Don’t Replace: 10 Things to Repair and Renovate

Opening a design magazine or even a weekend supplement can kick off a severe case of the ‘wants’. When a neighbour or friend decides to revamp and renovate their living space, you may feel envious and pressured to do the same… when there’s no spare cash to do so. It usually leads to a full-on splurge at the superstore, leaving you penniless and wishing you had reined it in a little.

But there are lots of ways you can renovate your home without spending a lot of money. First of all, look at your old furniture and start thinking about how it could be improved; perhaps a lick of paint or a nice layer of varnish. Take a proper look around, and see what’s salvageable.

Painting a table using paint roller

We’ve found ten things that you can repair, and renovate, rather than going to the expense of replacing. You might even discover a hidden talent or two and begin a new weekend hobby.

Renovate: It Requires a Fresh Look

1. Sash Windows

If you own a period property, your windows might be the original old fashioned sash type. Replacing them is costly, and does nothing for the aesthetics of your home, so consider revamping them instead. They tend to rattle as they get older, so tackle that first. Sand them down carefully, and refill any gaps. Replacing the glass is a lot cheaper than the whole window and can instantly knock the cost of your heating bill down. Use weather strips on the sides of the panels for a tight fit, and replace the putty if you’re leaving the original glass. It’s also possible to replace the cords from a specialist dealer.

2. Kitchen Cupboards

The carcas of a kitchen cupboard rarely requires replacing, and often throwing away the whole unit in favour of a new look is wasteful and unnecessary. If you must do, then simply replace the doors, or better still, renovate them. Decoupage costs you just the napkins, glue, and varnish, and is so easy to do. Art prints look amazing and are different to anything you’ll see in the DIY store. Or take the doors off, lay on a flat surface, prepare and paint them with an eggshell or similar covering. Mouldings glued on top of plain doors and then given a second coat of paint work brilliantly. Spray rather than brush on the paint for an even finish. A change of handles, and hey presto, a new kitchen.

3. Spare Storage

If an old drawer unit has had it and is hurtling towards the skip, save the drawers. They’ll often be in better condition than the carcas and easy to renovate. Give them a lick of bright paint, add castors, and use them as sliding storage, stored neatly underneath your bed. We ALL could use extra storage space. Use different primary colours for a child’s bedroom, and store those toys you’d rather not walk on in the middle of the night!

Home DIY - renovate chair

4. Brick Fireplaces

Those 1980’s dark red bricked fireplaces just suck the light and the life from any living room. Replacing them is really costly, and usually means lots of repair work on the wall too. Painting them the same shade as your walls will make them disappear – almost. They’ll certainly blend it better, and your room will look twice the size. If you have the time and a little more cash, then plaster it first for a smooth finish.

5. Back to Bed

That gold Dralon rectangular headboard really should go. But, stripping it back to the frame, and covering it with a decent fabric – Moroccan-inspired patterns are currently HOT – will look fabulous, and perhaps inspire you to go for the whole Souk look! Easily done, with some ochre or deep red shades of paint, cushions, wall hangings and some metalwork lamps.

6.  Tea – or Tequila – for Two

furniture restoration, renovate furniture

Coffee tables don’t have to be plain old pine. If you own a decent and sturdy one, then take it right back with some careful sanding, then bash it up a little with a hammer and a cloth between the two. Use a dark stain, and add large round metal studs, placed equally around the edge to renovate for a Mexican look.

7. Pallets

Pallets can be fabulous and instant garden furniture. Sand off any rough parts, and stack them together, three high for seating. Paint a wash of white for a shabby chic finish and varnish. Add removable thick foam covered in bright canvas colours, and throw cushions at the back. Several arranged together, with different coloured seats make an outside sitting room you’ll love on summer evenings.

8. Blank Canvas

Paint all your walls and woodwork (including old floorboards) a bright clean white, and add bright pops of colour only through accessories. Paint brickwork too. Go around each room gathering the colours you need, in focal-point artwork, cushions and throws. Add big coloured rugs to the floor. Boot fairs are brilliant for picking up glassware, look for Bristol Blue and Cranberry shades, and arranged on a sunny windowsill in blocks of colour they look illuminating! Altogether, an instant designer looks at a fraction of the price.

9. Simplify Windows

Instead of replacing your curtains, avoid fiddly rails and hooks, and take them down. Use an opaque decal straight on the window, or a simple roller blind to impart a decluttered, cleaner look. Again, your room will look and feel instantly larger.

10. Ugly Radiators?

Your heating may work perfectly, but the radiators are scuffed and old fashioned? Then make some DIY covers with sheets of MDF or ready-made kits which you can then paint up and gain an instant and sleek new look to your hall or living areas.