For many of us the arrival of spring heralds new DIY and home renovation projects but, with purse strings tightening due to COVID and BREXIT any way we can save money whilst sprucing up our home is especially welcome.
Here are some ideas you might want to try to maximise your budget.
Save money with carpet remnants
I’ve talked before about my preference for carpeted floors – especially when it comes to kids. I just find carpet the most practical solution, not only when it comes to adding colour and texture to a room but also for protecting flooring such as expensive laminates or tiling and minimising the risk of injury to accident prone toddlers.
Carpet with a thick underlay is also a great weapon in your armoury against noisy neighbours and perennially cold feet!
Now you might think that carpet is not a cost-effective option when it comes to home renovation or just refreshing your living space but I’ve learned that you don’t have to pay over the odds for high-quality carpet. The secret? Carpet remnants.
No, not those sample squares I used to carpet my dolls house with, but the offcuts and what’s left on rolls from larger jobs. They aren’t big enough to carpet a whole house, but when doing a single room renovation they’re ideal. It’s something I’ve never considered before but it makes perfect sense in these cash-strapped times.
Try a site like Designer Carpet – their remnants are more than half price, so you should be able to grab a bargain.
You need to know your size though
Because remnants come in set sizes, you will need to measure up for your carpet yourself and ensure you buy a piece that is big enough for your room. It’s not hard to do, but you will need a stiff metal tape measure, a pencil and a notepad and some graph paper.
It’s worth doing a little research online for a good carpet-measuring guide to check for pointers you might not have thought of – like remembering to include doorways when you measure the hall or always measuring at the widest point of the step if you have winding stairs.
If all this is starting to sound like your kids’ latest maths lesson on Zoom, you could always consult a local carpet fitter and ask them to measure up for you and then fit once the carpet arrives. You can find accredited fitters on the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers website.
Mix “High End” with “Low End”
Whilst having the latest designer look is very appealing, you can get away with a mix and match approach to your home styling. Personally, I would advise against trying to save money on doors, windows, insulation or home security. But in our home we have a couple of more expensive pieces from John Lewis mixed with good old IKEA basics like Billy Bookshelves.
If you have kids or pets it makes sense to limit the number of items that can be damaged – unless you want to pay for accidental damage on your home insurance policy!
We also have lots of paintings and artworks from family artists adorning our walls for a personal touch.
A practical approach is to create your own mood board with the colours and textures you want to put together – use sample pots of paint and fabric remnants to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration – why not create a pinterest board for each room to inspire you?
Once you’ve decided on your overall look and style and are ready to buy, try to wait for the sales and pay cash if you can.
Another great reason for balancing high and low-end fixtures and fittings is that an expensive home refurb may not necessarily add value to your home when it’s time to move.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
A good declutter is a great starting point for any home renovation project. It’s hard to appreciate the space you have and its design potential if it’s crammed to the rafters with junk. But, with lots of tips and recycling centres closed, what can you do if you need to offload items like furniture and kitchen equipment?
Believe it or not, Facebook may be the answer. See if your local area has a ‘reuse’ group where you can offer items to the local community to see if anyone has need of them. Our local reuse group page is thriving and you’d be amazed at the things people offer – and that are willingly taken – anything from spare decking, tiles, light fittings, removed double-glazed windows and plant pots. Old tins of paint are snapped up, as are blinds and curtains that are no longer needed. Items are all donated, rather than sold and simply placed outside for collection.
There is, of course, an etiquette to being a member of these groups – don’t take more than you give and don’t always be the first to ask for something – many pages insist on a Fair Offer Policy which means waiting until a number of requests have been made and then deciding on a fair and equitable basis.
If you’ve time on your hand and there is no group local to you, why not start your own? That said, if you need to make some cash you could try selling old fixtures on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. I have previously sold on eBay but, be warned, it can be an exhausting process and you need to be aware that fees are charged not only for listing but also for payments received via Paypal.
There really is no need to spend a fortune on home renovations with a practical approach and some solid project management skill. The most important thing, as anyone who has watched the TV programme Grand Designs will tell you, is to make a budget – and stick to it!