Caroline Browne

Interiors | Where To Spend & Where To Save

Part Two

In my last post I talked about where to focus your home interiors budget and now here’s my guide to where you can save money!


Kitchen Units

A new kitchen can really eat into your budget and although it’s likely to be the most used room in the home it doesn’t have to be the most expensive!


Most kitchen units are a standard 600mm wide so save money by buying basic melamine carcasses from one of the big retailers at the cheaper end of the market (IKEA, B&Q, Homebase).


Splash out some of the money you save on the carcasses for more unusual doors from one of the many door-only suppliers. Naked Doors has a great selection for IKEA Metod units.


Or ask a local carpenter to make you some MDF doors that can be painted or sprayed in any colour you choose and can repainted for a new lease of life later on.


Upgrade the look with specially chosen handles; Ironmongery Direct have a good range and Chloe Albery has some unusual designs. If your cupboard handles feel and look fabulous no-one will notice that the units are simple and inexpensive.


Save money with open shelves instead of wall cupboards. While some closed cupboards are useful, open shelves are on trend and make a kitchen feel larger too.


Kitchen appliances

Be realistic about what appliances you really need. Resist the over-sell and don’t be tempted to splash out on warming drawers, steam ovens, coffee machines and boiling water taps if you won’t use them regularly.


Splash backs

Save money by only having a splash back where you really need it; behind the hob and perhaps the sink if you wash up regularly. Everywhere else, a narrow upstand on the worktop and paint above will be enough.


Save on materials by choosing inexpensive waterproof MDF paneling or tongue and groove. This can look stylish in kitchens and bathrooms. Look for a waterproof version and use a gloss paint intended for kitchen and bathroom use to seal the surface.


If you’re after a more contemporary look, consider sheet metal from a metal fabricator, it’s often less expensive than it looks.


Bathroom fitting

Save money on bathroom sanitary ware and buy unbranded fittings from a large high street retailer like Bathstore or from a local plumbers’ merchant.


Wall hung WCs and basins are particularly expensive so opt for pedestal types which are no longer just limited to just traditional styles. Vanity units are expensive, ask a local carpenter to make you some built-in storage or open shelves.


If your bath is only going to be used occasionally, a lightweight acrylic bath is perfectly good and there are some lovely designs to choose from that don’t cost a fortune.


It’s sensible to invest in a more luxurious shower if it’s going to be used every day. Opt for a low-profile shower tray which is much cheaper than tanking the walls and floor for a wet room shower.


Framed shower screens are much cheaper than frameless styles and can look very stylish especially if the frame is deliberately chunky.


Interior finishes

Save money on flooring by choosing stone-effect or wood-effect tiles rather than real stone or wood. Not only are they much easier to maintain and more hardwearing but it can be hard to tell them apart from the real thing.


Smaller tiles (30-45cm) are generally cheaper than large ones, both to buy and install. Very small tiles such as mosaic are expensive so only use these in small quantities and in a position where they will create maximum impact.


Paint doesn’t need to be expensive, choose a colour you love from any range and have it colour-matched at your local DIY store. Dulux has a huge range of colours; classic neutrals and on trend colours too.


Home furnishings

When it comes to furnishing your home, save money by checking out local charity shops, Ebay, auctions and second hand shops. These are good hunting grounds for inexpensive and original tables, chairs and storage furniture. Unite mismatched chairs by painting them in a unifying colour. Recover chairs easily using a staple gun.


If you prefer to buy new, Next Home has some excellent furniture ranges and IKEA remains a firm favourite-look out for the Stockholm range. To add a personalised touch, check out IKEA hacks on Pinterest for imaginative ideas.


There’s no need to spend a fortune on the latest designer fabrics; John Lewis has a fantastic selection of fabrics by the metre for curtains, blinds and upholstery. I also really like their simple, plain roller blinds for a quick, easy and inexpensive window solution.


Be creative, have fun and save money!


Image credits; with thanks to Naked Doors, Pinterest, Bathstore, Dulux, Annie Sloan