1 A lick of paint
As a rule, paint is always going to give you the biggest single improvement and it is one of the least expensive options. Switching the colour of a dingy room to a lighter colour creates the illusion of a much larger space. Look out for discounted cans of paint at your local DIY store – customers often change their mind about pre-mixed paint and return it.
2 Go treasure hunting
Remember, one man's junk is another's treasure. Go online at sites such as Gumtree, eBay or Freecycle to find 'new' pieces of furniture to revamp your room. Look out too for garage sales, and scour car boot fairs and flea markets. Paint any shabby pieces to give them a new lease of life.
How to buy and sell safely on eBay
It's time to get rid of some of your junk. It's amazing how ditching piled-up clutter and re-arranging some of your favourite pieces of furniture can instantly transform a room.
21 steps to declutter your house
4 Plump it up
A bright, new cushion or throw can transform a tatty old sofa – and will cost a fraction of the price of re-upholstering or buying a new one. For something different, buy remnants of fabrics from textile shops cheaply and hem them to make your own throw or simple cushions.
5 Shed some light
Clever lighting goes a long way - to make a room appear more welcoming, position lamps to create pools of warm light. Don't splurge on expensive lamps and fixtures, buy look for cheaper versions from Ikea, B&Q, Homebase or Argos. If you don't want to splash out on more lights, experiment by changing the position of the ones you have to see what works best.
A guide to energy-saving light bulbs
6 Frame it
Framed photographs of friends and family add a personal touch and an instant focal point on walls, shelves or the mantlepiece. You can brighten up inexpensive, plain frames by painting them or adding embellishments such as seashells or buttons.
7 Go green
Introducing a few house plants will immediately soften any room design. Look for low-maintenance plants such as peace lilies, spider plants, dragon trees or aspidistras.
Seven ways plants can transform your home
8 Make a splash
Freshening-up the old grout in the bathroom will instantly give the room a new lease of life. It's a lot cheaper than retiling too.
10 ways to revamp a tired bathroom
9 Revamp or replace curtains
New curtains can be expensive, so why not update existing drapes by adding tie backs, sewing on simple cording, a fringe at the base or applique shapes? You could replace the curtain with blinds and voiles or thicker curtains for a fresh look - try Argos or Ikea for budget options. Or look on eBay, Facebook market place or boot fairs for second-hand curtains.
Choosing the right curtains for your home
10 Get advice
For handy DIY tips and basic tutorials on how to do basic work, such as installing a power socket, try diydoctor, diyfixit or DIYnot.
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