Just over a year ago I bought my first home and I’ve spent most of that time doing it up. To get into my dream area I had to compromise somewhat and ended up buying a rather unloved two-bedroom Victorian terrace that was badly in need of a lot of work.
Everyone at Very HQ knows about this because I basically don’t shut up about it (it’s OK, I know they totally love hearing about wallpaper samples), but besides constantly reaffirming my status as a complete interior design nerd, I have collected some good tips that I can share with anyone in the same situation. So if you’ve just bought your first wreck and are beginning to wonder what you were thinking, read on – and let me know if you have any tips of your own!
Kitchen: before and after.
1. Live there for a bit
Trust me, you’ll move in with grand ideas about what you want to do, but you won’t really know what needs doing until you’ve spent a bit of time there. You don’t want to blow your budget on getting, say, a new bathroom when the current one is liveable, only to discover your kitchen units are rotting. The idea of living in a yucky, undecorated house might not thrill you but it’s totally worth it!
2. Be prepared to prioritise
Unless you’re a financial genius then you’re probably not going to be able to afford to do everything straight away. If, like me, you’ve moved into a complete fixer upper, decide after living in the house a while which jobs are urgent and which can wait. As my house was such a wreck (we didn’t have a kitchen floor as some bright spark had once laid cushion floor directly on the dirt, to name but one big job!) a lot of big stuff was urgent, so fun things like buying wall art suddenly dropped several rungs on the list.
3. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
DIY isn’t as scary as some people like to think and, while it’s tempting to pay someone to do all the work for you, it’s also expensive. Expert jobs like plumbing, electrics etc. get someone in for. Otherwise have a bash yourself. Painting, hanging wallpaper, fitting shelves, putting together furniture – once you’ve done it once it’s a lot easier and you can always ask more experienced friends and family to help. The satisfaction you get looking around a room you’ve just finished decorating yourself is immense.
Bathroom: before and after.
4. Enjoy it!
Fixing your place up is seriously stressful. It’s a financial drain and you have to make a lot of sacrifices and compromises (living without a loo or shower for 4 weeks – yay!) but you know what, it’s fun as well. You get to make everything exactly how you want it and you get to spend time picking out pretty homewares, reading home magazines and showing people snaps that won’t at all bore them to death after the fiftieth time. And after it’s all over, you can really start living there.
Love Sarah x
PS. I blog about my favourite books over at Sarah’s Adventures in Literature Land if you fancy it!