11 ways to improve your home on a budget

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If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put the work in, updating your home can be done on the smallest of budgets. Whether you’re doing it for your family’s benefit, or doing some DIY to make it more saleable – decide how much you have to spend, and which changes you would most like to see, and use these tips to stretch your money as far as possible…

1. Paint, paint, paint!

A fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to freshen up your home without spending very much at all. It doesn’t take as long as you’d think either, and you’ll get to enjoy the results for years to come. If you roll up your sleeves and do it yourself it can be done so cheaply. If you’re redecorating to sell, or short on time, focus on the main living spaces.

A central colour scheme that works throughout the house, using just a few colours, can make the house flow well. So consider how well colours work together and plan your whole space before you start – large paint pots are a good way to cut back on costs so it could save you money too. You can always personalise each room with accent walls or colourful accessories.


2. Shop second hand

Good quality, usable furniture can transform the look and feel of a room, and well-built pieces will last a lifetime. Solid wood furniture can be really expensive bought new, but there are so many second-hand bargains to be found on websites like Preloved or social media selling pages. Shop second hand and your money will stretch so much further.


3. Update your kitchen

If you’re up for a bigger project, and your kitchen is a little tired, consider painting the cupboards, or replacing the doors; it’ll make the world of difference. Doing it yourself can feel a bit daunting, it may not be difficult but it isn’t a quick job. The good news is that there are plenty of great companies that will paint it for you – it won’t be as cheap as doing the work yourself but it’s a drop in the ocean compared with a new kitchen. Kitchens are often the hub of the home so, if you’re going to spend a little bit of money, this is the room to invest in.

If you’re putting the house on the market, freshening up the kitchen could make the house a lot more saleable – because they’re one of the most expensive rooms to update, a tired kitchen can put buyers off. And, even if an older kitchen still needs replacing in the future, it will stop buyers from thinking that they need to spend a lot of money immediately.

Read my article on how to transform your kitchen on a small budget, to see which method is the best for you. And, if you’re up for a bit of DIY make sure you read my post on how to paint your kitchen cupboards (and the mistakes to avoid) before you start painting – I did mine and the result is amazing!


4. Rearrange what you have

Sometimes simply rearranging the furniture that you already have can completely change the feel of a room. Think about the layout of each area, and whether you are making the most of the space; it may be that certain pieces of furniture would actually work better in a different room. Rearranging what you have doesn’t cost a penny, and it won’t take long, but could make a big difference to the way you use the space.

Particularly when it’s time to sell, the house needs to appeal to ‘the masses’. Each room needs a clear identity so, even if it isn’t how you use it, staging it can work really well. For instance, a bedroom filled with sewing machines or gym equipment will make it difficult for buyers to visualise it as a bedroom, or to see the space available. Simply presenting the room as it should be, with a bed and simple furniture, instantly makes the room more appealing.


5. Save on the textiles

A new set of curtains, cushions or bedding can quickly and easily change the look and feel of a space. Textiles are so important for making our homes feel cosy, and it’s an easy way to inject some colour and personality into each room. If you’re looking for some new bits and pieces; sign up to Quidco to get cashback on your shopping, check the web for voucher codes and search sale and clearance sections. Make sure you compare prices online for branded items too – these often vary hugely!


6. Paint your furniture

Tired pieces of furniture can have a whole new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint. You might not need to spend out on new pieces – it may be that what you have already could be updated quite easily. It isn’t difficult, and a tin of paint won’t set you back much at all. And, the good news is that if you want to change your colour scheme further down the line, you can simply pick another colour and give it another coat. Read my post on upcycling to help you to get started.


7. Roll up your sleeves in the garden

Don’t forget to give your fences a lick of paint too – it’s easy for them to look mismatched, as they are usually replaced at different times. Painting the fences one unifying colour can really transform the garden, especially if they’re getting a little bit shabby.

Keeping on top of weeds can be a pain, so investing a little time and effort in making your garden more manageable could save you a lot of work in the long run. When we moved here, one of the first things I did was to tidy up the flower beds, lay weed membrane and cover it with slate chippings. Not only does it look really smart, I very rarely have to do anything to it – which made it well worth a weekend of my time.


8. Buy new handles

Changing the handles on cupboards, doors, and drawers is a really simple and quick way to change the look of your furniture, fitted wardrobes or kitchen cupboards. They can be really costly in the DIY stores, but can usually be found cheaper online – a quick search on Amazon shows that there are loads of great styles that can be picked up for less than £1 per handle, so it’s well worth taking a look.


9. Rethink your storage

Useful, well-organised storage makes it so much easier to keep on top of the house and cleaning is a lot quicker when the house is tidy. The good news is, it doesn’t need to be expensive and good storage isn’t just about furniture, but the little things too.  For instance… A basket by your front door will keep the entrance tidy of scarves, hats, bags etc; baskets around sink areas will keep toothbrushes, soaps and lotions tidy; boxed storage units and under the bed boxes will keep toys organised.  Read my storage post for lots of simple, frugal tips.


10. Declutter from top to bottom

I know I bang on about decluttering A LOT 😂 but I will always be a minimalist and I think it makes such a difference to the look and feel of a home. If you haven’t used something for a long time, chances are you don’t need it anyway. And, cleaning a clutter-free house saves so much time and energy so that you can focus on more important things.

You may find that with less ‘stuff’ you won’t need as much furniture or storage, and getting rid of those larger pieces can really open up a space. Tidy houses feel calm and spaces feel larger than they would otherwise. That’s not to say that the kids don’t destroy my house on a daily basis, but everything has its place and with our minimalistic lifestyle it doesn’t take long to clean up at the end of the day.

If you’re looking to sell, you’ll want prospective buyers to imagine themselves in your home, and to think about how they could make it their own. Clutter can be distracting, and when a house is very personal to the owner, it can be hard for buyers to see past this.

As challenging as it may be, try to see the house with new eyes – what would your first impression be? Items can easily be put into the garage or loft, to later be displayed proudly again in your new home, so take the time to declutter. It will make the house feel more spacious too. To help you to get started, have a look at my four-step decluttering guide.


11. Improve your curb appeal

Freshening up the outside of your house can improve your curb appeal – whether it be for your own benefit or to give potential future buyers a good first impression. (Often people make up their mind before they even step inside!)

Clean marks and dirt from the exterior walls, or give it all a fresh coat of paint if needed. Freshly painted render or weatherboards will instantly improve the appearance of your house and make a house look well cared for. (If time and money is limited, just do the front of the house.)

If you have a driveway, a quick jet wash can make all the difference. Tidy up flower beds, mow the lawn, cut back overgrown bushes and use colourful potted plants to make the house feel welcoming.


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