The Dining Room
Our dining room was painted yellow, which we wanted to change, and so we picked up some tins of a cool, white paint by the 'Sanctuary' range at Homebase where they are £20 a tin. We paid £6 a tin from our local market, where there's a man selling end of line stock. There were enough tins in the same colour for us to pick up several of them, which we've used in one bedroom, on shelving, and in the dining room, and have some to be stored for touch-ups in future. Saving: around £70.
The simple task of 'paint the dining room' turned into a bit of a saga, with us deciding to have a look at the 'feature' fireplace, a hole in the wall with a fake fire in - basically a set of plastic logs with a light in, and a fan to make some orange tongues of 'fire' move in the airstream, so the light flickers. Apparently they were all the rage decades ago! We removed the fake fire and the wooden shelf that it was resting on to find that the chimney cavity hadn't been properly blocked up - we had suspected this anyway with the lack of an 'air brick' for ventilation. It turns out that they had done a makeshift job, using bits of wood, carboard from a 1970's children's game, tin foil and a child's chalkboard (I'm not kiddding!), and had filled underneath the shelf with an assortment of dirt, rubble and a few pieces of lego. All of that rubbish was holding moisture, and it smelt terribly damp, so we had to dig it all out, a dirty and time-consuming job. My Baby then had to knock out the faux skirting board (made of plaster we think) and some chunks of concrete and brickwork with a sledgehammer, and scrubbed the inside of the fireplace to get the bricks looking clean. This was one of those jobs that you think, 'why did we start this?!'.
What to do with this newly opened fireplace? It would be lovely to have a woodburner in there, but that would be costly. A 'real' fire would be nice, but we'd need to open up the roof where it's been tiled over and restore a chimney. The answer came to us at the car boot sale, where we picked up this lovely fire surround for just £50, including delivery to a town local to us, as a friend of the seller was also at the boot sale and driving back up anyway in their pick-up truck. The seller had bought the surround for £120 in a local antiques place, The Pumping Station (quite pricey, I can believe that they paid that!). So, we now have a feature for that wall that will look great in the short term, until we can save up to have a real fire in the hearth. Saving: £70.
Finally, we wanted to replace the lightfitting with something a bit more in keeping with the room, and found this three-pronged candelabra style light for just £3 at the car boot sale. Similar ones are around for anything from £20. Saving: £17
There's still some work to be done in that room so no finished pictures for you yet, but I hope this gives you an idea of what we've done already.
My Baby also rescued an old trunk from a skip down the road (with the owner's permission) and has cleaned it up, polished the wood, and it's now installed as our entrance hall table. I think it looks pretty good, antique places charge a fortune for old trunks, so I'm happy that ours was free! I wonder who A.E. was? We know the house number, a Victorian place, where it was found, so that might be a bit of future detective work to undertake, to get a name. Saving: £40-80.
The lamp was from the car boot sale, as was the 'Niagra' film canvas. We bought the two items for £5. The canvas is on Ebay for £10 and a similar lamp is in BHS for £60. Saving: £65.
A storage unit was needed to put the record player on and store records underneath, so my Baby built one. Instead of buying wood, he salvaged some old doors from a neighbour and used those, finishing the unit with the paint we'd bought earlier. Ready-made units retail half the size of ours retail for around £50. Saving: £100.
Anyway, I hope all of this proves that it doesn't have to cost a fortune to do some DIY - there are bargains to be had! We could have spent over £500 on all of this work if we'd bought items new.
Total spend: £158
Total saved: £382
Total saved: £382
Our house is years away from being interior-design perfect, but it's certainly a labour of love. Next goal: to remove the '70s feature wall from the lounge, replastering, painting, and installation of a woodburner!