Frugal DIY: sprucing up without spending a fortune

frugal diy, budget diy, saving moneyOur new lodger arrives next weekend so we are doing a bit of frugal DIY to brighten her room.

When walls start to collect marks and the paintwork is chipped it is tempting to redecorate. This can cost so much, however – not to mention the investment of your precious time.

Frugal DIY with your paintbrush

Assuming your walls and ceilings are sound, all you really need to smarten up a room is a quick paint job. A refresh of the woodwork by itself can make a noticeable difference. Gleaming white doors and skirting boards make a room look clean and attractive.

Light coloured, plain painted walls provide a neutral backdrop. We are painting all of the walls cream apart a feature wall with patterned paper. This is there already and is good enough to stay.

frugal diy, budget diy, saving moneyYour colour scheme can be changed any time with the addition of some cheap but colourful soft furnishings. We will be popping down to B&M to look at some of these. I would make my own, but frankly have neither the time nor the talent!

If you do have wallpaper, it is a good idea to keep a roll or two safe somewhere to make repairs where necessary. There were a couple of areas where small sections of paper had started to come away. Because the damage was so minimal, we sorted these out with a glue stick.

We have found that buying really cheap paint and brushes is a false economy. You end up having to apply more coats of the stuff and picking bristles off as the brushes disintegrate!

Own brands

We like Homebase’s own range of paint and brushes. They are cheaper than branded products but just as good quality.  For the woodwork we chose their one coat brilliant white gloss and classic cream emulsion for the walls. Perfect for our frugal DIY efforts.

I won’t have time to clean the carpet and cannot afford to replace it, so a nice fluffy rug from B&M will add a touch of glamour to the floor. I think these are excellent value at £14.99.

The last major DIY we did was this transformation. It took ages! At least this is a quick fix.

Do you have any ideas for frugal DIY? Where do you find home decor bargains?

3 thoughts on “Frugal DIY: sprucing up without spending a fortune

  1. How I agree … our sitting room was last painted 17 years ago and the walls are still good (our children left home long ago, they’re middle aged now, so no children to knock the walls) but last weekend husband painted the window sills (there are three of them in our sitting/dining room) with Antique White paint (Leyland make it) which we actually prefer to brilliant white, but this is just personal taste. And my, the difference three lovely sparkling, glossy windowsills make! Giving a room a good clean, making sure mirrors sparkle makes a lot of difference. It’s not always necessary to spend oodles of money for a re-fresh. Even changing cushions, perhaps a different throw on the sofa, even moving ornaments around to different positions – we have a large vase that lives on the right hand side of the bay window, but once I’ve given the room an autumn spring-clean (if that makes sense!) I am going to fill it with leaves from the garden and simply put it on the other side of the window! Small changes, big results should be our mantra. (Don’t know B&M – must check that out!)

  2. It must be ‘that’ time of year! I have started decorating my lounge after years. I went to B&M for first time in months and was not that impressed -they were filling up the shelves with Christmas stock so not a lot of choice in homewares. But I did buy a paint tester pot and once applied, realised that the colour looked strangely familiar… after digging in the back of my cupboard, I found a can of a similar-colour paint, 3/4 used, bought 10 years ago for the bedroom (it didn’t look right in that room). So just shows you that paint in these plastic pots does stay ‘useable’ if properly sealed (this was Dulux). Worth holding onto all these years! Now for the hard work of actually doing the painting! If you’re looking for rugs etc, TKMaxx is worth a look as prices seem comparable to B&M… and don’t forget the charity shops for throws & cushions. (I also agree – never buy cheap brushes as they shed all over the place – nothing more annoying than having to pick the bristles out of the wet paint! – the paint gets right under your nails).

    • I heard, years ago on an old DIY programme perhaps (surely not Barry Bucknell in the 1960s, even if I am old enough!!!) that if you seal a can and then turn it upside down you won’t get a skin or film over the surface of the paint. Whether this works remains to be seen. But it shows that you were drawn again towards the same colour. I hope it looks nicer in your sitting room than it did when you painted the bedroom – much depends on the position of a room, i.e. whether north, east, west or south facing, as the light entering the room certainly makes a difference to the colour on the walls.
      I looked B&M up on the internet – I don’t think we have one in our area.
      While Farrow & Ball paint is expensive one good thing is that most of their paints are water-based and you can wash out brushes and use them over and over again, whether eggshell or estate emulsion.
      Margaret P

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