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Moving or selling your home? How to cut the cost of the decorating

blue paint in can with brushBy Howard Brady

Everybody knows that buying and selling homes is notoriously expensive. You’ll have to face estate agency, legal, mortgage and removal fees – and even the potential cost of time off work.

Furthermore, whether you are selling your current home or moving into a new one, the cost of DIY and decorating to bring it up to scratch will only add to the bill. But at least there are ways of doing this without breaking the bank.

Clean and tidy

It might sound obvious but a deep clean and de-clutter will improve the look of your home beyond recognition – and it’s totally free. Scrub at grouting between tiles, clean carpets and de-scale taps until they are gleaming. If you are selling your home, keep the garden (especially at the front) cut back and tidy. First impressions count for a lot.

Mend and make do

If your kitchen looks tired or needs updating, you don’t need to stump up thousands of pounds for a new one. Paint the existing cupboard doors and change the handles. Buy cheap sticky-backed floor tiles from a DIY store and lay them yourself. You don’t have to be an expert; just take up one existing tile at a time, cut around it with a Stanley knife to shape the new one, and replace.

Don’t pay over the odds for paint

During the summer, DIY stores snap at each other’s heels to offer the best deal on paints, so keep an eye out for in-store special offers. There is also a whole host of discount vouchers for stores like Homebase and B&Q available on the internet so don’t leave home until you have checked.

Hang just one wall

Wallpaper may be back in vogue but it will come with a price tag to match. The good news however, is that you only need to paper one ‘feature wall’. The remaining walls can be painted with a colour that’s either neutral or complements the paper you choose.

Paint floors and use rugs

If the carpets in your new home are too ugly or dirty bear, rip the lot up, sand down the boards beneath and slap on some white floor paint. Then throw down a few cheap rugs until your budget extends to laying fitted carpets. With any luck this will be in time for winter so you can keep insulation up and energy bills down.

Acquire furniture for free – or buy it second hand

Furniture doesn’t have to cost you a penny. Check out websites like, and where people post unwanted furniture they are giving away for free; all you have to do is go and collect it. Alternatively check our charity shops in your area on As well as saving money, you may even uncover some treasures.

Don’t waste money on moving

Make sure the actual move costs as least as possible. If you are using a removal firm, shop around for the cheapest quote and try to avoid weekends which are usually more expensive. There are alternatives to traditional removal companies too. At you can list what you want transported and when, and delivery and courier companies already travelling in that direction will bid to take the items for a fraction of the cost of a removal firm.

Update your insurance

Finally, when you make improvements on your home, it's a really good idea to update your home insurance. Even if you've managed to do it on the cheap, you will have probably upped the value of your home and its contents. So be sure that your buildings and contents cover reflects this, as you don't want to leave yourself underinsured.

Want to know more? Then read our previous top five DIY and decorating tips.