How to make a doer-upper house liveable on a budget
Brought to you by permanent tsb
So you’ve finally found the house of your dreams.
Problem is - the interior is the stuff of nightmares. Never fear, there are lots of things you can do on a budget to make it liveable until you can afford to really do it up. Remember, your journey with a house should be more marathon than sprint.
If you can see beyond dated wallpaper and manky carpets and spot potential in a property, that’s great because many people can’t. This means that you can swipe a bargain from under their noses and do it up over time.
Embrace that dodgy decor
Some might call your carpet awful, you prefer to call it “retro” and that avocado bathroom suite is sure to come back into fashion any minute now, right?
Get stuck in
If you’ve got some DIY skills, now’s the time to put them to good use. If not, let’s hope you’re a quick learner. A word of warning, though – watching a YouTube DIY video doesn’t make you an expert!
Know your limits
Leave any major structural work to the actual experts. Don’t take on things like plastering, tiling or laying floors unless you really know what you’re doing. Online tutorials and sheer pigheadedness will only get you so far - it’s best to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals.
In the meantime, there are plenty of interiors hacks that will give you a for-now fix. Try the new contact paper (yes, that stuff you used to cover your school books with!) that can make a splashback look like a tiled wall and a cheap countertop appear to be marble. You can even get that exposed brickwork look with a cleverly-placed sheet of embossed wallpaper.
A paint job can work wonders
If your walls are in decent condition, painting can really transform a house and it’s something you can easily do yourself. Make sure to test your paint colour out properly – that “Soft Plum” might not look quite so soft once you’ve covered the whole room in it.
Add some framed prints – you can get great designs for as little as €10 everywhere from Penneys to Etsy.com – to bring your blank canvas to life. If you don’t want to commit to hanging, arrange them on a shelf or even just place larger pieces on the floor and lean against the wall. Simples.
Give your kitchen a make-over
Are your kitchen cupboards looking dated? Why not paint them too? You could get your kitchen professionally spray-painted for €1,000+ or you could paint it yourself for about €100 if you’re feeling brave.
Everyone will say “Don’t!” but ignore them all and do it anyway.
Swap out the handles (known in the trade as the ‘hardware’ – see you’re an instant expert) for modern looks, or add some the cute, ornate knobs that are available in lots of high street stores. It will look and feel like a new kitchen.
Is there buried treasure under the carpets?
If the carpets are in a terrible state check underneath them and see what the floorboards are like. Sanding and painting the floorboards can give them a whole new lease of life and will save you having to re-carpet the house just now.
Add a statement rug and a few houseplants and you will be ready to take a million Insta photos of your space.
Furnish your house on a shoestring
Stalk second-hand websites like Done Deal and Adverts.ie. You’ll be amazed at the bargains you can find. Some people even give away furniture for free if you’re willing to come and pick it up.
Naturally, you’ll have to filter out a lot of rubbish. Sometimes one man’s trash is just trash!
Catch the upcycling bug
Upcycling is big news these days and upcycled furniture is bang on trend. There are plenty of upcycling courses you can do to pick up some skills and build up your confidence. Add a coat of chalkpaint and some patterned lining paper to give a new look to an old chest of drawers or shelving unit. Chairs and sofas can be reupholstered for a new lease of life.
Have a root in your local charity shops for items you can upcycle. Not only does old furniture have far more character, it’s often much better quality than modern reproductions and there’s nothing more satisfying than having someone admire a piece that you fixed up for next to nothing. Plus, you get to BRAG about your one-of-a-kind, customised pieces. Oh that old thing? I made it myself...
Look on the bright side
Not being able to afford to do much right now might even be a blessing in disguise. It’s actually a good idea to move into a house and get a feel for it before spending too much money on décor and furniture. Just as well, since you have no money to spend!
People buying new builds off the plans often buy all their furniture without ever setting foot in the house and can later find that something doesn’t suit the room or they got a measurement wrong and that brand new sofa won’t fit in the living room. (We know one person who had to have the glass in their front window taken out to get the sofa in!)
Living in the house for a bit can help you come up with new ideas for the layout of the rooms and give you a better sense of what would work where. And milk crates can actually be quite comfy once you get used to sitting on them… Nope! We made that last one up.
Brought to you by permanent tsb
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