Direct Line magazine

8 low-cost ways to improve your home

Updated on: 22 May 2020

A woman paints a wall blue.

Fancy revamping your home, but don't have a big budget to make changes? There are plenty of things you can do to improve your property which won't break the bank.

Here are eight ways you can update your home without spending thousands.

1. Get decorating

If you can't remember the last time you redecorated the rooms in your house, it's time to get the paintbrushes out.

Painting is one of the cheapest DIY jobs you can do and yet it often has the biggest impact, particularly if you're changing the colour scheme. Make sure you prepare the walls properly before proceeding, by filling any holes and stripping back and sanding any peeling paint.

2. Change door handles

Even just changing all the door handles around your home can have a dramatic impact on the overall look of your property. Earlier this year DIY store Homebase reported an increase of 77% in sales of door knobs and handles compared to the previous year.

A new door knob can cost as little as £1.99, so even if you change every handle in the house, it shouldn't ruin you financially.

Different colour picture frames

3. Review your pictures

Swapping around paintings and photos that have been on the same walls for years can update rooms. If your walls are bare, then why not frame some photos and get them up?

Clustering a few black and white pictures in either black or white frames can give a contemporary feel to your room. If you're keen on buying artwork, but find it too expensive, check out for affordable original paintings.

4. Clear out the clutter

If you feel you can barely move for clutter, have a good clear out and get rid of items you no longer need or want. Sell them at a boot sale or on eBay and you'll not only have more space, but also some extra cash in your pocket. Invest in some storage for the things you want to keep so that they aren't just sitting there gathering dust.

5. Re-tile a floor

If you've got a bathroom or kitchen with cracked grubby tiles, replacing them might not be as expensive as you think. According to, materials to re-tile a 3m x4m floor would cost around £285, based on tiles costing just under £16 per sq m and adhesive and grout costing £75.

Labour costs would typically cost between £400 and £600 depending on what type of floor is being removed, meaning the total job would set you back from £685 to £885.

6. Upcycle furniture

Recent research from Homebase found that 43% of people are happy to upcycle furniture to give rooms a new lease of life. Look around your home for any chests of drawers or cupboards that are past their best, and transform them with a lick of paint.

The shabby chic look is bang on trend at the moment, so once you've painted a piece of furniture, rub with some sandpaper to reveal a bit of the wood beneath and then finish with a layer of furniture wax.

Man varnishing a piece of wood

7. Save energy

If you're fed up with your home feeling freezing even when the heating is cranked up, a few simple energy-saving measures could help keep you warmer and cut your energy bills. Start by draught-proofing windows and doors and see if you can get financial help with bigger improvements.

Local authorities and energy suppliers often provide grants to help you implement energy saving measures in your home, such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. For more information, visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

8. Tackle the garden

Don't forget to look at ways you can improve the outside of your home as well as the inside. Trim back any trees or shrubs that might be obscuring the natural light in your home and pull out any weeds that have taken over your flowerbeds.

You should also regularly rake up leaves and make sure they aren't blocking any gutters attached to your home.

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