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10 home makeover ideas for a shoestring budget 

Ready for a big home refresh at minimal cost? We’ve got 10 ideas that could transform your place for under £1,000.

Guest Author
Words by: Matilda Battersby


The time, upheaval and expense of a major home renovation is not for everyone. But there are some great ways to refresh your interior on a budget and with minimum hassle.

If you spend small amounts of money wisely and consider where your investment can make the biggest impact, you could transform your home bit by bit.

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From clever design ideas to small changes that will revolutionise how you enjoy a space, here are home 10 renovation ideas for under £1,000:

1. Restore or funk up your floorboards

One of the cheapest ways to get impactful flooring is to take up old carpets and restore existing floorboards.

If you live in a period home, peeling back a corner of carpet to see what’s underneath can feel exciting. Especially if you’ve got gorgeous original wood flooring or parquet hidden below you.

Hiring a sander and getting to work buffing up your floorboards can leave you with beautiful floors in just a day or two (depending on the size of your home, and your stamina).

Wood stain or paint can also be applied to floorboards to create a different look without breaking the bank.

You will need approximately 1 litre of paint for every 6 to 8 metres of flooring and can expect to paint at least two coats.

Or, if you're hiring an expert to do it, you can expect to pay:

  • £25 per sqm for an average floor restoration, according to Checkatrade.

  • £7 per sqm for carpet removal

  • £25 per hour for a specialist floor restorer

  • £8 per sqm for floor stain or paint

2. Strip your stairs

Throwing out your carpets and paying a bit of care and attention to the wooden stairs beneath it is another opportunity to bring a showstopping impact at little cost.

The caveat here is that the cost of this job will depend on the state your stairs are in.

Sometimes thick layers of paint may prove such hard work to shift that a new carpet is the better answer.

Again, peel back a corner of the carpet and see what the damage is. Get a lead paint tester too, to check if the paint is toxic.

If the layers of paint on your stairs include lead paint, you can invest in products, such as Peelaway 1, to safely remove it. But be warned, this is time-consuming and sticky work.

But rest assured, the visual wow factor of a wooden staircase will be worth the time and effort involved.

Of course, you can also get experts to strip and sand each stair. Here's what you can expect to pay:

3. Invest in rugs

Now that you’ve got bare floorboards and beautifully stripped stairs, it’s time to add a bit of colour and comfort to your home.

One of the best ways to do this is to source beautiful rugs. There are fantastic affordable runners for hallways and stairs, as well as large colourful or muted tone rugs for living rooms and more.

And while adding colour and texture, they also serve the practical purpose of protecting high traffic areas in your home from wear and tear.

Invest in a good underlay to stop them slipping around and to prevent trip hazards. Rugs will also help with soundproofing and insulation too.

While a large rug can set you back a few hundred pounds, you can move them around and take them with you when you move home.


4. Do up your front door

It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to transform your kerb appeal. A nice front door will instantly boost how others view your home as they walk up to it.

The key to an impactful paint job is always preparation. If you’re doing the work yourself, find out about how best to sand and prime your door before adding a layer of colour.

A professional decorator will make sure the door is beautifully sanded and primed with the right number of coats.

A brand new door knocker, handle or door number can also work wonders to spruce things up.

If your existing front door is not up to snuff or cannot be painted because it’s plastic, then a new one might be an option. 


  • £60 to £100 for door paint (primer, undercoat and topcoat)

  • £20 to £150 for new door knocker, handles etc

  • £150 to £250 to get your door painted by a professional, according to Checkatrade

  • £200 to £1,000+ for a reclaimed or brand new composite door 

5. Reinstate your living room fireplace

In the 1970s and ‘80s many homes had fireplaces ripped out or boxed in thanks to a trend for electric heaters.

Today, there’s nothing quite so appropriate as restoring a period fireplace as the focal point in a living room.

While it might be nice to have a roaring fire on colder evenings, with modern central heating you can make a visual nod to the earlier fireplace without having to sweep the chimney.

A feature fireplace with candles or dried flowers can be just as attractive as a working one. It will probably cost you less than installing a wood-burning stove, too.

You can pick up a cast iron replica fireplace for just a few hundred pounds. Or scour antiques shops and eBay for originals (though these might be harder to fit, depending on the condition).


  • £400 approximately for a cast iron replica fireplace

  • £300 to £700 approximately to fit, depending on the condition of the replacement and the chimney 

6. Spruce up kitchen worktops 

A new kitchen is always going to set you back thousands. But if the bones of your existing fitted kitchen are solid then there’s plenty you can do on a budget.

Why not inject a feeling of luxury by replacing worn worktops with fancy new ones? You can get great deals on laminate or thick veneer, which give the illusion of luxury at a lower price point.

You’ll either need to be able to fit them yourself or get a team in. The tricky bit is having to cut out the shape of the sink or an oven hob using a jigsaw.


7. Paint or replace kitchen cupboard doors

Another top tip is to paint or replace your cupboard doors. If you know where the old kitchen is from, you may be able to order replacement doors that screw in and give your cooking space a whole new look.

If you’re planning to paint them, then any eggshell or interior wood paint will work on wooden cupboards. Just remember to sand and prepare them properly first to achieve a good finish.

Another option is to invite a specialist team in to spray paint your cupboards for you. This can be useful if your existing cupboards are MDF or in particularly bad condition.


8. Replace internal doors

If your interior doors are boring, tatty or just generally letting the side down, then this is a straightforward swap that can make your home smarter.

The cost of new doors varies depending on what you’re opting for. If you’re replacing swinging doors with like-for-like then they could be as cheap as £25 or as pricey as £150.

Each door will cost more if you’re getting them made bespoke, or if they function differently: ie sliding doors and folding doors will be pricier.

You can buy doors in various materials and finishes which will influence the price. If you’re buying several doors at the same time, you might be able to get a deal for buying in bulk.

The same goes for fitting costs if you’re not doing this bit yourself.


  • £25 to £150 to buy each door, according to Checkatrade

  • £45 to £85 per door fitting (including the removal of the old ones)

9. Create built-in shelves

Whatever style your home and however big it is, you can never have too much functional storage.

Shelves are the doyenne of storage. They not only provide much-needed places for your books, records and pot plants, but they make your room look lived-in and stylish, too.

If you’re handy with a saw and willing to do your DIY homework then you could save yourself a packet and create functional beauty in your home for the cost of the materials.

Choosing MDF or plywood can keep costs down. Or you can find some excellent deals on reclaimed wood. But, hardwood shelving will cost you a lot more.

If you’re getting your shelves custom made by a professional, things will be pricier. Most carpenters work at a day rate. It’s worth getting several quotes in to get an idea of costs. 

A carpenter should be willing to pop by to give you an initial estimate and explain how they work. You can draw up a plan based on what can be done in the time you can afford.


10. Install a new window

If there’s a corner of your home that's dark and difficult to use, then shed some light on the problem by installing a new window.

Skylights or Velux windows can revolutionise attic spaces, bathrooms or single storey extensions at minimal cost.

House owners are likely to be able to install a new rooflight without first obtaining planning permission, under the government’s permitted development rights scheme.

But if your home is a leasehold or a flat, it’s worth checking with the Planning Portal as you may need to apply for permission from your local authority.

Check if I need planning permission with the Planning Portal

While it can be tempting to DIY a skylight, it’s sensible to get a FESNA-certified window fitter to put it in and provide the certificate for it.

You'll need that when you come to sell your home.

It's also especially important for a new skylight because you'll need to protect the integrity of your roof.

The bigger the window, the more expensive the cost to buy and fit it. But a small one can work wonders.


  • £500 to £800 for one standard sized Velux window, including fitting, according to Checkatrade

  • £250 approximately for planning permission (if necessary)

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.