Money Matters Team

DIY home makeover... the bloggers' way

By Money Matters Team 29/04/2016

The thrifty bloggers' and editors' guide to doing up your home and garden on a budget.

1. Lighten your way

Lighten and brighten rooms by swapping heavy curtains for sheer drapes (in bedrooms, you can install black-out blinds to pull down behind them at night), and painting dark rooms with light-reflecting paint (Dulux Light + Space Matt is an affordable option). Cleverly placed mirrors are an easy way to bounce light into dull corners, making the whole room feel airier.

Abi Dare, blogger at

2. Plan ahead

If space allows, apply for planning permission — even if you're not going to use it right now, everything will be in place when you outgrow your home and need an extension. And even though the whole application process isn't free (costs vary according to the type of build you're going for), when it comes time to sell, the experts reckon that just having permission to add an extra bedroom or bump up the size of the kitchen could stick another £10,000 on the resale value of your house.

Amanda Morgan, editor, @Morgana1867

3. Be your own storage hunter

Lack of storage is one of the biggest turn offs for homebuyers. So even if you're not thinking of selling at the moment, it's a good idea to make the most of all the space in your house. Nooks in corridors, alcoves beside chimney breasts, space in the eaves and even that never-thought-about area above doorways can be great spots for extra shelving. Don't neglect that under-stair cupboard either — just adding pull-out drawers for your shoes will revolutionise your space.

Stacey Sheppard, blogger at

4 Go eco

A water butt, which holds rainwater, is the cheapest way to water your garden. They're easy to install, will last for ages and, if your water's metered, can save you hundreds in just a few years. Some local councils and water companies offer subsidised water butts as they help conserve water. And it might sound niche, but a wormery will transform your veg peelings and waste food into free worm compost that plants love. Again, your local council may offer heavily subsidised worm bins as they reduce landfill.

Mark Ridsdill Smith, blogger at

5. Sow it right

Many grow-your-own veg don't actually save money (though they often taste better!) once you've costed in compost and equipment. However, just one pack of 'mixed salad leaves' seeds could yield six to eight weeks' of freshly picked salad. Equally, you can grow a dozen basil plants from seed for the cos't of one shop-bought pack of basil. To save even more money, you could also organise a plant swap — many plants have to be lifted and divided regularly, including catmint, irises and day lilies. Give your extra plants to friends in exchange for their spares and you'll have a wide variety in no time.

Alexandra Campbell, blogger at

6. Head to the kitchen

  • Save loads on shop-bought goods by raiding your kitchen cupboards for some homemade gardening remedies
  • Tomato juice and fabric softener is a great lawn feed (you can find lots of recipes for this online)
  • Vinegar kills weeds (it will kill plants too, so be careful where you spray it!)
  • Garlic oil is kryptonite for aphids
  • Leftover fruit is great for feeding plants and flowers — avocado peel works wonders, while roses love bananas (plant your old ones near the bush)
  • Use hollowed out halves of oranges as eco-planters for seeds — once they sprout, plant them, orange and all.

Amy Bonifas, features writer, @AmyBonifas

This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.