Home Improvement Hero - £50 challenge

By Gem - 10:28:00

I (me and my family) have been renovating our home for over year now and it is close to completion. I've posted some before and after photos on the blog before and the transformation is pretty amazing if I say so myself. The interior is pretty much finished and we have added lots of decorative pieces to make it feel like a home. When I was approached to take part in the Home Improvement Hero challenge I wasn't sure there was anything left to tackle in my house.

The challenge was to change the look, feel or function of a room on a low budget. I had £50 to spend and I wanted to do something ambitious. I could have changed the colour scheme of the bathroom with some new soft furnishings and wall art or made some cushion covers for the spare room but I had a crazy plan...

I aimed to change my grotty old shed in to a quaint Summer house and create an entirely new room.


First up was the slightly onerous task of clearing the shed. We have a huge garage at the back of the garden that's only half full and much more secure than this shed so it seemed sensible to relocate the contents of the shed up there.

I cleaned the shed, mopping the floors and clearing away all the cobwebs and years of dirt so we had a nice clean base to paint on. This is what I had to work with:

I liked the shed as it was, a bit shabby and run down and it reminded me of a beach hut or the Dylan Thomas Boat House but the wood hadn't been treated for years and needed some attention before the wood deteriorated and I suppose it was a little grubby.
Before painting the cupboard and walls we made sure we did the following:
  • Removed flaking or defective paint and sanded down the surface to remove any sheen.
  • Made sure the surface was clean (no dirt or grease) and dry. 
  • Removed any rusty nails with a claw hammer
To use the surface preparation paint I stirred thoroughly before use to ensure completely mixed, oil settles at the top.
I applied 1 coat with a brush/roller to previously coated surfaces or 2 coats to bare surfaces. I left 2 hours to dry between coats. 


After leaving the
paint to dry over night I applied a top coat of white gloss suitable for wood to the wall and ceiling. Such a messy job, I still have some in my hair that just wont come out!

Next came the fun part of dressing my lovely new 'Summer house', I already had a lot of decorative items like the cushions and the table cloth so I only really needed to get some bunting to add colour.


My bargain Ikea lamp was £6 and I know this will get lots of use in the evening when I'm in here reading. I might pop back to Ikea and get some of those fairy lights that you pop batteries in to make it extra cosy.


I picked up this bit of lace in a charity shop for 20p to use as a table runner but it's never been used. I used little pins and a hammer to secure it to the wooden window frame to dress the window. Not entirely functional but the window is facing a wall so I'm not being overlooked in the shed.


The gorgeous Hydrangea came from my front garden, I love my free supply of flowers in the summer.


Another charity shop find coming in at just £1.50, such a pretty print.


Sookie loves the make over too, she's already dragged some toys in there.
I'm not going to lie, this took a fair amount of hard work but I'm really happy with what I achieved with my £50 budget. Emptying the shed, sanding and painting took up a whole weekend. I've got a whole new room that I can enjoy and I can't wait to relax in here with a cup of tea and a good book. I'm hoping to find some more chairs for when I entertain on freecycle, I've put an ad on there asking for wicker chairs and I hope to give the floor a coat of paint but can't find the right colour at the moment.
Total Cost: £48.68
Dulux Multi Surface Primer & Under Coat Paint 250ml - £8.98Ikea chair: £11
Lace: £0.20 (charity shop)
Ikea lantern: £6
Bunting: £6 (eBay)
Floral print: £1.50 (charity shop)
White gloss top coat: £12
Paint roller: £3 
So there you have it, with a lot of effort and a small budget you can make a huge difference.

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  1. Wow gem the transformation is amazing! What an amazing little hideaway!

  2. Wow lookit what you did! You must be feeling well proud looking at the before and afters?! Sookie :D

  3. Oh Gem I am SO impressed! You've worked wonders with it.

    1. Thanks Alex, going to re felt the roof at the end of the Summer I think so I can go in there all winter.

  4. What a great job, it looks amazing! xx

  5. WOW - what an amazing transformation - looks like a beautiful haven now :)

  6. This looks absolutely amazing, you have done SO much! I love that you've put so much hard graft into it too rather than just buying some cushions or something! Well done you! xo

    1. Was dying on Sunday and my arm I was using to paint with was killing, I was cursing myself for not buying some soft furnishings to jazz up a room but I'm in lovey with my little shabby shed now :)

  7. Amazing! You put in so much effort! Sanding wood and painting can get so tedious. It looks so cute and cosy.

  8. It looks fab! I can't believe you managed all this on such a little budget too, well done you! x

    The Little Things

  9. Gem this is absolutely lovely! You have created the perfect little hideaway :)

    Maria xxx

  10. Wow Gemma this is amazing! You have done so well! I want to come cosey up in your shed :) x

  11. This is incredible Gem! You now make me want to go out and buy a shed immediately, so I can do this, and put it in my car park (who needs a garden these days!).
    Can I sleepover here please?xx

    1. exactly, gardens are overrated ;) you're welcome for a sleepover at any day! xx

  12. Wowzer! You've been a busy girl Gem, I'm impressed with these DIY skills, and the finished result is totally stunning. You should get Homes and Gardens to do a feature on fancy sheds and include yours!

    P x

    1. Aaaw thanks, still want to do some more work on it but going to take my time. Re-felting the room might be pushing my skills so will need help with that x

  13. Gem this is amazing! How pretty! And Hydrangeas are my favourites!

  14. This is lovely and Lively Gem, Tidying up is always a harder job but once we start decorating we can never stop it.

  15. This looks amazing- you're so lucky to have a cute shed. I don't think I've EVER seen a shed in London. lol. x

  16. Well deserved winner! What a fabulous transformation. Great job x

  17. wow looks fantastic, definitely going to pin this for inspiration!

  18. Wow, this looks fantastic. I'm definitely going to pin it for inspiration.


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