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10 cheap ways to give your house a facelift

06 November 2014, 10:56

Nairobi - Learn to be bold with colour, how to make the most of things you have already, and how to give some character to a space you may now find depressing.

Here’s how to make a little go a long way in your new home:

A large Indian cloth

This can cover up a ghastly old second hand armchair or sofa, or be a fabulous wall hanging, tablecloth, or bed cover.

This can even serve as a room divider when hung from the ceiling. Bull denim is also dirt cheap, lasts forever and can be used for all the above things.

I have even seen large pieces of cloth stuck to a floor using drawing pins in a low-traffic area of the house. Kelims are also inexpensive and look fabulous anywhere.

A dash of paint

Paint is expensive, so follow the new trend of painting one central wall in a different contrasting colour.

The brighter the colour, the more expensive the paint, so go for muted blue or green rather than sunshine yellow.

Keep some of the paint and use it on a few other touches in the room – a picture frame, a plastic wall clock, a shelf, a door frame. You will be amazed at the difference it makes.

A bit of greenery

Beg, borrow and steal a few plants from friends or family, or buy plants on special at the nursery. A few lavender bushes in a row at the front of the house can change the whole feeling of the house.

Indoor plants also can be a nice focal point – paint the paint tin you used above in the same colour as the wall and use as a plant pot.

Fabulous frames

Check out the frames in department stores, and frame stuff yourself. Make a statement using a piece of brightly coloured paper (a few rands at stationery shops) as a backdrop.

Empty frames in junk shops also go for next to nothing. Buy a few, paint them, and stick photos or pretty black and white pictures or postcards in them straight against the wall for special effect.

Wrapping paper can be beautiful in a frame.

Magic mugs

You can buy beautiful mugs for less than R20 each. Ten mugs hung from hooks under a shelf can transform a drab kitchen.

You can either go for a splash of colour and variety, or establish the colour scheme of your kitchen by choosing ten of the same.

Bathroom blues

Stuck with a seventies bathroom and a stained old metal bath? Redoing the lot could cost thousands. Paint the tiles yourself. Go all white, so you don’t have to worry about the grouting between the tiles.

Consider re-enamelling the tired old metal bath. It costs just over R1000, but can make the bathroom seem like new.

A few bright towels, a painted wooden box attached to the wall for storage, and a self-framed postcard or two, and there you go.

Oh, and ditch the mouldy old shower curtain.

Visit demolition yards and garage sales

OK, you need some imagination and will have to do some work, but here you can find amazing stuff at a fraction of the cost.

Oregon pine doors and windows, old bathroom and kitchen sinks, pretty taps, even furniture that can be painted or stripped to be given a new lease on life.

Be brave and get down and dirty.

Ready-made curtains

Having curtains custom-made costs a fortune. Don’t go there. Department stores have very reasonable ready-made lined curtains with loops.

Go for a neutral colour that will fit in with your colour scheme wherever you go. Plain white will look as good against a blue wall as it will against grey or green or yellow.


Candlelight will hide a multitude of sins if you have friends over for dinner. It creates a soft and pleasing light and brightly coloured candles from the supermarket are cheap cheap.

Fill a large paper packet with sand and stick the candle in it. It creates a beautiful effect.

Paint kitchen cupboards

New kitchen cupboards cost an arm and a leg.

If you can’t afford the ones  you want, love the ones you have – a lick of paint can transform the dull, the old and the tired.

If you hate your kitchen counter tops, consider having them removed and replaced with cement – and paint them.

 - Women24

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