DIY and decorating saviours

Here are some of my top recent picks and discoveries for making your home look great on a budget.

DIY and decorating saviours

First up, to improve or completely change the general ambience of any space with great ease, get some new lighting. For interesting design at very low prices my first stop is always the lighting department of good old British Home Stores. They have everything from vintage to classic to industrial shades and lamps, most of them easyfit types, and today there’s 20% off nearly everything plus lots of new stock added to the clearance sale so snap it up while you can (discount applied automatically).

My favourite recent discoveries for doing the house up include the following DIY products:

  • Dulux Light + Space paint – a matt paint that’s highly light reflective and worth every penny if you have a dark spot in your home that desperately needs brightening up. We’ve used this on a landing that gets very little natural light and it’s had a brilliant effect. The shade we used was Morning Light, a very pale cream, but there are lots of other shades to suit different tastes and decor. Make the most of offers at Homebase (15% off today) and B&Q (multibuy offer), and also claim a free tester pot from Dulux.
  • Bartoline Ready Mixed filler – much cheaper than its main rival but just as good quality. Perfect for doing all sorts of minor repairs to walls and woodwork, with the added bonus of drying white (i.e. the same colour as most undercoat or perfect for white walls). Bought mine from Robert Dyas for £1.99 and will definitely repurchase as it saves time and fuss as well as being a good price.
  • Polyfilla Polycell Quick Set Cement – ready in five minutes, very easy to work with and sets really quickly too – even underwater, so you can use it outdoors in drizzle or fix drain edges or ponds with it. Strong enough to fix bolts and brackets with as well. Dries fast to a medium grey shade, so best to use on grey surfaces like concrete or areas that will be painted over. I used this to fill in holes in brickwork, and also to re-set a loose paving slab and it’s given excellent results. Widely available: B&Q, Wilkinsons etc, price about £5.

Any my final tip for doing up your home is to check out the soft furnishings at Dunelm Mill, where they have produced a wide range of cushions that are essentially designer-inspired. I’ve bought a few things from them, including the bug cushions shown in the picture, but they have over 600 to choose from so there’s something for everyone.

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