UPDATE 17 March: Further benefit changes have been announced since this article...
DIY on a budget: 2. Revive your living room
Doing up your house on a budget isn’t easy, but there are some simple ways to bring the costs down. In this series of blogposts I’ll be looking at ways to spruce up your home without spending a fortune. I’ve scoured the web for straightforward, thrifty DIY solutions to make your house feel more homely.
Last time we looked at ways to brighten up your kitchen on a budget, and this week I’m casting my DIY eye to the living room.
Print your own posters
Posters are a quick fix when it comes to adding some colour to your walls, and with very little effort you can print your own for a fraction of the price of a bought one. There are loads of famous old posters out of copyright that you can download legally and for free online. To print off your poster, have a look in shops such as Staples. They’ve got poster printing facilities which can work out cheaper than buying one.
Make a thrifty picture frame
So now you’ve printed out your poster, why not frame it and make it a feature of your living room? You can easily make your own thrifty picture frame using wooden fence pickets. To make your frame look a bit more weathered, you can make a wood stain using ingredients from your kitchen. And voila…who knew that with some old wood and a bit of coffee you could make something that looks like this?!
Get creative with washi tape
Washi tape is originally from Japan and has quickly become a staple for anyone wanting to brighten up their home on a budget. Once you start using it, it’s pretty hard to stop (you’ll see). Washi tape is made from natural fibres, which make it as strong as duct tape and incredibly versatile. It comes in bright colours and patterns, and you can use it to customise pretty much anything! In your living room, you could use washi tape to add colour to your lampshades, windows, vases, coasters, coffee table, and even decorate your mantelpiece! I really like this old chest of drawers which was been completely revamped with washi tape.
If you want some more ideas, here are 56 ways to use Washi tape – I think that’ll be enough to get you started!
Make your own mood lighting
Candles are an instant way to make your living room feel more homely. Make your own mood lighting using an old glass jar and a tea light, and wrapping the jar in various materials. You can get a really good effect just by wrapping the jar in coloured paper, or by cutting up white paper to create a ruffled effect.
Remember the days when you had to get photos developed? Brush the dust off those old negative strips and wrap them around the jar. When you light the candle it’s guaranteed to bring back all of those old memories! (Just remember that heat can damage negative strips, so it’s a good idea to have them backed up before you try this.)
If you don’t have any old glass jars handy, you can always liven up the tea-light itself by wrapping a strip of washi tape around the base. Okay, enough of the washi tape for now…but really, it’s great stuff.
Quick and easy DIY lamp
Bring out those Christmas lights that only see the light of day for around two weeks a year and turn them into a feature light! All you need is an old vase or big jar.
Savvy shelving solutions
Before you head off to the furniture shop to buy some shelves, first think about whether you could make your own. There are loads (seriously loads) of things you can make shelves out of, and many of them will be lying around your house already. One of my favourite ideas is to take a drawer from an old chest of drawers and repurpose it as a shelf. If you don’t have a chest of drawers spare, you could always see if there is anyone offering one for free locally on sites such as Freegle or Freecycle.
There are plenty of ideas on how to make shelving using old ladders, wooden pallets, old pipes, or even bricks. All it takes is a bit of imagination! Keep an eye out for the next blogpost in this series, when I’ll be looking at DIY ways to revamp the kids’ bedroom on a budget.
In the meantime, sign up to our monthly MoneyAware newsletter for more handy money-saving tips and budgeting advice. If you have any handy hints when it comes to decorating on a budget, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!