In these times of austerity, money is very tight. UK homeowners have been gradually reducing their DIY spend since 2008. Working longer hours has reduced the free time available to do DIY projects. However, making the effort to do DIY can improve the look, feel and functionality of rooms in your home.
We were challenged by moneysupermarket.com to carry out a cut price room renovation in hope of becoming a home improvement hero with a budget of just £50.
For me, a brand new kitchen would be top on my list of dream home improvements, but without a budget of thousands of pounds, I need to get creative and revamp my space as cheaply but effectively as possible.
Revamping the Units
You can change the whole look of your kitchen cabinets by changing the door handles on your units and drawers. I found some brushed steel bow dimpled handles on Amazon for just £25.25 for 20, complete with fixtures. They brighten up the units and modernise the kitchen, giving the illusion of it being new. They are easy to fit, screwing in to the original holes.
They make such a difference to the overall look of the kitchen. I love the curved design, they are much nicer and more ergonomic than our original handles. Buying in bulk on Amazon saved us some money too.
A lick of paint is something that can totally change the ambiance of a room. Our off-yellow paintwork was looking tired and dull. New paint can totally freshen up the room and give it a new feel. We have gone for a Mediterranean theme and used Olive paint on the walls and brilliant white on the ceiling. The colour scheme was inspired by a utensil pot that I really liked in Homebase that cost £1.93 on their sale rack. It sometimes helps to find an object to use for inspiration if you don't have a clear colour theme in mind.
We already had the decorating equipment and white paint so we just needed to get the Crown Olive Green Kitchen Paint which cost £22 in Homebase.
Top Tips for Painting
Choose a colour that reflects the mood you want. You could go for something warm and homely, chilled and relaxed or vibrant and energetic.
Use Tester pots to make sure you like the colour before you commit to the change.
Use a proper kitchen paint which resists grease and mould to give a finish that will stay looking good.
Stir your paint well before you start to paint to ensure it is well mixed.
Use cheap masking tape on the edges of the walls to get a clean line. It is much easier and much faster than trying to do it freehand, and gives a straight, neat finish to your paintwork.
Don't wash all your brushes and rolls. Wrap them in clingfilm overnight and they will be ready to go next morning. This saves time, effort and means you only need to clean your tools once.
Do a good old 'snagging' after you have finished. Get someone with a fresh pair of eyes to spot any bits of paint you've missed or smudges you've made. You can go paint-blind after staring at the wall for hours so it's good to get someone to help with the quality control!
Decluttering and Storage
Decluttering doesn't cost a penny! It is the biggest home improvement you can carry out and it's absolutely free to do. Getting rid of old, unwanted stuff and finding sensible storage solutions for the things you are keeping is a great way to update your space. Charity shops are always pleased with donations so you will be helping others too!
I used old plastic boxes in my cupboards to separate the food items such as herbs & spices, cake decorating bits and nuts & seeds. Keeping all the similar items together makes it so much easier to locate the things you need and keeps everything tidy.
In organising my kitchen work surfaces I doubled the work area available. My microwave had been taking up much needed space as I had put it near an electric socket which was away from my other electric appliances. By adding a socket extension block to the other plug socket I now have all my electrical equipment together and have loads more free space. It really gives the illusion of having a much bigger kitchen...improving for free!
I have had a brand new toaster and kettle in the garage since Christmas. It was the perfect opportunity to bring them out and complete our new kitchen.
So here is a quick before and after shot which show how we improved our kitchen for £50 and a bit of hard work and reorganisation!
Cupboard Handles £25.25
Olive Paint £22.00
Olive coloured Utensil Holder £1.99