DIY? Give me time…

It’s about time we started redecorating our house. We’ve lived in it for over five years, and, since my family and I aren’t overly fussed about making changes to where we live (in our old house it took me about six years before redecorating, and then we moved out three years later!), we’ve just kind of gone with the existing decor, which, apart from the threadbare carpet in the master bedroom, wasn’t too shabby. The carpet’s still there, by the way!

But it’s got to the point now where I really do think the place could do with a lick of paint. My parents have been quite pragmatic in their response to this, whenever I’ve brought this up. I’ve got two young children, a messy husband, two cats and a large, mud loving dog; there’s no point painting anything, because it’s going to be ruined. And, to a certain extent, they’re right. So we’ve kept the original carpets, not bothered with the walls (except in the bathroom, where they were crawling with mould) and basically just lived in the place.

However, recently, having now got one school aged child, I have had the cheeky opportunity to do a bit of observation of OPH. That’s ‘Other People’s Houses’, between you and me. And while these vary widely in decor and style, it has enabled me to magpie a few ideas for things that I might like to try. It goes without saying that OPH tend to be tidier, cleaner and better organised than mine, but I’m kind of reconciled to that, and I hold no grudges and pass no judgements – as a good friend recently said to me ‘you either are, or aren’t a tidy person.’ In fact, I take it all as inspiration, for real life and fictional life. And I have seen some lovely things; wooden floors (it’s aged lino and terrible carpets in mine right now), excellent storage solutions and the kinds of space-maximising ideas I’d love to steal. And, interestingly, manageable mess that I could live with.

There’s no getting away from the fact that I do have young children, a messy husband and a menagerie, though. So I’ve come up with a compromise. I am going to very slowly redecorate my house, starting with my elder daughter’s bedroom. And I’m going to do it properly. But, I’m not going to spend very much money. Partly because I don’t really have it to spend, but partly because I think it would be a challenge to decorate the whole house for nearly nothing. As a family, we’ve always bought/acquired preloved furniture; except for our sofas, which were courtesy of DFS, the rest of our lounge furniture was second hand pine from Ebay, or given to us by friends and family. It’s the same with bed linen (mostly), books, pots and pans…even the dog’s crate. In fact, we’re just about to acquire a mermaid board and a shower cubicle for our ensuite from my Mum and Dad, who have just updated theirs! I very rarely buy anything new. But, since I’m not a crafty person, I haven’t gone for ‘upcycling’, ‘repurposing’ or ‘shabby chicing’ either – the stuff stays pretty much as it already is. Also, if I don’t spend buckets of cash on decorating my house, in theory I won’t cry too much when the aforementioned menagerie (and the family) trash it!

So the challenge will be to give the house an update on virtually no budget, barring a few quid for offcuts of carpet and pots of paint. And I’m no crafter, so this will be a real challenge. Thankfully, I’ve been haunting the Preloved, GumTree, Freecycle and Ebay listings for a while, and I do have some ideas. We also have two charity shops in the village, which have proven remarkably useful for soft furnishings, especially OPC (Other People’s Cushions). But I couldn’t resist these for my elder daughter’s bedroom:


They cost 99p from Ebay and will be shipped, at no cost, from the Philipines, so we’ll see how long they take to arrive! This is a good example of the magpie in me; I had a look around my elder nephew’s bedroom yesterday, and he had some rather impressive stickers on plain walls. Since my tactic is to keep walls plain but update stickers and other non-permanent features, I took my lead from what I saw!

Other than this, though, I intend to keep things as free, or low cost as I can. Flora’s room will be my experimental canvas (lucky Flora!), and I guess I’ll learn from there. Now I just need to get enough sleep to motivate myself to crack on and do it. And make the dog wear slippers, of course…


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