DIY and upcycling has saved these style-savvy homeowners a fortune

Making their own furniture and using clever DIY hacks, these creative homeowners have nailed the Japandi-meets-rustic look

living room with wall panelling and sofa
(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

After living through lockdown in a cramped two-bedroom flat and bored of their surroundings, these homeowners decided to make the move and go for a larger property with garden so that they could enjoy the outdoors too.

‘We were going to stay in our two-bedroom flat for longer, but lockdown changed everything,’ explains the homeowner. ‘There was no garden and we were sick of staring at the same walls. I really wanted an older property in a quieter area that wasn’t overlooked, with fields nearby for walking the dogs.’

The living room

through living room with fireplace and woodburner

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘Our flat sold within five days, and after viewing a few other properties we found this three-bedroom semi with a garden in Billinge, Wigan. It was at the top of our budget but it had so much potential to renovate and add an extension in future, and we loved the old doors and fireplaces.’

‘In the car on the way home we made an offer straight away, then exchanged contracts the day before the stamp duty holiday ended. It was a stressful time as we moved in June and got married in August!’

The kitchen

kitchen with black and white cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘Although the previous owner had started renovating the house, it was half done and everything was painted in bright colours. On the plus side, there was a new kitchen, bathroom and woodburner, but some of the walls needed skimming and there were still fitted wardrobes from when it was built. 

‘In the kitchen, we had to re-sand the solid wood worktops as they were in a bad condition with pan marks and water damage around the sink. After a few coats of Liberon finishing oil, they look so much better now.’

‘Although the kitchen that was already in the house is nice, I’m more of a green kitchen girl, so my next project will be painting the bottom cupboards in olive green. The stools are from B&Q.’

The dining room

dining room with table and slatted wall

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘After getting rid of some of the furniture the previous owners had left behind, we started with our bedroom as the carpet was quite worn. Luckily the floorboards were in good condition, so we sanded the floors in here and the guest bedroom.’

‘We did as much as we could with a floor sander and the rest with a hand sander, but it was worth the effort. Thankfully the laminate flooring on the ground floor in the dining room and living area had already been laid so that saved us a job, but it might need re-doing in future as the floor isn’t very level.’

Wood slat wall

dining room with slatted wall and dining table

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘We created the dining table and bench using scaffolding boards and legs from Amazon. Our dream design cost about £1,500, but this was around £180. The chairs and pendant light are from Ikea.’

‘We used pine planed slats from B&Q to create the feature wall panelling in two afternoons. You just turn one of the slats on its side to create the gap, and we used a mitre saw to angle it round the skirting board and make it look more flush.’

Faux wooden beam

through living room with wooden beam

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘I’ll give anything a go, so we’ve done everything on a tight budget with a lot of DIY projects. I learnt so much from my dad who always did jobs at home, and he learnt from my mum’s dad, so that knowledge has been passed down the generations. As well as putting up panelling and a slat wall, we’ve created a faux beam between the living and dining rooms, made a dining table from scaffold boards and constructed a bed from pallets.’

‘The faux beam only cost about £30 to make. There’s a small supporting piece of wood behind and we attached three pieces of wood to create a beam. I think I used every tool in the garage to give it a distressed look!’

DIY indoor tree

through living room with sofa and faux tree

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘I don’t do clutter-free living and have lots of bits and bobs, which I want on display. I love a Mediterranean garden feel, so there’s lots of rattan and textured urns around the house, but another way I’ve added a holiday vibe is by creating a 7ft tree for the living room instead of buying an indoor tree. I got the idea when I was walking the dog and spotted a massive branch on the ground.'

‘After cleaning it and drying it out, I painted a pot I’d found in the garden and fixed the branch into place with cement. Then I drilled holes in different parts of the branches, bought some faux foliage and exposed the wire ends so I could glue them into place. I loved it so much I created another one for the dining room.’

Easy wall panelling

living room with sofa and wall panelling

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘Our vertical panelling was the easiest kind to do, as it’s just plain pine slats in a pack of 10 from B&Q. There are no corners to cut and they’re stuck on with Gripfill, then painted in Mouse’s Back by Farrow & Ball.' It's a quick and simple way to fake wall panelling.

‘This chest of drawers was another Facebook Marketplace bargain that I sanded back. I also made the light using a B&Q shelf bracket, a hanging lightbulb fitting from eBay and a £10 shade from B&M.’

Woodburner and hearth

fireplace with woodburner and stone hearth

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘As soon as I walked in the house I loved the fireplace with the woodburner and stone hearth.’ 

‘Although we had a lot of colour in our previous home, here our style is more earthy and neutral with a mix of Japandi and farmhouse rustic. I struggle to relax so I wanted to create a place where I felt calm. Textured wall finishes are a big part of the look. I started experimenting in our bedroom using a specialist Bauwerk limewash paint behind the bed.’

‘I loved the effect but it was expensive, so for the rest of the house I tried a DIY technique using two different Wickes paint shades in a lighter satin and a darker matt finish. It gave the same look for a fraction of the price and is also wipeable.’

The guest bedroom

green bedroom with panelling and wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘The guest bedroom was painted an odd shade of blue before but I wanted more green in the house, so we used four fibre beadboard panels from Wickes and painted them in Annie Sloan Olive chalk paint. I love the Hua Trees wall mural in Dusty Green by Sian Zeng too.’

The master bedroom

bedroom with painted wall and cane bed

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

The rustic bedroom feels warm and inviting. ‘We’ve made our own version of a Balinese wooden bed using 12 pallets and scaffold boards around the edge. The bedding is from H&M and the La Redoute headboard was £100 in the Black Friday sale.’

‘I wanted a calming holiday vibe in here so used Bauwerk limewash paint to create a feature wall. At first we weren’t sure about the browny clay colour, which is called Bali, but after three layers it looked really good when it dried.’ 

‘‘I’ve also got a faux Ikea tree in the bedroom, but I re-potted it in a much larger antique shop vase, filled it with cardboard and put compost on the top to make it look real.’

The bathroom

green bathroom with basin and vanity

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

‘Eventually we’d love to make the kitchen and dining room open plan, then add an extension. In the bathroom, I also want to cover the tiles by the bath in micro cement as the shower gets the windowsill wet, and maybe upgrade to a freestanding bath.'

‘With our last place I bought lots of new furniture then realised it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. Here I’ve tried to source timeless second-hand furniture that I can upcycle. It didn’t feel like home for ages, but as we’ve added more pieces that we’ve made ourselves, it’s started to feel more personal.’

You can see more of the house and the renovation progress at @casacrank. ‘You can’t beat that sense of accomplishment and I’ve learned so many new skills. We’d love to do a self-build one day but I think we’ll be happy here for many more years.’  

With contributions from