We’ve lived in our house for 5 years and, while the kids rooms have been decorated, the downstairs hasn’t been touched. When we moved in the children were 9 months and just turned 3. Decorating our main living space seemed totally impossible. Fast forward 5 years and they’re both in school all day so it was time for our budget living room makeover.
The downstairs of our house is completely open plan making decorating a big job. There are door frames between the living room and the hall so we decided we start by tacking the living room and playroom which is basically one long room, separated by an archway. The walls had been painted a colour that was pretty much off white by the previous owners. After 5 years of babies/toddlers/children touching it, driving their cars up it, drawing on it and occasionally licking it, it was no longer white, just off. Our aim was to go with a slightly darker colour that wouldn’t show marks so easily. We also wanted to keep the room bright in the day but would also let it feel cosy at night.
We couldn’t afford to replace all of the furniture in our budget living room makeover so the colours needed to work with what we already had. After the compulsory trip to B&Q, where the kids picked up every colour chart in the shop, we chose grey, with a couple of blue feature walls.
Saving Money on the Painting
The colours were inspired by a pairing suggested in the dulux colour chart. The specific grey they suggested, Pebble Shore, isn’t available as a 5 litre tin. That meant we would end up paying around £8 more because 2.5 litre tins in B&Q are £14 where as 5 litre tins are £20. For that reason we chose a different grey that was available in 5 litre tins, Shadow Chic. For the blue we used, Sapphire Salute. We bought it at B&M where it was £12 rather than the £14 in B&Q. We also bought all of our brushes and some new roller sleeves in B&M, saving us a few more pounds.
Chris took the week off work to help with the decorating. He usually leaves me too it but decided my slapdash approach to decorating wasn’t good enough for the living room. He did the edges and I did the rollering (and still got it on the floor, ceiling and myself). We also decided to paint the skirtings, door frames and door. We’ve owned our homes for nearly 15 years now but have always avoided painting woodwork because we both hate it. We used satinwood paint (£19.99 in B&M compared to £24 in B&Q) which turned out to be much easier to use than old fashioned gloss, we might not wait another 15 years before painting woodwork again.
Saving Money on Homewares
Once the painting was done it was time for the fun bit. We don’t get to go to the shops without the children very often so it was lovely browsing homewares together. Now because this was a budget living room makeover we had to be careful how much we spent. One of our most expensive purchases were the curtains we bought in Dunlem, reduced from £90 to £76. We also got a lovely throw in Homesense reduced from £20 to £12. Our wedding anniversary was coming up so, to save a bit more money we asked my Mum to buy us a new clock which looks great.
We needed some more toy storage (don’t we always) and I’ve been hankering after one of those cube units with the colourful baskets for years. We ended up buying two 3 cube units rather than one 6 cube unit, party because it was cheaper and partly because it will give up more options if we want to change things in the future.
At some point during the shopping our colour scheme changed from grey and blue to grey, blue and multicoloured. We bought the multicoloured baskets for the storage unit. Then we fell in love with a grey and multi coloured rug. We decided to tie them in to our colour scheme by adding multicoloured cushions. We already had pads from our old cushions so just bought covers which saved us about £30.
All in all we spent about £300 and our savings added up to about £100 so I’m pleased with that. The kids like it too but are getting a little bit sick of hearing “Don’t touch the walls” if I see them so much as glance in that direction!
Budget Living Room Makeover Top Tips
- If you find a paint you like, make sure it’s available in an economical size for you. Alternatively see if a different brand or colour would work out cheaper.
- Check out the decorating section in B&M, they sell Dulux or Johnstones paint and also have lots of other supplies.
- Consider asking for the interior bits you need for presents, this really helped our budget living room makeover.
- Have a look at discount shops like HomeSense (part of TK Max) for unique items on a budget.
- Plan in advance, that way you can be looking out for things that are reduced for a while. We decided on colours a few weeks before so I was able to get things when I saw them.