Spending hours looking at home makeovers on the is, for many, a bit of a pastime bordering on addiction.
As is watching back to back property programmes, from buying houses at auctions to renovating a property beyond recognition.
One of the shows that has captured the public’s attention the most is Channel 4’s Grand Designs, which showcases some of the UK’s most awe-inspiring and ambitious self-building projects.
And thanks to the show’s popularity, there’s even a live version hosted by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud.
Now in its 12th year, Grand Designs Live London (April 29-May 7) aims to educate and inspire visitors with the latest innovations in home building, showcase this year’s trends and give them a glimpse at unseen products.
Along with Kevin, a host of industry experts are on hand to provide a range of seminars plus an Ask An Expert service, offering free advice on everything from architecture to how to finance your own grand design.
But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or even be an enormously ambitious project to transform your home.
Here, Kevin shares his tips for revamping your home on a budget:
“Planning a project thoroughly is the best way to save money and stick to a budget. Spend as long as you can planning exactly what you want to achieve.
“When people don’t plan, the costs mount up. Unforeseen work can range from having to paint walls to laying new power lines or pipes – and everything in between.”
2. Retrofit your home
“Give your house an overcoat, a hat and a hot water bottle. Secondary glazing, draught-proofing and insulating the loft are three very straightforward ways to make a home more comfortable and cheaper to heat (although do make sure your home is well ventilated).
“The costs of simple energy-saving strategies like these are recouped very quickly compared to high-tech investments.”
“One of the cheapest and most effective ways to refresh a room is with a coat of paint. Likewise a piece of furniture will benefit from a good scrub with methylated spirits and a coat of wax polish.
“I'll offer one caveat though: I’ve used hundreds of different paints over the years and it's very clear that the more you pay, the better the paint. Cheap paint has more water in it, so less pigment and less binder.”
“More storage makes a home bigger; you can never have too much storage space, and tidying bits and pieces away into a cupboard or onto shelving can bring a room to life (although I am a fan of cupboards, not shelves: out of sight is out of mind).
“Use the space above doorways for bookshelves, under-stair cavities for cupboards, or invest in multi-purpose furniture like storage trunks that double up as coffee tables. Invest in cupboards that extend right up to the ceiling.”
“Proper craftsmanship, innovative design and cherished stuff you love all make home improvements work so much better. If you can’t find exactly what you want in terms of furniture, paint or anything else, look into having it made by a local joiner, or getting a bespoke paint colour mixed. It will truly be yours, and is often much more reasonable than people first assume.
“A custom-made piece will be unique, yours and only yours and last for much longer than a flat-pack. It becomes an object for life. How cool is that?”
“Often changing just one aspect of a room will affect the feel of the whole room. Get rid of that dated wallpaper, re-plaster that textured ceiling and practise a new skill on just a small area.
“My first tiling job was my own bathroom and it made me feel proud every time I took a soak.”
7. Stick to the basics
“If you’re making improvement to add monetary value to your home, stick to the basics - people really value a well-insulated, energy-efficient home and modest investment here can really pay off.
“Add to that, if you’re planning on staying you should think about what adds value to, and enriches, your life at home. Evaluate what you have, then think about what you want; don’t just subscribe to a fantasy of what you think you should want.”
Catch Kevin at Grand Designs Live April 29-May 7 at London ExCel. Visit www.GrandDesignsLive.co.uk for tickets and more information.