Homes and Gardens: Home improvements: three steps to restyling your home
Spring is a perfect time to give your home a spruce-up and redecorating can be an expensive business. But it doesn’t have to be. Bristol Credit Union – who have been helping local people make the most of their money for over 20 years- have put together three low-cost ways to restyle your home on a budget.
James Berry, CEO of Bristol Credit Union says “Whether it’s a lick of paint, or a new kitchen, we know how important it is to get home improvements right. Last year we issued loans worth over £327,000, helping local people bring their home makeovers to life. With some simple planning, you can help your DIY budget – however big or small- go further”.
1. Colour up!
If there’s one thing that can give a room the wow-factor, it’s colour.
Pick a great colour scheme for your walls, floor and key furnishings, and you’ll be well on the way to a stylish look. There’s no need to go on a massive spending spree either – you can coordinate your colours at low cost by picking up bargains and revamping what you’ve got already (see below).
But which colours should you choose? The advice from Zoe Hewett, local Bristol interior designer, is “ignore the trends and follow your heart”.
“It’s hard to stay on top of trends as the ‘in’ colours are always changing. But pick what you truly love and you’ll stay happy with it. You’ll spend less money too, as you won’t feel the need to constantly update.
“I recommend going with a ‘monochromatic colour scheme’, i.e. using different shades of more or less the same colour. So if you picked purple, you could use everything from dark aubergine to pale grey-violet. To keep things interesting, include a variety of textures (woolly, shiny, soft etc.) in the room, and you can always add a ‘punch’ of a contrasting colour.
“When you limit your colour like this, it’s hard to go wrong!”
Top money-saving tip:
Re:store in Knowle West stock paint that’s been leftover from other projects, but is still as good as new. Pay them a visit to pick up some great-value colours at just £2 per litre.
2. Go bargain hunting
When you’re strapped for cash, it can be tempting to head for a ‘rent-to-own’ store like BrightHouse to spread your furniture costs. But their high interest rates mean you’ll end up paying a massive amount in total – much more than the same goods would normally cost you on the high street.
So save yourself a pile of money, and go on a bargain hunt! With many fantastic deals to be had on home furnishings, there’s no need to pay over the odds. (And if you still need to spread the cost, an Everyday Loan is a much more affordable option.)
A great way to bag a deal is to buy second-hand. You’ll often pay a fraction of what a new item costs – even if it’s nearly new or spotless. Try hunting for furniture in charity shops like Sue Ryder, British Heart Foundation and Emmaus, and online on Gumtree and Facebook selling groups. And don’t forget to visit Freecycle and SnaffleUp to hunt down some fantastic freebies!
Top money-saving tip:
When buying second-hand, look for quality, sturdy items. As long as it’s built to last, don’t be put off by a little surface damage (you’ll see why in a minute!)
If your second-hand treasures are suffering from scratches or stains, never fear – that’s where upcycling comes in.
Upcycled table and chairs, Images (c) Zoe Hewett Interiors
Upcycling lets you transform tired furniture into something funky and fun. You can add your own style and apply your colour scheme too – all for next to nothing.
For a simple yet stunning effect, try decoupage. It may sound fancy but it’s actually easy to do. Simply cover your surface with thin pieces of coloured paper, then seal it with varnish for a paint-like finish.
For guaranteed smoothness, it’s worth buying Decopatch paper. You can stick the paper with PVA glue and top it off with water-based acrylic varnish (available in hardware shops).
Another great way to re-colour furniture is with chalk paint. It’s excellent for covering up old surfaces, and because it’s thick you don’t usually need to sand down first (though it’s a good idea to treat wood with woodworm fluid). For instant style, try stencilling chalk paint on to walls or furniture. You can pick up cheap stencils from eBay.
Top money-saving tip:
Chalk paint can be fairly expensive, so make your own – it’s quick and cheap to do.
Need help financing your home improvements? Bristol Credit Union offer loans from £100 – £15,000, with rates as low as 4.9% APR representative for loans of £7,500 +*.
To find out more visit www.bristolcreditunion.org/home-improvement-loan