Home renovations don't come cheap – with improvements averaging in the thousands, once you factor in labour costs, furniture and the time invested in making it happen.
But where there's a will, there's a way, as one mum has shown after renovating her tired council house kitchen into a 'farmhouse chic' room, for just £218 – saving herself nearly £3,000.
Fiona Gall, 34, wanted to revamp the boring, washed out kitchen of her adapted council home to help make it more of a 'family home'. However, with little cash to spare, she was forced to think outside the box.
The family, who live in Broxburn, West Lothian, Scotland, moved into their council home two years ago, after Fiona's husband Mark, 34, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and needed an adapted home to accommodate a wheelchair.
So the savvy saver covered the drab brown cupboards with a lick of paint, wrapped the kitchen surfaces, the top of the dining table and shelves of an upcycled cabinet in sticky back plastic and added a few personal touches to spruce up the place on a bank-friendly budget.
Civil servant Fiona said: "I began re-decorating my home this year, starting with my two-year-old son Freddie's bedroom, and I moved on to making a sensory garden for him too.
"But the kitchen was one of the rooms that I absolutely hated – I used to have the door shut all the time to try and hide it.
"My husband spends most of his time at home between hospital visits for his ongoing treatment, and because this will now be our forever home I wanted to try and decorate exactly how we wanted so it was a nice environment to live in."
Fiona had heard good things about the sticky back plastic brand Fablon from her granny, and spent a lot of time on DIY pages researching ideas and methods to help her redecorate the kitchen.
She decided to go with a farmhouse polka dot theme, and it took her one month to carry out the transformation, as she had to fit the process around work and caring for her family.
Fiona said: "I love polka dots so I tried to go with that theme and I wrapped all the counters, table surface and a chest of drawers with wood-effect Fablon.
"I make a lot of things myself, and every single room in my house has something DIY in it because I'm very crafty and like to upcycle furniture.
"I'm not afraid to look around charity shops either and I always shop about and try to find cheaper things, or even see if I can make them myself.
"A brand new kitchen wasn't really an option for us as we had the rest of the house to decorate too, but still wanted to have family days out, and I was professionally quoted £3,000 for someone to fit the Fablon on our kitchen units and surfaces.
"I weighed it all up and decided to wrap the kitchen myself instead – I had to do a test patch inside the cupboard because I was scared that it would go badly.
"Wrapping the table and chest of drawers was fine but the worktops were more challenging because the corners were hard to cut around."
As an avid fan of DIY and crafting, Fiona spotted bargains in charity shops and Facebook marketplace and found ways to put her own stamp on them.
She spotted the chest of drawers on Facebook marketplace for £40 and decided to upcycle it with a fresh coat of paint, adding union jack handles for £12 and wrapped the shelves with Fablon.
Fiona wrapped the kitchen and table surfaces with the wood-effect Fablon too, with four rolls at £7 each costing £28 all together.
Two pots of duck egg blue paint were £28 and pots of white paint for the drawers and window box were £30, all from Wilko – the brick wallpaper also came to £20.
Fiona also bought £6 foliage for her hand-made window box, and the window mirrors above cost £18 for three.
Other decorations, including a Union Jack teapot, lights and wicker hearts, came to £27 and other DIY bits including sponge rollers and silicon guns were £9.
All together, the kitchen was transformed for just £218.
Fiona added: "I absolutely love my kitchen now and I wanted it to be finished by Christmas as a present to myself!
"I'm really proud of how it turned out and I held a Christmas fun day for my family in the kitchen last week where we did lots of crafts with our children.
"The main reason I do this is because family is what is most important to me, and I love the satisfaction of doing something myself, but also by saving money I have more for family days out and making memories."
Fiona has almost finished re-decorating her home and is now working on a DIY playhouse for her son.
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