It’s easy to assume that property renovation is an expensive, time-consuming, and complicated business, so we learn to live with a home that’s never quite as good as it could be – and one that suffers from zero kerb appeal.
However, making your property more appealing doesn’t have to cost the earth, and here are 10 ten easy and cheap ways to dramatically improve your home on a budget.
Martin Leigh via Getty Images
Sprucing up the outside of your property can dramatically change the way you feel about your home. The priorities should be to ensure that the woodwork is in good condition, the front door has a fresh coat of paint, and the door hardware is good quality. It doesn’t take an awful lot of work to make a major difference.
PM Images via Getty Images
When our lives are so busy, it’s easy to have all sorts of little maintenance jobs left to do in the garden and on the outside of the house that we never quite get round to. But while repainting the fence and repairing the front steps can seem like a low priority, they are affecting you every time you go in or out of your house. If you set aside a weekend for these little jobs, you never have to feel a pang of guilt when you arrive at the bottom of the drive again.
Suzie Gibbons via Getty Images
If you have green fingers, your garden can make a bold statement on the street, and be a joy to look out on. A beautiful garden is a really rewarding way to make your home more attractive.
If you hate gardening, you don’t have to write it off as a loss. Installing a paved area with comfortable seating means you have a large area of the garden that’s easy to maintain, and at the same time you have a lovely spot in which to wind down on a summer evening. Team it with evergreens, ornamental stones and plenty of bark, and you’ll have a low-maintenance and useful space.
Richard Newstead via Getty Images
Most of us never really think of the drive, because it usually has the car on it. However, it can make a major difference to the appearance of the house – especially for visitors.
If money is no object, you could invest in stone paving for a truly spectacular drive. On a smaller budget you can still dig up the drive and lay tarmac, edged with bricks, for a neat finish. And even on a shoestring you can edge with stones and lay gravel over the existing drive.
Peter Anderson via Getty Images
When you open most front doors, you’re assaulted with coats, shoes, and all the usual clutter dumped by the front door.
Decluttering is the best way to instantaneously make your house look twice as big. Fortunately this doesn’t mean throwing away half of all the things you own (although it would certainly help), instead you need to plan your storage more effectively.
In the hallway this can mean high level shelves for bags and low level cupboards for shoes, but it also pays to a walk round each room and think carefully about what items need a home, and the best way to find one.
Storage within storage is a brilliant way to get more from less. If you have room for a small coat cupboard in the hall, for example, storage on the inside of the doors can house hats, scarves, gloves and even shoes at the same time.
Julie Paul, Head of Interior Design at OKA says: “Trunks and chests are excellent when space is at a premium. Not only are they ideal for hiding objects and paperwork, they look stylish and can double up as side tables.”
Brogues Cozens-Mcneelance / EyeEm via Getty Images
Flooring has an enormous impact on your home, especially when you first open the door, and old-fashioned carpets, or tired old flooring will date every single room.
If your carpets are unfashionable and unpleasant, you can consider taking them up, sanding the floorboards, filling the gaps, and then varnishing the boards. It’s time-consuming but inexpensive.
If you have less time and more money, new carpeting doesn’t have to break the bank - especially if you time your purchase for an end of season sale. But if all of this is beyond the budget, and the carpets are reasonably neutral, then you can hire a professional carpet cleaner instead, who can work wonders.
Daniel Loiselle via Getty Images
Don’t stop at the carpets: you’ll be astonished at the difference a team of professional cleaners can make. Cleaning the windows and light fittings will make everything brighter and lighter on the inside, and more attractive on the outside too.
Scrubbing woodwork, surfaces, and grouting, meanwhile, will make everything feel fresher and newer, and polishing silverware and door furniture will make a home look more loved. They can even use pressure hoses in the garden for a sparkling patio and a moss-free front path.
A hallway can make a great first impression – or a terrible one. If you’re concerned that it feels dull or dingy it’s worth investing in a new light fitting with multiple bright bulbs.
If you are lucky enough to have a large and open hallway, a statement light fitting speaks volumes about the grandeur of the place. You don’t have to spend the earth either, because there are all sorts of surprising solutions in DIY shops and budget chains as well as high-end interiors shops.
Paul says: “Getting your lighting right is possibly the single most important decision you will make when decorating a room. Lighting is not simply a matter of function - lamps can be objects of beauty and the right choice can transform the character of your room.”
Richard Cummins via Getty Images
Magnolia all over is easy, and simple, but painting can actually be used to solve problems with certain rooms. Large rooms can feel cosier with darker colours, while very pokey rooms can be opened up with the brightest of whites. Even a fresh coat of the same colour will lift a room.
If you want to make a statement, or for your home to feel more fashionable, then painting a statement wall in something bold (or opting for a striking wallpaper) is a simple solution, because you always know that when you’re tired of it, it’s easy and cheap to repaint in something even more up-to-the-minute.
Jacek Kadaj via Getty Images
Once you get inside a property and past the first impressions, the kitchen and bathroom will be a major focus. Both are incredibly expensive to redo from scratch, but both can be transformed on a budget.
If your kitchen is looking tired, you don’t need to spent thousands on new units, you can repaint or replace the doors, handles and taps with something more fashionable, and have a completely new look for a few hundred pounds - or even less.
With a slightly larger budget, you can employ a kitchen resurfacing company, who will take cabinet drawers and doors off, refinish the cabinets and add new doors and drawer fronts. It’ll look like a whole new kitchen, but at the fraction of the cost.
In many cases, the fact that the bathroom looks tired is entirely cosmetic, and scrubbing the grouting, replacing shower curtains, bath mats, towels, toilet seats and unfashionable towel rails and toilet roll holders will make an enormous difference.
It’s also worth considering a new floor covering, as in many cases you won’t even need to remove the old one for a new finish.