DIY Tips and Affordable Ways to Upgrade Your House

With summer fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to don your old paint-splattered shirt and tackle some DIY projects to give your living spaces a fresh new look. This comprehensive guide provides practical and budget-friendly tips for upgrading your home decor, while also focusing on sustainability, safety, personalization, and more. 

DIY Tips and Affordable Ways

Table of Contents


Painting Cabinets:

Georgina Burnett suggests painting kitchen units as an affordable way to refresh your kitchen. Start by removing cabinet doors and hardware, then clean surfaces thoroughly with sugar soap or methylated spirit. Lightly sand solid wood surfaces and apply a suitable primer. Finish with two coats of high-quality paint, such as Zinsser AllCoat, for a durable new look.

Changing Handles:

Sophie Clemson recommends swapping out old handles for a quick update. B&Q offers affordable and stylish options like Chervil brass handles, while Plank Hardware provides premium choices. This simple change can significantly alter the appearance of your kitchen.

Open Shelving:

Consider replacing some wall cupboards with open shelving to create a more modern and open feel. Scaffolding boards make excellent and affordable shelves, adding both function and style to your kitchen.


Painting Tiles:

Clemson advises painting outdated bathroom tiles to modernize the space. Clean and sand the tiles, then apply a suitable primer. Use specialized tile paint, like Rust-Oleum’s range, for a durable and fresh look. This project is cost-effective and can dramatically transform your bathroom.

Self-Adhesive Floor Tiles:

Self-adhesive floor tiles, such as Floorpops, are an easy and affordable way to update your bathroom flooring. Measure the area, clean the floor, and lay the tiles in your desired pattern. These tiles are renter-friendly and can be cut to fit with a Stanley knife.

Updating Accessories:

Amanda Foster suggests incorporating new towels, a shower curtain, or a statement mirror to refresh your bathroom. Swapping out old hardware like taps and light fixtures can also make a big impact without a significant investment.

Living Room

Cushions and Throws:

Clemson recommends updating cushions and throws to make your living room feel cozier. Affordable cushion covers are available at H&M Home, starting from £2.99. Add feather-filled inserts for a luxurious feel, available from retailers like House Scapes and John Lewis.

Use sustainable or recycled materials for your Do-it-Yourself project

Adding Plants:

Enhance your living room with plants. Trailing succulents can spruce up shelves, while a tall floor plant like an Areca palm can make a significant impact. Choose plants that thrive in the natural light of the room for the best results.

Creative Paint Techniques:

Poppy Ashworth suggests using paint to create different zones in an open-plan space or adding painted archways to create cozy nooks. Painting the ceiling and extending the color down the walls can add depth and interest to your living room.

Sustainability Tips

Eco-friendly Materials:

Use sustainable or recycled materials for your Do-it-Yourself project, such as reclaimed wood, recycled glass tiles, and eco-friendly paints. This approach not only helps the environment but can also add unique character to your house.

Energy Efficiency:

Improve energy efficiency by installing LED lighting, using thermal curtains to insulate windows, and sealing gaps to reduce heating and cooling costs. These changes can lower your energy bills and make your house more environmentally friendly.

Budget Management

Cost Estimates:

Provide a detailed cost breakdown for various projects to help manage your budget. For example, painting cabinets might cost £50-£100, tiling floors £200-£500, and updating handles £50-£100. This transparency helps prioritize and plan upgrades effectively.

Prioritizing Project:

Focus on high-impact, high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms first. Prioritizing these spaces can make the most noticeable difference and provide the greatest return on investment.

Safety Precautions

Safety Gear:

Emphasize the importance of wearing masks, gloves, and protective eyewear when painting or using chemicals. This simple step can prevent injuries and ensure a safe working environment.

Proper Ventilation:

Ensure proper ventilation by opening windows or using fans when working with strong-smelling or hazardous materials. This precaution helps maintain air quality and prevents health issues.

Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning:

Keep your new upgrades looking fresh with regular cleaning and maintenance. For example, clean painted surfaces with a mild detergent and avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the finish.

treat wooden surfaces during dry months

Seasonal Care:

Adjust care routines based on the season. For instance, treat wooden surfaces during dry months and ensure indoor plants receive adequate light and water throughout the year.


Custom Project:

Tailor Do-it-Yourself projects to your personal tastes and styles. Customize paint colors, choose unique handles, or add personalized shelving to make your house truly reflect your personality.

Inspiration Sources:

Find DIY inspiration from Pinterest boards, Do-it-Yourself blogs, and social media groups. These platforms offer a wealth of creative ideas and step-by-step guides to help you plan your projects.

Community and Collaboration

Do-it-Yourself Groups:

Engage with local or online Do-it-Yourself communities for support and idea sharing. Joining these groups can provide valuable insights, inspiration, and encouragement for your projects.

Workshops and Classes:

Attend local workshops or online classes to learn new skills and techniques. These resources can help you tackle more complex projects with confidence.

Tech Integration

Smart House Upgrades:

Incorporate simple and affordable smart house upgrades, such as smart bulbs or thermostats, to enhance your home’s functionality. These devices can also help save energy and improve convenience.

DIY Apps:

Use mobile apps for color matching, room layout planning, and project tracking. These tools can streamline your DIY projects and ensure professional-looking results.

Psychological Benefits

Mental Health:

Engaging in a Do-it-Yourself project can improve mental health by providing a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction. Creative activities are also a great way to reduce stress and boost mood.

Sense of Accomplishment:

Completing Do-it-Yourself projects can instill a sense of achievement and pride. Seeing the tangible results of your efforts can be incredibly rewarding and motivating.

Family Involvement

Family Project:

Encourage family members to participate in DIY projects, fostering teamwork and creativity. Working together on house improvements can also strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories.

Kid-friendly Activities:

Choose safe and easy projects suitable for children, such as painting small items or planting indoor gardens. Involving kids in Do-it-Yourself can teach them valuable skills and boost their confidence.

Before-and-After Examples: Success Stories to Inspire Your House Transformation

One of the most powerful motivators for embarking on a Do-it-Yourself house improvement project is seeing the incredible transformations others have achieved. Before-and-after photos and case studies provide tangible proof that with a bit of creativity and effort, you can significantly enhance your living space without breaking the bank. Here’s how showcasing success stories can inspire and guide you in your own DIY endeavors:

Why Before-and-After Examples Are Effective

1. Visualization: Before-and-after photos allow you to visualize the potential of a space. They show what can be accomplished with specific techniques and materials, making it easier to imagine similar changes in your own home.

2. Motivation: Seeing real-life examples of successful DIY projects can boost your confidence and motivation. If others can do it, so can you!

3. Guidance: Detailed case studies often include step-by-step processes, materials used, and lessons learned, providing invaluable guidance for your own projects.

Examples of Inspiring DIY Transformations

Example 1: Kitchen Makeover

Before: An outdated kitchen with dark, worn cabinets, old hardware, and dull walls.

After: The house owner painted the cabinets a fresh white, replaced the hardware with modern handles, and added a peel-and-stick backsplash. New lighting fixtures and a fresh coat of paint on the walls completed the transformation. The result was a bright, modern kitchen achieved on a modest budget.

Examples of Inspiring DIY Transformations

Materials Used:

Cabinet paint: Zinsser AllCoat (£18 per liter)

Hardware: Chervil brass handles from B&Q (£7 for a pack of two)

Peel-and-stick backsplash: Smart Tiles (£20 per pack)


 HGTV Kitchen Makeovers

Example 2: Bathroom Revamp

Before: A small, dated bathroom with old tiles, a dingy vanity, and lackluster lighting.

After: The tiles were painted with Rust-Oleum tile paint, the vanity was updated with a fresh coat of paint and new knobs, and the lighting was upgraded to energy-efficient LED fixtures. Additionally, the house owner added stylish, self-adhesive floor tiles for a complete makeover.

Materials Used:

– Tile paint: Rust-Oleum (£24.99 per tin)

– Floor tiles: Floorpops (£16 per pack)

– Lighting: LED fixtures from House Depot


Rust-Oleum DIY Bathroom Makeovers

Example 3: Living Room Refresh

Before: A drab living room with old furniture, bland walls, and minimal decor.

After: The room was transformed by rearranging the furniture, painting an accent wall, adding new cushions and throws from H&M Home, and incorporating plants for a touch of greenery. A statement mirror and new light fixtures added to the updated, cozy feel.

Materials Used:

– Paint: Farrow & Ball (£45 per 2.5L)

– Cushions: H&M Home (£2.99+ per cover)

– Plants: Local nursery (£10+ per plant)


 Apartment Therapy Living Room Makeovers

How to Find and Use Before-and-After Examples

Online Platforms: Websites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Do-it-Yourself blogs are treasure troves of before-and-after photos. Look for hashtags like Do-it-Yourself Makeover, Before and After, and House Improvement for inspiration.

Community Groups: Join online forums and social media groups dedicated to house improvement. Members often share their project successes and provide advice on materials and techniques.

House Improvement Shows: Shows on networks like HGTV or DIY Network feature detailed transformations and often include the house owner’s journey, providing both inspiration and practical tips.

Do-it-Yourself Books and Magazines: Publications like “Better Homes & Gardens” and “Real Simple” often feature detailed case studies and reader makeovers.


Including before-and-after photos and case studies of a successful Do-it-Yourself project in your planning process can be incredibly inspiring and educational. These real-life examples show that with creativity, effort, and the right materials, you can transform any space in your home. So, dive into these resources, get inspired, and start planning your own budget-friendly house upgrade!


 1. What are some affordable ways to update my kitchen?

Updating your kitchen can be done affordably by painting cabinets, changing handles, and adding open shelving. Using high-quality paint and new hardware can significantly refresh the look of your kitchen without a major renovation.

 2. How can I modernize my bathroom on a budget?

You can modernize your bathroom by painting outdated tiles, using self-adhesive floor tiles, and updating accessories like towels, shower curtains, and mirrors. Replacing old hardware such as taps and light fixtures can also make a big difference.

 3. What are some DIY projects that can improve my living room?

Enhancing your living room can be achieved through simple DIY projects like updating cushions and throws, adding plants, and using creative paint techniques to create zones or focal points. Rearranging furniture and adding decorative lighting can also transform the space.

 4. What materials should I use for sustainable home improvements?

For sustainable house improvements, consider using eco-friendly materials such as reclaimed wood, recycled glass tiles, and non-toxic paints. Energy-efficient upgrades like LED lighting and thermal curtains can also reduce your environmental impact.

 5. How do I prioritize house improvement projects on a tight budget?

Prioritize projects that offer the highest impact for the lowest cost, focusing on high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms first. Create a detailed cost breakdown and plan upgrades that fit within your budget while providing noticeable improvements.

 6. What safety precautions should I take during DIY home project?

Always wear safety gear such as masks, gloves, and protective eyewear. Ensure proper ventilation when using strong-smelling or hazardous materials, and follow all instructions for safe use of tools and chemicals.

 7. What are some easy DIY project suitable for kids?

Kid-friendly Do-it-Yourself projects include painting small items, creating indoor gardens, and doing simple crafts like making decorative wall art or repurposing old furniture. These activities are safe and can teach valuable skills while boosting creativity.

 8. How can I maintain my home improvements over time?

Regular cleaning and maintenance are key to keeping your house improvements looking fresh. Use mild detergents for cleaning painted surfaces, seasonally care for wooden surfaces, and ensure plants receive adequate light and water year-round.

 9. Where can I find inspiration for DIY home projects?

Inspiration for DIY home projects can be found on Pinterest, Do-it-Yourself blogs, and social media groups dedicated to house improvement. These platforms offer creative ideas, step-by-step guides, and community support.

 10. What are some smart home upgrades that are budget-friendly?

Affordable smart house upgrades include installing smart bulbs, thermostats, and security cameras. These devices can enhance the functionality of your house, improve energy efficiency, and provide added convenience without a significant investment.

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