I'm a DIY pro & here's some surprisingly cheap hacks on transforming your home from bland to chic for less than £10 | The SunFebruary 21, 2023
WITH the rising cost-of-living, more and more people are looking for cheap ways to improve their home whilst keeping costs low.
However, experts have revealed that while some large-scale jobs require a big budget, it is certainly possible to see a massive improvement to your home by taking some affordable steps.
DIY experts at SGS Engineering, say there are simple things like upcycling furniture, refreshing paintwork, and other small adjustments which can make a big difference to your living space.
Dave Gordon, who works at SGS Engineering, has revealed his ten top tips to keep your house looking fresh – and each of them costs £10 or less.
Decoupage an old table to personalise it
Decoupaging refers to the covering of a surface with paper, meaning you could personalise an old table with anything you like – such as newspaper cut outs, paper patterns, or anything else you can think of.
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Dave says: “The main thing you need for this job is a wooden table. It doesn’t matter if the table is stained or discoloured – it’s better to upgrade a table in bad shape when completing this job!
The first thing to do is to sand the table down, as any top layer on the wood may cause the decoupage to break off.
“Once you’ve done this, you can apply the decoupage glue to the table, and then to the back of the paper.
“From here you just want to stick the paper down in the desired pattern, and then smooth it down with something flat.
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“About half an hour later you can apply decoupage glue directly onto the paper, and maybe another layer again once this has dried – that’s it, your personalised table is ready!
“Feel free to sand the edges and paint the other areas of the table (you might want to do this before you start).”
Spruce up your bed’s headboard with rattan
Rattan bed frames are trending, with a 23 per cent rise in searches over the last year.
Dave says: “Spruce up your headboard using a sheet of rattan, which you can buy from online retailers like eBay by the foot.
“Firstly, place the sheet against your headboard to measure what size you will need and cut with a scissor, making sure you have a precise fit. Next, give the rattan a quick rinse and then staple it along the long sidebars.
Upcycling your furniture on-the-cheap to get the look is easy using self-adhesive plastic sheets
“You can always refine the fit by tidying up the ends and cutting off any part of the sheet which extends beyond the sidebars, and you’re done.”
Upcycle your furniture with marble effect sheets
Searches for ‘marble top coffee table’ are up 50 per cent in the last three months alone. While marble top tables can cost a bomb, getting a table with the same effect does not have to be as expensive as it seems.
Dave says: “Upcycling your furniture on-the-cheap to get the look is easy using self-adhesive plastic sheets.
Once you have found a retailer selling a plastic sheet with a marble effect (or any other effect you like) you can start by placing the sheet over the top of your table and tuck in the ends underneath.
“To make sure you have a tight fit, use a credit card or something similar to smoothen the edges which hides the fact you’ve even used a plastic sheet in the first place.
“And that’s it – you've just cleverly hidden all the old stains and scratches by placing a new layer over your table which not only looks stylish but is much cheaper than buying a new table.”
Update your door handles
Removing old and plain door handles for something more interesting can be an easy way to add a bit of character to your house, and it’s an easy DIY job to take on.
Dave says: “You could use Facebook Marketplace, eBay or even pay nothing with a site like Freecycle to pick up some cool door handles for less than £10.
“Often, you’ll only need a screwdriver to remove the existing door handles, and to add in the new ones.
“Before you get started you will want to make sure that the door is held open about halfway by a door stop so you can access both sides easily.
“Then, remove the existing handle by either pushing the handle’s pressure release in with a screwdriver (look for a small slot in the side of the knob or handle) or by unscrewing the knobs or handles if you yours doesn’t have one.
“Remove any screws that are holding the cover plates in place and pry them off with a flat-head screwdriver. Next, take out the screws holding the inner latch and inner plates in place.
“Finally, pull out the latch plate and door latch mechanism and you should be left with holes in your door where you can install the new door handle.
“Measure this space before you buy your new handle as you will want to make sure that it fits and that it has similar plates (for example rectangular instead of circular).
“Follow the above steps backwards, putting the door handle back together and locking it in place with screws and your new door handle should be good to go.”
Filling paint dimples in your walls using a shower squeegee
Have you ever noticed paint dimples on your walls leaving behind a bumpy look? With this easy hack, you can quickly smooth these out and quick your walls a fresh look.
Dave says: “All you will need is a shower squeegee and new paint. Apply a good layer of fresh paint on the wall and work it into and around the dimples by spreading it with the squeegee.
“Now just let it sit for a while and see the difference – your wall is looking much smoother again.”
Modernise old cabinets quickly
Buying new cabinets can be costly, but it’s not always necessary.
Dave says: “Some cabinets have legs with curved edges which can look old fashioned when aiming for a modern look. Some TikTok users have used a jigsaw to cut the legs into a straight line.
Spruce up your headboard using a sheet of rattan, which you can buy from online retailers like eBay by the foot
“Don’t forget to wear safety goggles and put your cabinet in a stable position before you get started.
“Then, mark a diagonal line across the cabinet legs with a pencil and a ruler, and cut along the line with a jigsaw.
“The no longer wanted part should come off easily when you knock on it with a hammer afterwards.”
Sandpaper or scrape any wooden items or surfaces that look weathered and re-varnish
If you have any wooden items in your home that look a bit worn, a simple varnish may be all you need.
Dave says: “Firstly, start off by scraping off any old varnish using a cabinet scraper or a chisel. While these tools need frequent sharpening, they tend to work faster than sandpaper.
“Then, using a varnish of your choice, apply a fresh layer. On horizontal surfaces, you can apply it a bit thicker as gravity will help it level while on vertical surfaces you should use a little less.
“When the first layer is dry it’s ready for some light sanding with a scraper. With water-based varnish, repeat this process three times, while softwood usually takes five coats.
“Before the final coat, only sand lightly and make sure the surface is free of dust to ensure a smooth finish.”
Make a macrame plant hanger
Macrame is a craft and art form which uses knots to create different types of textiles. While it looks a little complicated at first glance, if you can wrap your head around this you can use it to creatively spruce up your home.
Dave says: “Plant hangers are gathering lots of popularity now, with YouTubers posting tutorials and Google searches for ‘macrame plant hanger diy’ up 22 per cent in the last three months.
“You only need a short list of simple materials: Macrame cord, scissors, tape, plants and pots.
“Once you have tied the knots together, grab a nearby plant pot and hang it on your wall for a stylish décor.”
Refresh old tile grout
Tile grout is the dense liquid that bonds and seals joints between tiles, most commonly found in kitchen or bathrooms.
Plant hangers are gathering lots of popularity now
However, over time bacteria and dirt collects around the grout which can make them look faded or discoloured.
Dave says: “Grout can be quite hard to clean using conventional methods.
"Luckily, you don’t need to replace the tiles to get a fresh look.
“A tube of grout revive from your local DIY store can cost less than £5.
“Simply squeeze the tube over discoloured areas and wait for it to dry.
“Some grout revivers even provide anti mould treatment while giving your tiles a new look.”
Replace silicone around the house
Much like grout, the silicone around your shower and sinks will deteriorate over time and may eventually get damaged or break off.
Dave says: “Before placing a new layer on top, it is recommended to remove all the old silicone first using a utility knife.
“Next, make sure to clear any residue that has been left behind and clean the area with denatured alcohol.
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“Before you apply the new seal, bring some tape and place it around all the edges you want to reseal to prevent spill over.
“Using new sealant, which you can pick up from your nearest DIY store for less than £10, slowly close the gap and smoothen the new finish with a caulking tool.”
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