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I'm a Homes Editor and here's how to boss renovating on a budget

10 house renovation tips to help you save money while creating your dream home

diy renovation tips
Rachel Avery
Homes Editor
October 26, 2023
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So you've scrimped and saved for your house deposit, covered the solicitors fees and moving costs, but what about the money left in the pot for renovations? If you've found yourself without a huge amount of cash to flip your dream home, don't worry because I'm here to tell you that it can be done successfully on a budget. 

We've been in our first home for two years now, and I can finally say that the decorating is pretty much done. We tackled it room by room and DIY-ed where we could. Here are my ultimate tips for keeping costs down while renovating…

1. DIY where you can

First things first, you're going to need to get your hands dirty. It's amazing how much money you can save by learning how to do things yourself. YouTube has a wealth of content to help you master everything from putting a shelf up to mitre cutting your own skirting boards. 

chest of drawers
I upcycled these drawers with green paint and gold spray paint for the handles

2. Try your hand at upcycling  

If you've already got some furniture but It's a bit drab, instead of buying new, how about giving it a new lease of life? A lick of paint can work wonders and it's so much cheaper than forking out for new. 

 3. Call in friends and family help

This is something that saved us so much money, and I understand it's not an option for everyone, but if you have friends and family nearby who are willing to lend a hand, don't be afraid to take them up on their offer. Labour is a major cost when it comes to renovating, so if you limit paying for it, it will save you big time. Just be sure to stock up on tea, biscuits and post-work beers to say thank you to your volunteers!

 4. Don't do it all at once

When you move into a new property and it needs a bit of work, it can be tempting to tackle everything in one go but that's a sure-fire way to burn through your budget and it will also leave you exhausted mentally and physically. By working one room at a time, you'll give yourself a chance to earn more money to put towards each project. Take your time and enjoy the process!

diy toolbox
I got stuck in with DIY right away

 5. Compromise where you can

This might not be what you want to hear, but sometimes you just have to settle for second best. Can't afford blinds just yet? Net curtains are a much cheaper alternative. Still saving for new flooring? Make do with large rugs for now. Dream bathroom a vision for the future? Add new accessories to spruce it up in the meantime.

 6. Shop around

When you find the perfect piece for your new abode, you may be surprised at the price (case in point: me realising that curtains were so spenny – who knew?). However, taking your time to shop around can help you find a bargain. You can use Google Lens to search the web for the item in the hopes of finding a sale or a more affordable version.  

kitchen before and after
Friends and family helped lay the flooring that transformed my kitchen

 7. Know when to pay for expert skills

Despite being a DIY advocate and also recommending that you use your friends and family to help where possible, I do have to say that expert skills are sometimes needed and that should be where your budget is sensibly spent. Otherwise, if you try and tackle an ambitious job like plumbing and it messes up, it can cost you way more in the long run. 

READ: How to paint your walls perfectly according to a pro painter

 8. Fake it where possible

This might not be everyone's cup of tea, but in our home, we've cut a few corners by faking it! Our fireplace hearth for example gets a whole load of compliments but it is crafted from stickers rather than actual tiles – a much cheaper option. Also, instead of a real log burner, I've created a faux log burner with a cut piece of guttering, partly due to environmental reasons but also a winner when it comes to cost!

tile stickers
I cheated my way to a pretty fireplace with tile stickers

 9. Make your own artwork 

If you're feeling creative, you can seek to save a lot on artwork by simply making your own. I use Canva to make my own prints as it's super easy and that way I can get the exact colour and design I want.

READ: 8 savvy home upgrades to add £70k to your property price

10. Mix up your hardware 

Keeping costs down and buying affordable furniture from places like Ikea, Argos and B&M? Then one way you can make them appear more expensive is by switching up the hardware. You can order new handles in seconds on sites like eBay and Etsy and they will totally transform their look. 

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