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My top budget-friendly home improvement tips

Everybody wants to live in a home that is unique to them and one that represents their style. Making renovations on a home is a great way to improve your living standard, create a home that you love and increase the value of the property. However, full renovations take a lot of time and they can be costly so, it’s a good idea to find some budget-friendly ways to make those improvements. Home improvement does not always mean you have to make huge changes, there are simple ways that you can improve your home so that you feel happier in the house you have created. If you want to make some changes to your home but are working on a budget, then here are my top budget-friendly home improvement tips to give you some inspiration.

My top budget-friendly home improvement tips

Make a plan first

Before you start the work on your home, it would be a good idea to first make a plan that details all the changes you would like to make to your home. Perhaps go around your house and make some notes on which parts of the house you do not currently like, and then make some rough ideas on how you can improve them. Having a plan in place will help you through the home-improvement process as you can use it as a guide, to keep you on the right track.

If you are serious about your new home projects, then you can make a 3D plan of your home or any planned extensions. I like to use SketchUp as it’s free and easy to learn. Once you have your plan drawn up to can export it as a PDF file which is easier to share. Don’t forget to compress the PDF to reduce the file size. Reducing the file size means you can share the file easily with friends, family and contractors over email or other digital entities.

Take a look at my 3D shed plans for some inspiration and ideas for your own personal projects. You can quickly plan your dream projects and share them quickly and easily.

We find it much easier to budget for a home improvement when we have a suitable plan in place. We tend to add 20% to any cost projection as it can be easy to forget about little things that crop up during a project. For example, our DIY veranda project went slightly over budget as we decided to add a privacy screen later on. It was a small additional cost which made all the difference but something we hadn’t originally thought about.

DIY veranda with privacy screen

DIY all the way

One of the best ways to save money on your home renovations is to take on the jobs yourself. Paying for contractors, tradesmen and professional assistance can be very costly. You could be paying someone between £160 and £400 a day to complete your projects.

If you have a few DIY skills then put them to the test. Do your research and have a go yourself. You might be surprised at how well you get on. You can also ask friends and family for help with projects. Tap into their knowledge and experience to help you along the way. You might need to invest a little money into tools but these will pay for themselves along the way.

Here is a list of tools I would recommend if you’re starting out:

  • A decent combi drill and impact driver
  • Drill bit set
  • Branded circular saw
  • Toolbox complete with the basics (hammer, tape measure, spirit level etc.)
  • Hand saw
  • Jigsaw
  • An orbital sander

Buy at second-hand shops

A great way to transform your home is to upgrade furniture or artwork, which can be expensive if you buy it brand new. So, if you want to transform your home on a budget, then it could be a good idea to shop in second-hand shops instead.

Charity shops are a great place to find some hidden treasures, without having to break the bank, so take a trip into town and browse the local charity or used furniture shops. There are plenty of furniture-only charity shops that you can look into if you are wanting to buy a new sofa, bedside table, or coffee table, so they would be a great place to start.

up-cycled bedside tables
up-cycled bedside tables

The great thing about shopping in charity shops is that you can find items that are completely unique, which can really transform your home. Don’t worry if they are a little on the rough side. You can sand, paint or varnish them for a new lease of life.

You could also consider making your own furniture. I have created some fantastic pieces with used scaffold boards which you can buy very cheaply if you shop around. See further on in this post for some of my how-to guides.

scaffold board desk

Declutter and deep clean

A really simple way to make a big difference in your home is to simply declutter and deep clean the interior. Clutter in a home can make it seem messy and unwelcoming, so if you take the time to properly tidy and store away some clutter, your house can appear brighter. The same goes for deep cleaning. It can be easy to forget to deep clean your home, especially if you live a busy life, but dust build up and dirt can have a negative impact on how your home looks. You may also find that through the decluttering process, that you have a lot of stuff you can get rid of. Especially decluttering the bedroom, you will likely come across lots of items of clothing that have never been worn, so, take some time to go through everything and work out if there are things you can donate to your local charity shop.

Painting and decorating

Painting and decorating are great, budget-friendly ways to make some improvements to your home. Once you have an established plan, you can then start shopping for new paint and get to work on transforming your home. When we moved into our new home we painted 80% of it to revamp and renew to tired decor.

It could be a good idea to come up with some sort of colour scheme for your home, as this will tie in all the rooms in your house and make everything seem more cohesive. This doesn’t mean you need to paint every room the same colour, but it could be a good idea to use colours that you know will complement each other instead of clashing. If you are struggling to find some colour schemes or ideas that you like, then perhaps just have a quick look online for some painting inspiration.

Our favourite budget home transformation projects

Revamp your staircase

When it comes to home improvements, the staircase is often a part of the home that gets overlooked. With a very low budget, you can create a whole new look and feel for this part of your home. We stripped the carpet, sanded the wooden stairs, painted them and added some tile effect stickers to the risers. We also replaced the 60s style bannister for a more modern spindle style and it made a massive difference.

To maximise storage under the staircase I built some pull-out drawers which we used for shoes, vacuums and other bits. It was a simple low-cost project that created additional storage and added value to our house.

under stair drawers

Built our own veranda

This is a great way to extend your living space on a budget. When done right you can create a space that can be enjoyed all year round. A full extension to your property can cost upwards of £20,000 but with a veranda, you get a lot of similar benefits for under £2,000. A tenth of the cost. So, whether it’s raining, snowing or very sunny we have somewhere to relax, work or entertain.

build your own veranda

Learn how to build your own veranda here.

DIY garden room

For a quarter of the price of a professionally built garden room, you can create your own unique garden room. This new garden space adds a reasonable amount of value to our property and was completed on a very strict budget. For just £5,500 I created this fully insulated garden room with electrics. We use it as a quiet escape from the noisy family home. It has a treadmill for exercise, a sofa for relaxing and a desk for work. A multi purpose room for anyone to use.

Reclaimed wood built-in wardrobe

Made from 80% reclaimed wood this was a very easy and cost-effective way to create a wardrobe in our bedroom. With a basic frame made from batten timber and wood from pallets for the side and doors, I made this beautiful-looking piece.

reclaimed wood wardrobe

It doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful and if you like the rustic wood look then there are loads more projects that you can get stuck into.

En-suite makeover

This project was a little more expensive but it was still all completed by myself. It makes a huge difference to the house and adds a ton of value. I learned some new skills along the way and we can now enjoy our privacy in this beautiful en-suite to our master bedroom.

The project took a little over a month to complete and we had a little downtime with the facilities but it was worth the wait.

Kitchen upgrade on a budget

Replacing the tiles and extending worktops in your kitchen can make a huge difference for a low cost. We did this very job when we moved into our new house and we’re extremely happy with the results. The previous owners painted their kitchen cupboards rather than replacing them which is another great way to save money. Rather than replacing the whole kitchen you can paint units and replace tiles for a whole new look and feel.

Our kitchen transformation took about 3 weeks and none of the appliances were removed so we could still cook and wash throughout the makeover. This meant no downtime and we didn’t need to find alternative accommodation whilst the work was being carried out.

Home improvements on a budget

I hope you like our ideas and projects and that you now have some ideas to apply to your own home. If you have some DIY skills then make good use of them. You can make the perfect home for very little cost if you know where to look and what to do. Plan your projects carefully and allow for slippage in budget.

I love sharing my experiences with our home makeovers and always happy to engage with like minded people so leave a comment below to open up a dialogue.

Thanks for reading and happy home makeover. Please take a look at some of my other projects here:

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