Facing the same wallpaper for the last twenty years when seated on your sofa can (and will) eventually drive you crazy. Or tripping on the same coffee table every morning, before even having the chance to have a sip of your coffee. You don’t have to put off getting the house of your dreams until the day you become a millionaire. Whatever the depth of your pocket or your DIY skills, here are a few tips that will help you turn your same old house into a designer’s dream.
Less Is More
Yes, the Buckingham Palace might be full of golden cutlery sets and a gazillion portraits hanging on the walls and butlers… but. Your house isn’t the Buckingham Palace, butlers do not come cheap these days and gold has lost its value anyway. What all of the above mean is that now is the time to get rid of all those sneaky things that burrow into your house and become your long-term deadhead housemates. Wear gloves, have large garbage bags at reach and give a proper memorial to that set of doilies that dates back to the era of Richard the Third or to that three-legged chair that keeps moving in with you to every one of your houses since you were a student.
I Can See Clearly Now the Stain Is Gone
Do you remember the time when your carpet was self-coloured? Did your kitchen tiles start off as dazzling white but have ended up looking like an ashtray? No, you don’t have to put a mortgage on your house in order to renovate it; simply hire a carpet cleaner or/and a steam cleaner and start cleaning! There’s no point in spending a fortune on buying the equipment in order to deep clean your house, since it’s a procedure you only need to go through once every couple of years. You can also hire extra components and use the carpet cleaner on your upholstery to get rid of those annoying sauce stains on your sofa. Use the steam cleaner to remove residues and persistent stains from the kitchen and bathroom tiles, enameled surfaces and all stainless steel appliances.
Add Colour in Your Life (OK, Just Your Living Room)
Every house needs a good indoors re-plastering every few years; painting the walls or applying new wallpapers is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make the whole place look like new. If you are not especially keen on playing Picasso with your house walls, or if some rooms are in better condition than others, you can paint the walls in a central room (such as the living or dining room); the wow factor will still be there. Clear all furniture and rugs out of the way and cover the floor with plastic sheeting or dust sheets. If the wall you will be working on had a wallpaper layer on previously, use a Wallpaper Stripper to scrape it off; if it is previous layers of paint that you want to remove use a Hot Air Paint Stripper. All you have to do then is use the colour(s) or wallpaper of your choice to cover the wall(s). For those of us that could never make a living out of painting, there is a fantastic gadget out there to make things much easier; the Portable Airless Spray makes wall painting a joy!
* Tip: If you choose to apply a bright colour or wallpaper, it’s better to do so on only one wall surface (or, why not, the ceiling), painting the rest of the walls with matching, soft colour(s).
Bringing Your Furniture Back to Life
Do you now regret spending a fortune on that designers’ sofa that simply won’t match with the rest of the furniture or on a vintage armchair that is actually falling apart? You don’t have to spend another fortune on replacing them with new ones. All you have to do is restore those that are getting quite old and add a few personal touches here and there. Don’t revamp all your furniture at once because you risk ending up with furniture that don’t match; instead choose two or three wooden pieces of furniture (such as a wooden-arm sofa or an oak table) that occupy a central spot in your house and work on them. Start by giving them a thorough cleaning, using a rag and an oil-based wood cleaner. Tighten any screws that have become loose and replace the rusty ones. Then lightly dry-sand the finish with a sandpaper without worrying about removing all the finish. You can choose to refinish or paint it in a different colour. If you are working on a worn-out, wide surface (like a kitchen or a living room table) you can become even more original and stencil on it! Simply apply a base coat in the colour of your choice, then stencil and finish with a protective lacquer!
Get New Electrical Appliances… Without Actually Buying Any
If your oven or fridge work perfectly fine – and the voice inside your head tells you that you shouldn’t be spending any money on buying new ones – but they look dated and as though they escaped from the “Married with Children” studio, why not buy some peel and stick contact paper and turn them into small works of pop art or fake stainless steel modern ones?
It’s the Small Details that Count
Even if you have a limited budget, you can do wonders around the house, provided that you make the right moves! Instead of investing your whole budget on a sofa or a dining table (unless you absolutely have to) prefer to purchase small accessories and items that will make a difference. One idea is to buy fabric to sew new curtains and matching slipcovers. What’s more, you can replace your old door or kitchen cupboard knobs with new ones for just a small amount of money. Unhanging those old paintings (or, even better, your grandma’s oil-on-canvas portrait) and hanging some frames with family photos or a few posters from your favourite movies or cities, will bring an air of renovation to your living room and bedrooms. Last but not least, lighting plays an important role in the overall result; you can easily get rid of your old lampshades and opt for new ones that will add a modern touch to your living space.
* Tip: Do you make the most of your furniture and available space? Remember that just by rearranging the furniture in a room you can make better use of the space, turn the spotlight to previously neglected corners or furniture and create the feeling of a totally renovated room!
Tidy Up your Garden
You know how they say that “change comes from within”? Well, when it comes to houses you can work towards the opposite direction and start with your garden (I know, it’s not the looks that counts, but who doesn’t stop to admire a well-preserved garden?). You don’t have to go over the top here and try to simulate the Gardens of Babylon (unless you want to); simply hire the appropriate gardening equipment and spend a nice Sunday morning in your garden (yes, breaks for tea or lemonade are allowed, so you can make this an opportunity to turn a sluggish Sunday morning into a creative day)! You can also visit the nearest garden centre and buy a few new flowers to plant to add a bit of colour to your garden!
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