine fabric dye to 3D paints, you’ll find everything you’ll need.
Embrace your creativity and get making your own cushion covers and curtains, as well as being a fun new hobby, it’s also a great way to save loads of cash! If you don’t already know how to sew or knit then find a class close to you and get learning.
John Lewis offers a variety of knitting, sewing and haberdashery classes and workshops at stores all over the country, the classes are normally free and you only have to pay for the materials you use. As well as all this John Lewis offer free information to customers buying sewing machines and they’ll also invite you back for a free hour-long lesson! Different shops vary the classes they hold and the services they offer so head to the haberdashery department of your local store and ask for information.
If you can already knit then why not make yourself some extra cash on the side? Discover how in our article on making money from knitting.
Creating more space (even it’s just the illusion of space) can make such a difference to the way a room looks. Get rid of any furniture you don’t need (there must be some lying around!) and rearrange the rest of it to make the most of the space you’ve got.
Using mirrors to reflect light is an easy and cheap way to create the illusion of more space. Amazon is a great place to start, you can browse through the thousands they’ve got on offer. There’s also a great range of designs at B&Q, from traditional to contemporary. Search by style, size and colour to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Dark rooms are uninviting and cramped. Get rid of any heavy, dark curtains and replace them with lighter, pastel coloured blinds or drapes. Blinds-Supermarket has blinds on offer for as little as £9, and Ikea has some great offers on materials for drapes.
Although carpets are warmer they also make the room look smaller. Lift up a corner of the carpet to see if you’ve got a wooden floor underneath. If you have, use a sander and some varnish to make it look presentable and lay down a couple of smaller rugs to make the floor space seem bigger. Argos has a good range of great value rugs and mats, take a look at their latest offers to see what you can get.
This is a really simple way to create more storage space. If the room is small then it’s a good idea to try and create as much floor space as possible. Shelves will help you clear up the clutter and it’s so easy to do.
If you haven’t done it already getting your loft converted will add both space and value to your property. Check with your local planning office before you start the conversion – you’ll have to get building regulations approval and conform to fire regulations (which might include installing a fire door and alarms). Choose your builder carefully, there are plenty of people specialising in loft conversions, but get quotes from three or four and make sure they’re a member of the Federation of Master Builders. Go to Grow Your Own Home for a free estimate of the costs.
“It’s important to create good habits in the home, in particular the places that can become magnets for clutter. Each room will have its own storage needs for items that need to be kept out of sight, creating more space to display the items that mean the most.” Darryl Brunt, UK Sales & Marketing Director at Fellowes UK
We’ve gone straight to Martin Roberts, presenter on Homes Under the Hammer, for some easy ways to give your house a makeover. When it comes to home improvement advice, you need look no further – follow just a couple of his tips and you’ll soon have the best looking house on the street!
Here’s what Martin had to say:
Website like eBay are great for finding fantastic bargains for every aspect of your home. With access to sellers from all over the world you can find almost anything. Another great place to look are salvage yards like Bygones architectural reclamation or UK Architectural Antiques. You’ll be able to find loads of unique antiques as well as great modern items like fireplaces, doors and loads for your kitchen.
Bygone will deliver but the cost will vary per item so make sure you check before you order. UKAA charge for delivery depending on your location, and they may charge more for heavier items.
Quite often labour is the most expensive part of any renovation, so probably the biggest way to save is to do some of the work yourself, and then get professionals to finish it off. For example, if you’re planning on re-tiling you bathroom, but if you’re not confident on doing it by yourself, you can remove all the old tiles, prepare the surface for the new ones, and then you’ll only have to pay someone to fit them.
If you can, convert your loft into an extra bedroom, or consider extending your cellar for more space downstairs. Another good idea is to get a summer house or log cabin if you’ve got enough space in your garden, it can be used as a workshop, a play room, or just extra space to relax. Check out garden buildings direct who deliver free to most of the UK.
It’s good to try and keep things modern but be warned that whatever is in fashion now will go out of fashion pretty quickly. You might like to create a feature wall and work the rest of the room around it, or alternatively keep the walls a neutral colour and brighten up the room with your possessions. Remember that small things can really make a big difference, for instance, instead of redoing the whole kitchen, you can try replacing just the front of your kitchen units – it’s really easy to do and it will completely transform the room!
For loads more tips and advice from Martin you can read his book Teach yourself: making money from property and take a look at his website today.
Head to the freebies section of Gumtree, they’ve got a huge list of things for free in your area. You’ll have to collect the items yourself, but it’s a small price to pay for a free sofa or dining table! All you need to do is email the owners to organise a time to collect, but don’t hang around as items tend to go quickly. If you can’t find what you need then you try posting an ad of your own and someone might get in touch.
Freecycle is another great way to get items for free. You can sign up for free here and join a Freecycle network in your community. Once you’re a member of a local group you can see the items that are being given away and post your own. Everything you post has to be free, legal and appropriate for all ages.
You can also try Snaffleup, which works in a similar way to Freecycle. You can search through all the items without signing up, and the search will let you know where everything’s located so you can decide whether it’s feasible or not to pick it up. If you do find something, then you can sign up and contact the person offering the item – as with Freecycle everything on Snaffleup has to be free and legal.
It’s a good idea to know whether your builder is trustworthy before you cough up any money. Use Rated People, the website that helps you find recommended tradesmen in your area. All you need to do is sign up, choose the trade you need, get the quotes and choose the best one for you. Once they’ve completed the task you can then rate them yourself.
If you’re looking for some help with your home improvements then go to jobsgrapevine, a free forum where odd-job men, plumbers and the like, advertise their skills.
If you’re on a strict budget then you should check out our article on how to makeover your home for less than £100, with loads of great advice from revamping your doors to getting the insider trading tips, plus we’ll show you how you can redo your kitchen and bathroom for less then £84.
Loads of people tend to do up their home just before they sell it, to make it more appealing to buyers. Just remember that although pink walls and green furniture might be a match made in heaven for you, it could be somebody else’s worst nightmare. To avoid pitfalls like this and for things to look out for, see our article on how to sell your home.
If you’ve got any more tips on how to improve your home then let us know.
Find out how to get involved in National Clear Your Clutter Day 2018