In lean times, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like you aren’t moving forward in your life. You can choose to sit around feeling sorry for yourself or you can get creative and find some ways to improve your life within your current means. After all you already own your own home, so you’re two steps ahead of many others!
Making changes to your property not only increases your home’s value, it also improves your enjoyment of your property and your quality of life while you live there. Don’t feel dejected by the large-scale renovations going on across the street – focus on the small achievable things you can do in the short term and save the big stuff for later when your budget improves.
Up the Garden Path
If your home has a large garden you know the work is never over. It needs constant maintenance to keep things looking clean and tidy. Weeding regularly and keeping things trimmed and watered improves the overall appearance of your property and costs you nothing. Walk through your garden and make some notes about things you could repair then start to keep your eye out for items in hard rubbish, or in local ‘free your stuff’ groups. Second hand abandoned bricks can make a rustic new path and there are countless projects to be found online that make use of old pallets. A simple bench seat, a sandpit, or a herb planter box for example are all simple projects that can be made in a hour or two with reclaimed wood, a hammer and some nails.
All the Trimmings
In our consumer driven world, it is rare to hit the shops these days and not find a bargain. Homewares and department stores have seasonal sales as well as permanent bargain bins that more often than not will deliver interesting and unexpected treasures.
Focus less on decorative items and more on fittings and fixtures that will freshen the detail of a room and can be left in place when the house is sold. A single tin of a discontinued paint colour could be all you need to paint a feature wall or repaint window frames. Curtain sets without their packaging, the last 2 units in stock of some heated towel rails, or maybe an interesting light fitting on sale can all make significant differences to a room, at a fraction of what you’d pay if you’d planned it and paid full price.
Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
Many houses harbour great beauty below the surface and spending a Saturday peering under carpet edges and peeling back wallpaper can be quite rewarding. Floorboards are always a feature in a property listing so rip up that old carpet and investigate cheap ways to sand and polish.
Removing just one tile, or a section of wallpaper to see what’s beneath it can be useful too – bathrooms, kitchens and laundries can be transformed by replacing existing wall coverings with something simpler and more modern. Cupboards and drawers can take on a whole new aesthetic by simply replacing the handles or painting over laminate with a more up to date shade then 70s orange.
No More ‘Spare’ Room
One of the top ways to add value to your home is by creating a unique space that other homes in your area may not offer. Spare rooms are exciting opportunities for adding value without having to actually renovate. Some candles, a yoga mat and a few calming prints will instantly and quickly flip the junk room into an exercise space. A desk, lamp and a bookshelf means you can add ‘home office’ to your list of features and scaling back your kids bedrooms to just sleeping spaces empties toys and books into one room and creates a bright and engaging playroom.
There are literally thousands more cheap ways to add value to your home you just have to be in the right frame of mind to notice them. If you start with the things you personally dislike and have an ongoing list of ideas and projects to improve them, you will increase your own awareness of what’s around you too. Deciding you’d like to put in a fish pond makes you instantly more aware of materials that might be useful for it, in your day to day travels. Be resourceful - websites like Pinterest are full of great ideas that you can save and refer back to. ‘Free Your Stuff’ Facebook groups in your city have amazing finds on a daily basis, as do hard rubbish days in your area and the more upmarket suburbs.
The smallest changes can make a big difference and you don’t have to complete a project all at once. Be clear on your budget then pick up bits and pieces as you can afford them until you have all you need to forge ahead.