Stylish home improvements on a budget

4 steps to express your personality without spending too much

Home has become more of a focus for families than ever during the past year. All those hours we’ve spent in lockdown, staring at the same four walls, have left many of us itching to make changes. With the non-essential shops back open, now’s a great time to get cracking on your home improvements.

Maybe you’ve been scrolling images of Instagram influencers’ homes and dreaming of something similar. But what if you don’t have the money to buy fancy furniture and all the latest home accessories?

Well, you’d be surprised what you can do with a bit of creative thinking and DIY. We’ve put together a four-step plan to help you achieve a stylish home that expresses your personality and taste without blowing your budget.

Step one: declutter

There are many good reasons to start your home improvements with a big decluttering session. It can help you create space – which is great if you’re looking for a more minimalist look. Or else it can give you more room to bring new things with a different ‘flavour’ into your home. You might even be able to sell some of your unwanted items on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace to add a bit extra to your home improvements budget.

There’s another big advantage of decluttering. As you sort out what you want to get rid of, you can ask yourself what objects you really love.

Maybe you’ve got a photo on the wall with amazing colours. Or a cushion with a pattern you can’t get enough of. Objects like these could provide inspiration for the style of a whole room.

As you’re sorting out, also look for things with upcycling potential (see Step four below). Ask yourself, could I transform this with a bit of fabric or a lick of paint?

Incorporating what you already have – and love – into the design of a room is much more budget-friendly than having a complete overhaul and sourcing everything from scratch.

Step two: get inspired on Pinterest

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for helping you develop your home style – as long as you can avoid its pitfalls.

According to award-winning Bristol designer Zoe Hewett, most people scroll and pin at random. They end up with a big collection of beautiful images, but also feel overwhelmed with too many options!

Her advice is: be clear about what you need from your finished project.

For example, you might decide that your living room needs to work as a play space, with storage for the kids toys. But you may also want to use it as a cosy space for guests, with enough seats for the family plus a few extras.

From here you can get specific with your search terms. So instead of searching for ‘living room style’, you could search for ‘cosy blue family living room’ or ‘living room storage for kids’. This should make your search results more useful.

For more handy tips, check out Zoe’s free Pinterest guide.

Step three: look for bargains

Once you’ve worked out what you need to add to your rooms, you can start looking for bargains. As well as items that are ready to use, you might also want to track down furniture and materials for upcycling (see Step four).

Second-hand furniture can offer really good value for money. You can find it online in places like Preloved, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, and in some of the bigger charity shops. If possible, collect in person so you can check each item before you buy to make sure it’s structurally sound. Beware of holes in older furniture – this may be a sign of woodworm.

Fabric that matches your chosen colour scheme is also a useful thing to look out for. You can make things like seat covers from fabric scraps and offcuts, available cheaply on Etsy. Free wallpaper samples from wallpaper shops and decorating centres are also great for upcycling.

Keep your eyes peeled in charity shops for storage solutions like pretty tins, baskets and even trays. These can help you keep your rooms both neat and stylish.

Step four: upcycle

You don’t need to be a creative genius or DIY expert to get impressive results from upcycling. It’s a brilliant way to get the most out of your home improvements budget and express your personality at the same time.

There are many easy ways to upcycle. You could give wooden furniture the wow-factor by changing the knobs and repainting, or even adding wallpaper. We love this child’s bedside chest of drawers with dinosaur knobs.

Or how about this upcycled bookcase with added palm print and gold wrap? Simple yet effective.

Furniture stencilling is another great way to go, making it easy to transform something plain into a statement piece. Remember those fabric scraps we mentioned? Here’s how to put them to use for upcycling a chair – no sewing involved!

With smart strategies like making the most of what you’ve got already, buying second hand and upcycling, stylish home improvements don’t have to cost the Earth. And if you have fallen in love with a bigger ticket item, these tricks and techniques might just help you to afford it by saving you money elsewhere.

Need some help to finance your home improvements? Our Personal Loan could help you spread the cost of creating a stylish home. Find out more.

Published by
Team BCU
Posted on
29 April 2021