Budget renovation tips – here’s how improve your home on a small budget

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Here are my simple budget renovation tips to help you to improve your home on a small budget – it’s totally possible I promise – I’ve done it myself! 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.

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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

Kitchens are usually the most expensive room of the house to renovate, and it can be a messy and time consuming business too! But, if you’re happy with the layout, and the cupboard carcasses are in good condition, transforming your kitchen can be much more affordable.

If you fancy a change, here are your options:

Replace the doors

The quickest, simplest and least messy option is to replace your cupboard doors, plinths and side panels. We did this in our previous house and it made a HUGE difference. Teamed with new worktops, fresh tiles (on sale – £30 for the lot) and a tub of wall paint, it looked like a completely different kitchen.

We used a website called Kitchen Door Workshop, and it all went really smoothly, but search online for the best prices and look around for what you’re after as there are a lot of companies offering a similar service. Dependent on your style choices, and the cost of the finish you choose, for a normal sized kitchen it would likely cost around £500-£1000 for everything you need, delivered to your door.

Just send over the measurements and they will make everything to fit perfectly, made-to-measure. The new cupboards will even line up with the existing hinge holes; making it an easy job for anyone who is not into DIY. It really is a case of just removing the old and screwing in the new. The plinths and other accessories can be a little harder (they’ll need cutting to size) but it really is the type of job that can be done in an afternoon.


Paint your kitchen cupboards yourself

The cheapest way to update old kitchen cabinets is to give them a lick of paint yourself. In our current house I was desperate to get rid of the oak kitchen colour but, as they’re solid wood, I was really reluctant to replace the doors. So, I rolled up my sleeves and painted the kitchen myself.

The doors, ends and plinths need cleaning, sanding and priming before being painted with several coats of durable paint. Based on the amount of work, drying times and my own experience, it would be reasonable to assume that you’ll need at least 4 days to complete the job.

But, having said all of that, it’s so worth the hard work to transform your kitchen for the cost of a few tins of paint – I spent £150 in total. So, if you have the time, and you’re happy with the style of the doors this could be a real contender as it costs very little but makes the world of difference. It may also mean that you have spare money in your budget for other updates, such as tiles, worktops or flooring.

If you’re up for a bit of DIY read my post on how to paint your kitchen cupboards (and the mistakes to avoid) and take a peek at my before/after pictures…


improve home, budget renovation tips, frugal mum guide, before and after kitchen cupboard painting


improve home, budget renovation tips, frugal mum guide, before and after kitchen cupboard painting


Get a professional paint job

The third option, if you’re happy with the style and quality of your kitchen, is to get a professional in to paint it for you. This would most likely be completed in just a couple of days, and with very little mess or disruption. And, of course, no effort needed from you – which is always a bonus!

We had a quote for our current kitchen (as I was wondering what the cost of my laziness would be 😂) and it was around £1300 – so it’s definitely a lot more affordable than replacing a kitchen. But, it is more expensive than the other options above.

However, if you have a solid wood kitchen then paint is a good option, as you’d most likely be replacing the doors with a lesser quality material if you replaced them completely – unless you have a larger budget to purchase real wood doors. Also, a professional paint job would perhaps be more immaculately done than a DIY job, so if you’re not a keen painter, it might be worth the investment.

If you have good quality kitchen cupboards, but are short on time or lacking in patience for DIY (and I don’t blame you – it isn’t the most fun of tasks!) then having a company come in to paint for you could be the best option.


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 or Top Cashback to get cashback on your shopping, check the web for voucher codes and search sale and clearance sections, or shop on second-hand selling pages. Make sure you compare prices online for branded items too – these often vary hugely!

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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 step-by-step upcycling guide 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. For more tips check out my post on how to improve your garden on a budget.

improve home, budget renovation tips, frugal mum guide, gardening photo


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.

improve home, budget renovation tips, frugal mum guide, image of storage


10. 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.

improve home, budget renovation tips, frugal mum guide, outside of house in photo


11. 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, or use my 30 day cleaning and decluttering checklist!

30 day cleaning and decluttering guide, 25 simple frugal living tips to save you money, frugal mum


Looking to save some money? Check out these articles too:

The Ultimate Family Frugal Living Guide: 25 simple tips to save you money!

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20 simple ways to reduce your energy bills and save money

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The 12 best family money saving challenges to try today!

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How to create a family budget, understand your finances and save money!

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