Escape To The Chateau stars reveal Bank Holiday home improvement hacks… while on a budget


BANK Holiday weekends are ideal if you want to do a bit of DIY.

But if you don’t have the cash for a complete refit, never fear – you can give your home a total makeover without breaking the bank.

Escape To The Chateau renovation champions Dick and Angel Strawbridge have great budget home improvement hacks

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Escape To The Chateau renovation champions Dick and Angel Strawbridge have great budget home improvement hacks

Escape To The Chateau renovation champions Dick and Angel Strawbridge know a thing or two about transforming a home on a budget.

Here, they offer their stylish decor hacks to give your place a brand-new look at a bargain price.

Re-colour grout

GROUT usually comes in white or grey but we always add paint dye to get the colour we are after. You can get some from therange.co.uk.

Use colour to contrast, such as red grout with white tiles. Try metallic or mix up the colours. It’s a great budget way to make over floors, shower splashbacks, window sills and walls.

Step 1: Remove old grout with a grout rake or use a multi-tool if you have one. Clean and tape off tiles.

Step 2: Add paint dye. It will always dry a shade lighter, so be bold to start with. If you fancy a metallic finish, apply this on dry grout with a grout pen.

Step 3: Re-grout your current tiles with it and leave to dry.

Grouting tiles is an effective job to give a bathroom a fresh feel

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Grouting tiles is an effective job to give a bathroom a fresh feelCredit: Alamy
You can create a stylish mirror on a budget

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You can create a stylish mirror on a budgetCredit: Getty

Mirror, mirror

LARGE mirrors look fantastic in the bathroom but they can be mighty expensive to buy new.

To get the look for less, grab a large picture from a second-hand shop and replace the image in the frame with a cheap mirror or an existing one you already have.

Alternatively, stick mirrored tiles to the wall (£10 from dunelm.co.uk) and frame them with MDF architrave (usually used for door or window frames) to get a big, grand, reflective wall at a fraction of the price.

You can get architrave at homebase.co.uk from £6.95.

Re-enamel the bath

THIS may sound daunting but it is not as scary as you might think.

If you have a good-quality bath you are not quite ready to bid farewell to – but would like to make more stylish – you can transform it easily with a brush of enamel paint.

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There are packs and paints made specifically for this job in a range of colours (try renotub.co.uk) and when you are done, it will look as good as new.

Step 1: Clean the bath thoroughly and leave to dry.

Step 2: Using a stiff paintbrush, add a layer of enamel paint and leave to dry until fully hardened (up to a day).

Step 3: Break out the bubble bath . . .  and relax.

Touch up your tiles

PAINTING your tired bathroom tiles is a very effective quick fix for updating worn-looking splashbacks in the sink, shower or bath area.

It is an easy job but it is important to use the right type of paint. Opt for a one-colour revamp, be extra-creative using cups and plates to stencil on shapes or use masking tape to make multi-colour patterns.

Step 1: Give your tiles a light sand and clean to remove grease.

Step 2: Once tiles have dried, tape the edges, cover nearby surfaces with a dust sheet then apply a coat of primer (£13 at diy.com).

Step 3: Using a small brush or roller, layer- apply specialist tile paint (find it at homebase.co.uk). Allow to dry and add a ­second coat if needed.

You can re-enamel the bath which is easier than it sounds

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You can re-enamel the bath which is easier than it sounds

Decoupage

THIS is one of our all-time favourite crafting techniques.

Take your favourite pictures, ­magazines, posters or anything made from paper, paste them to an object or piece of furniture and finish it with a layer or two of varnish.

You can use decoupage in any room. It’s especially great for small spaces where you want to have fun, such as a downstairs loo or bathroom.

Personalise your dressing table, bathroom cabinet, or storage boxes. The possibilities are endless.

Step 1: Select a plain, sanded wooden or cardboard box to makeover.

Step 2: Choose the paper you want to decoupage, then simply apply using a mix of half PVA glue and half water.

Step 3: Add layers and leave to dry.

Using vintage suitcases for storage is a smart and stylish idea

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Using vintage suitcases for storage is a smart and stylish ideaCredit: Alamy

Suitcase storage

VINTAGE suitcases and trunks are one of our favourite home transformation finds.

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They look so stylish, are ideal for repurposing as storage and work particularly well in bathrooms.

You can find bargain old cases and trunks on online auction sites or in charity or second-hand shops.

Pop an old suitcase on a stool and use to store bulky towels, loo rolls or all the extra shampoo bottles that won’t fit by the side of the shower!

Bits and bobs

RATHER than hiding away all of your bits and bobs, make them into a pretty feature by storing them in cheap-as-chips Mason jars (£15.99 for a pack of six at lakeland.co.uk).

Cotton pads, ear buds, make-up and other everyday paraphernalia can become an interesting feature if stored in these stylish glass jars.

You can even use a Mason jar to keep your toothbrushes and toothpaste nice and tidy.

Be bold

BATHROOMS are often the ­smallest room in the house – and that’s a great excuse to be bold and daring with your decor.

Paint the ceiling a different colour to the walls to make a statement. It is far more fun than white.

Using a darker colour for the ceiling makes a room look grandiose and fabulous, or try a dark downstairs loo.

Claret, blue, green or even black will pack a punch.

Go bold to give your bathroom a real statement look

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Go bold to give your bathroom a real statement lookCredit: Shutterstock

Get hooked

WE like to be a little unconventional with bathroom accessories – and a great tip for this small space is to use antique hooks to hang up your towels.

You can pick these up at charity shops, car boot sales or antique emporiums to inject some personality into the room.

If they are looking a little rusty, spray-painting them is a quick and easy way to make them look good as new.

Towel ladder

IF you can hunt down an antique or old wooden ladder online, or you happen to have one going spare in the shed or garage, they make the perfect bathroom storage solution.

Give it a quick sand and varnish, or a lick of paint, then lean it up against your wall to hang your towels and other accessories.

This works well as a plant shelf or for toiletries too.

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A brilliant and very easy bargain.

The kids’ bedroom

PALLET BED

A FUN way of upcycling old ­materials is to make a bed out of recycled wooden pallets. We have tackled this project ourselves in Make Do And Mend.

Not only does it make a cool, cost-effective and quirky piece of furniture, it’s sustainable too.

You can pick up pallets on auction sites or wholesalers – or ask nicely at your local superstore and you might get some for free.

1 – You need enough pallets to make a platform for whatever mattress you are using. It is usually four, plus extra for a headboard if required.

2 – Give the wood a good scrub clean and sand well to remove any rough bits or splinters. Then pick your finish – varnish or paint – and apply. Allow to dry.

3 – Glue the four pallets into a square, or drill and fasten if you prefer. Turn upside-down and place your mattress on top. For a fun touch, you can add fairy lights.

BRANCH RAIL

KIDS’ rooms need a lot of storage and it can be tricky thinking of innovative ways to do it.

A fun idea is to hang a piece of old driftwood or a particularly attractive tree branch from the ceiling using rope or string. Then simply use hangers to dangle clothes from it.

Forage for fallen branches while out walking, then cut to size. Make sure to sand and varnish or paint your wood before hanging up so it stays in good condition.

BLACKBOARD PAINT

A FANTASTIC way of letting kids get creative in their own space.
Painting a piece of furniture in a bedroom with blackboard paint is simple, easy and cheap. It also looks fabulous and will provide hours of drawing fun.

Simply paint a wall, desk panel, door, side of the wardrobe or anywhere else you fancy. (Chalkboard paint, £13 at homebase.co.uk.)

WASHI TAPE

CHILDREN’S rooms are an excuse to let creativity run wild – and you can change your decorating ideas when little ones grow out of them.

A good, inexpensive way to add some fun and colour is to decorate with washi tape.

It comes in multiple colours, patterns and widths, so you can create stripes, checks, images and interesting geometric designs on their furniture, doors and walls.

Just measure, get creative and stick it on – it’s as simple as that.

Best of all, it can be removed just as easily as it was added when the kids get bored. (Pack of eight tapes, £9.50 at hobbycraft.co.uk.)

- Watch Dick and Angel’s online tutorial series at homebase.co.uk.

Escape to the Chateau’s Dick and Angel discuss adding decking to their new river boat





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