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How to spruce up your home on a budget

Home is the place that replenishes your soul. And adding just a tweak here or there could be all you need to hit the refresh button.

We know that budgets are tight – and so is time. So, here’s how to spruce up your space for the year ahead with doable DIYs, smart shortcuts and cheats that will give your home an instant glow-up. 

Affordable accessories  

It’s the details that make the difference when creating a new personality for an entire room, or even just your living room sofa. 

Shop the sales
Working smart also means shopping smart. First, curate the look you’re after in a Pinterest board – this will stop you from veering o your planned aesthetic and making any potentially wasteful purchases. Keep live wish lists with your favourite online retailers to nab snap sales, or trawl the malls at your favourite homeware stores, keeping an eye out for ‘marked down’ stickers to snap up pieces that you know will work. 

Get thrifty  
Upcycling is many a savvy decorators’ secret ability. Charity and junk shops are excellent hunting grounds for accessories, picture frames (great for that gallery wall you’ve got planned), glass vessels and quirky decor details marked at next-to-nothing prices. Look out for thrift resellers on Instagram who have done the work for you – you may find yourself becoming one, too, to help fund your room-changing habits. 

To dye for
Is your all-white bedroom look feeling a bit tired? Maybe it’s time to liven it up with a moodier colour scheme! Did you know that 100% cotton linen can be easily and affordably dyed – in the comfort of your home? It’s a creative solution to save stained or worn whites – in any colour you like. Look for cold water dye in your favourite pharmacy and get ready to play! 

Fabulously faux  
Fresh flowers are a decor joy – but they can also be a bit pricey. Don’t be afraid to bring faux plants and blooms into your home; the trick is to mix them up with the real deal. Pop a real plant in between a clutch of fake ferns, or hide a fake orchid or two amongst that real one that could bloom any day soon. 

Finishes & features  

It’s easier than ever to change the personality of a space without a total overhaul of permanent features. 

Focal points  
Be patient – remember what you want to achieve and take the time to find the rug, lamp or sofa that you love at the right price. Most, if not all, retailers have up to four sales a year, so be willing to hold out for the one you want, or to compromise on an item that may not be exactly what you first had in mind but will definitely fi t the decor bill. 

Wall & all
There’s been revival in both classic and contemporary wall panels, ornate wall mouldings and picture rails – all of which lend dimension and texture to ordinary walls. The secret? Most are made of affordable polystyrene and simply need to be glued to the surface and painted – easy, affordable. wall wow factor! 

Paper me pretty  
A number of homeware chains have introduced more affordable off-the-shelf wallpaper designs, and specialist printers now allow you to bring your visual dreams to life in the form of bespoke wall panels. You don’t need to paper an entire room – keep costs down by having a feature wall in your dream design. And don’t forget to keep any leftovers you may have for lining drawers or bookshelves. 

Handle this
Liven up plain cupboard doors or drawers with the likes of leather, copper or decorative ceramic knobs – they’re an aesthetic game-changer! 

Paint like a pro  

Paint is our makeover go-to. Why? Because few decorating tools help you totally transform your architectural assets more effectively or affordably. 

Touch up  
Like a great makeup artist can work wonders on any face, a lick of paint can be just the dose of new energy you need to help breathe life into a room. You can highlight your skirting boards by painting them in a defining colour, create a dramatic scene by painting your ceiling the same bold new colour that you chose for the walls, or you can give your front door a total makeover with a brand-new bright hue – complete with a shiny new door knocker to match!  

Feature focus  
Paint will draw attention to a favourite permanent feature, making it a key element in your space. A mantlepiece is a strong attention-grabber, whether it’s in use or not – and when painted in a contrasting colour to the walls, a glossy fi nish ups the style stakes. Paint the inside of a retro archway in a bold shade to contrast with the rest of the wall, or refresh face-brick by painting it white.

Halfway house  

There’s no need to embark on dramatic paint projects to effect change. Painting your kitchen chairs a new colour, painting over dated ceramic tiles (use specialist paint for this) or upcycling that dressing table that’s been begging for a new look is a weekend or morning project that won’t break the bank. 


Words by: Vicki Sleet, Mandy Allen
Photography: Future, Getty, Unsplash, Pexels

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