10 ways to revamp your home for less

Published by Hannah Nemeth on 23 February 2015.
Last updated on 02 March 2015

When it comes to soft furnishings, bed linen and wallpaper, botanical themes are popular, including birds and butterflies, in anything from lush greens and blues to deep pinks and purples.

A 50s vibe is also on trend, with accessories and fabrics featuring a vintage look. This can be achieved fairly cheaply, particularly if you look at spring collections from supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco. For example, Tesco has launched its Mid Century range of retro-inspired prints and patterns, which includes kitchen accessories in bold red, with prices starting from £4 for a milk jug.

Earthy shades of pink, red and orange are certainly big news this spring, from wine-red marsala to dusky pink. George Home, from Asda, has highlighted this theme in its Desert range, which includes sienna, burnished reds, and deep yellows, contrasted with greys and faded neutrals. Prices start from £4 for a darkwood photoframe.

Dulux has given a nod to this trend by picking Copper Blush (pictured above) as its top colour for 2015, suggesting that it works well with pure white, as well as natural wood, copper and gold accessories.

Crown Paints has come up with three influences on its colour for 2015 – Freedom of Expression also includes deep earthy shades such as Shocking Pink and Scrumptious Purple, teamed up with more neutral colours. Its other influences are Playtime, which includes easy-to-live with chalky sherbet shades, and Organic Discovery – a collection of bolder colours taken from nature.

Whether you fancy a spot of decorating or simply want to update your rooms with new accessories, here are 10 ideas to get you started.

1. Paint floorboards

Painted floorboards topped with a rug will work out cheaper than fitting carpets or sanding floorboards. Ronseal's Diamond Hard Floor Paint can be used on indoor concrete, wood or stone floors. Available in 11 shades including white, terracotta, black, pebble grey and slate, it costs £15.99 for 750ml (ronseal.co.uk)

2. Add a splash of colour

Paint or paper one wall in a fashionable shade or print to create an accent of colour. Pictured is a feature wall has been added to this dining room, using Crown Paints' Chartreuse Mix matt emulsion £10.98 for 1.25L, side wall in Wheatgrass matt emulsion, £18.49 for 2.5L, woodwork in Wheatgrass non-drip satin (at Homebase only), from £15.98 for 750ml.

3. Accessorise

Add colourful accessories – cushions, vases, throws – to freshen up rooms all around the home. These are surprisingly cheap if you shop online at supermarkets or at websites such as Littlewoods, Debenhams and very.co.uk.

4. De-clutter worktops

Keep your kitchen streamlined by hanging utensils on the walls. Pictured left, Ikea's Rimforsa in clear lacquered bamboo and stainless steel. The rail costs £8, with prices ranging from £2 for four hooks to £15 for the knife holder (ikea.com).

5. Paint kitchen doors/appliances

Update melamine, MDF or wooden cupboard doors and drawers by painting them in the latest spring colours.

You'll need to use a specialist paint that can withstand knocks and constant use. Dulux Cupboard Paint, for example, doesn't need an undercoat and comes in Barley Twist, Jasmine White, Natural Hessian and Pure Brilliant White, £21.89 for 600ml. Dulux recommends using an MDF primer first on untreated/unpainted MDF and a difficult surfaces primer before painting melamine. You can apply the paint directly on to unpainted wood but previously painted wood will need to be sanded first.

For a wider choice of 43 colours, try PlastiKote Twist & Spray Colour (£7.49 for a 400ml can). If you're just painting the outside of the door, expect one can to cover around three doors. For nearest stockists, visit plastikote.com.

PlastiKote also produces Appliance Spray (£7.99 per 400ml can), so you can update white appliances in a Satin Chrome finish or use Twist & Spray for a coloured finish.

To paint kitchen doors, you will need to:

  • Remove drawers and doors and take handles off where possible. If handles can't be removed, wrap with masking tape
  • Give the unit a light sanding
  • Clean the surface with a soapy cloth to remove any grease, rinse and dry
  • Mask the workspace well with newspaper and dustsheets and make sure your working area is well ventilated. Or wait for good weather and paint doors and drawer fronts outside
  • For a longer-lasting finish or on bare wood, start by applying PlastiKote Twist & Spray Primer (£7.48 per 400ml can) and allow to dry thoroughly
  • Spray the cupboard doors with two or three fine coats of PlastiKote Twist & Spray
  • Although touch-dry in less than an hour, PlastiKote recommends waiting at least 24 hours before re-fixing the doors.


6. Splash out on bath and bed linen

Bedrooms can be instantly refreshed with new bedlinen, using cushions and throws to create a layered effect.

Similarly, buy fresh towels, tumblers and soap dispensers to upgrade your bathroom – nautical themes are popular at the moment.

The bathroom, pictured above, has been accessorised for less than £75. It features a mirror, £8, Rinse tumbler, £3, Wash dispenser, £5, navy and white stripe tumbler, £3, blue glass vase, £12, rugby stripe bath towel, £6, rugby stripe hand towel, £4, nesting baskets, £8, white laundry hamper, £14, navy chenille bath mat, £7, white and navy bath towel, £6, and navy soap holder, £3 – all from george.com

7. Replace kitchen doors and handles

For a more radical makeover, you can replace kitchen cupboard doors – a fairly straightforward job if your original cabinets are of standard size - but double-check the position of hinges if holes are pre-drilled.

As well as buying doors and drawers from DIY stores such as B&Q, Homebase and Wickes, you'll find specialist replacement door companies online. Homestyle (homestyledoors.co.uk), for example, produces more than 50 door styles in both high-gloss and non-gloss finishes, with colours ranging from pastels and wood finishes to red, burgundy and black. The company says the average cost for a full set of replacement kitchen doors is £328 on a supply-only basis. Prices start from £19.90 for a standard 720mm by 500mm door.

You can also replace cupboard doorknobs to jazz up tired kitchen units. Homebase has a good selection including a pink buttons knob £3.99, butterfly knob, £2.99, and pistachio knob, £2.99.

8. Spruce up your front door

This front door has been painted in Dulux Weathershield Exterior Satin in Valley Rock (£14.49 for 750ml). To add interest, the door number has been painted in Black Ash (£22.99 per 2.5L) on the planter, which is in Natural Stone, (£11.99 per litre), both from Cuprinol Garden Shades, available from cuprinol.co.uk, Homebase, B&Q and other leading DIY stores.

9. Paint kitchen or bathroom tiles

There's no need to be stuck with outdated colours when you can transform tiles with a quick lick of paint. Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint, £21.99 per 740ml, comes in 13 shades including white, granite or cobalt grey, mellow green and red rose.

Before you start, you'll need to clean surrounding grout lines with grout cleaner, as well as wiping down the tiles with a cleaner containing bleach. Avoid painting over the grout lines and redefine them with Ronseal One Coat Grout Pen, £6.49, once the paint is thoroughly dry.

10. Use paint to create a headboard

If your bed doesn't have a headboard, paint one on MDF or straight on the wall. Marianne Shillingford, Dulux creative director, says: "This dragged paint effect is easy to do and doesn't cost a fortune because you only need four x 250ml Dulux tester pots of emulsion."

To create the effect:

  • Use a spirit level and chalk to mark a line that will be the highest level of the effect. Thin down the emulsion paint with a little water (until it is the consistency of double cream) and pour some into a paint roller tray.
  • Load the brush with paint but use the flat part of the tray to remove the excess paint so you avoid drips
  • To get the broken dragged effect, lay the brush as flat as you can against the wall and follow the chalked line (keeping below it), dragging the brush for as long as you can before the paint naturally runs out. Re-load the brush with paint and carry on
  • Add more colours to create different layers.

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