Frugality blogger Alex Stedman and her husband Chris are completing their transformation of a tired north London terrace house, using a sander, paint and elbow grease.
Alex and her husband Chris saved hard for years for the mortgage deposit to buy their home and got a bargain — because the place was so dreadful.
Saving is a serious subject for these two, who also want to save the world. They are dedicated to restoring their home carefully, well and never wastefully.
“The estate agent said we’d need to spend an extra £100,000,” Alex says. Instead the couple have spent £30,000-40,000 so far, going room by room, saving money by hunting down bargains and salvaging unwanted furniture.
Here are Alex's top tips for renovating your home on a budget:
1. Store all unused paint, well sealed, and reuse it. Don’t waste!
2. When renovating, clear out and paint one room to live in. It’s cheap and quick.
3. Gently hand-sand and paint floorboards and add inexpensive rugs.
4. Use the high street and buy big items such as sofas on discount. Don’t be a label snob. Ikea’s very good for lighting, chairs, cushions and baskets. Topps Tiles are great.
5. Don’t over-restore old things. A bit of history is attractive.
6. Groups of cheap prints and pictures work well, frame them yourself. Alex spent £10 max on each. Scour student art shows and car boot sales.
7. Never throw old floorboards away — they are useful for patching later on.
8. A bit of historic woodworm damage is fine, as long as it is superficial. Treat it if you are worried about it.
9. Seek out craftspeople keen to restore and mend, rather than those who say it can’t be done.
10. Strip old painted handles for a new lease of life.
11. Be creative. Alex bought a loo and cistern connected by a steel pipe, then changed the pipe for a brass one. It cost less than buying the brass option in store.
12. Always have a good look round when at the dump. These days, thoughtful people put useful things where they can be salvaged and reused by others.
13. Recycle using Gumtree because the buyer collects. A good photo helps.
Above all else, bask in the satisfaction that comes from restoring something to its former glory while saving money and helping the environment in the process.
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.