I transformed my drab rental into a stunning home on a shoe string budget

 A SAVVY single mum-fo-two has shared how she has overhauled her shabby living room and kitchen with just £218.

29-year-old Charli Jones from Berkshire, moved into her new housing association home in March with her two children. 

Feeling like the property lacked personality and the majority of the decor was “plain and boring”, the smart mum decided to put her own stamp on the space. 


Charli updated her kitchen on a low budgetCredit: Jam Press
Charli's kitchen before she renovated it


Charli’s kitchen before she renovated itCredit: Jam Press

The kitchen featured plain grey flooring, tiling and wooden cupboards. 

To create a more welcoming and homey space, the mum updated the room by painting the cupboards, adding a marble-style splashback, costing just £5 per panel, and applied a bright white vinyl adhesive to the worktops, costing just £18. 

Once the transformation was complete, Charli, who is mum to Amelia-Grace, eight, and Rosie, four, shared it on her Instagram channel, amassing over 36,000 views and the motivation to update the rest of her new home. 

The savvy mum said: “Some areas were rather plain and the living room had woodchip wallpaper which was horrendous.

“I started with the kitchen and used marble effect PVC panels to replace the council house tiles, which cost me just five pounds per tile.

“I moved on to paint the cupboards and used adhesive foils to wrap around the worktops. I believe the total cost was just £78.

“Next, I ripped down the woodchip wallpaper in the living room and documented the entire process on social media.

“I relined all of the walls with a thick super fresco wallpaper to cover the woodchip. I applied a dado rail around the whole room, and painted the top half with a Valspar paint colour matched to Farrow and Ball, because it was cheaper.

“I spent a total of £140 on the living room for all the materials.

“I think the living room by far was the most challenging room, but definitely the most rewarding.”

The savvy mum of two pictured with daughters, Amelia-Grace, eight, and Rosie, four


The savvy mum of two pictured with daughters, Amelia-Grace, eight, and Rosie, fourCredit: Jam Press
Charli has made her home light, spacious and modern


Charli has made her home light, spacious and modernCredit: Jam Press

To date, Charli has only spent £218 updating the two rooms. The cost-cutting mum hopes that by sharing her approach to renovating her home online, she will inspire other families to try and transform their homes on a budget. 

The mum-of-two spent £270 on replacing the carpets in her property but used the materials she already had to update her hallway. 

She said: “It had to be done as the stairs were very noisy without it. It was my biggest expense but I did save a little by getting a family friend to fit it so I just had to pay for the carpet itself.”

This wasn’t Charli’s first crack at DIY; she previously updated another rental home for just £700. Wanting to move closer to her mum, Charli decided to move in March into her new home. 

She explained: “We moved into a home that was a little closer to my mum and just ten minutes away from my old house.

“I can stay forever and I can do what I like – within reason – to the property, which is great.

“I remember thinking that the house was lovely, but I saw so much potential in this one and knew I had to work my magic once again.”

After splitting with her partner in her previous home, Charli was determined to learn how to transform the space herself. 

In her old home, the savvy mum started with her bedroom, updating the wallpaper and adding new furniture from eBay. 

She said: “I won the highest bid on a bed on eBay for £52 and drove an hour to collect it.

“I was given a pine chest of drawers from a friend and I upcycled it and painted it white. Over a few months, I brought small accessories and curtains.”

I really needed change and to make the house feel more ‘me’ – so redecorated every single room.

Charli JoneJamPress

Next, she focused on the living room, where she switched the black wallpaper for a lighter grey, which made the space feel more open. 

She also sold her dark furniture and replaced it with second-hand white pieces and a gray sofa. 

While friends advised the mum to hire a professional to renovate the space, Charli was determined to complete it herself. 

She said: “My DIY transformation began in my previous home, after a break up with my children’s father.

“I really needed change and to make the house feel more ‘me’ – so redecorated every single room.

“I had never done any DIY previously, but I had a huge sense of pride come over me after I completed the first room which was my bedroom.

“I started working on the living room where I changed up the dull black wallpaper for a grey tone instead.

“I hung the wallpaper myself, painted the other walls and changed all of the soft furnishings. I had to sell my old furniture to enable me to buy new ‘second-hand’ items which would fit in with my new decor – but it was worth it.

“I was going against what everyone had told me and started painting the tiles in the bathroom, whilst also ripping up and laying down new flooring all by myself.

“I repeated this in the kitchen, but also painted the cupboards and walls as well as applying worktop vinyl to freshen up the space.”

Charli has used her Instagram account @no.42ourhappyhome to share home renovation tips and inspire others to try DIY. 

She said: “I created my Instagram to show people that you really can do things on a small budget.

“I’m a single mother with two daughters and work as a housekeeper, so I don’t usually have much money to spare.

“However, I like to put my money towards the house and do each room in stages.

“I’ve loved completing each room by myself, as it’s so rewarding and shows that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

The mum-of-two has learnt how to use DIY to upgrade her home


The mum-of-two has learnt how to use DIY to upgrade her homeCredit: Jam Press
Charli updated her living room on a budget


Charli updated her living room on a budgetCredit: Jam Press
Charli's living room before she updated it


Charli’s living room before she updated itCredit: Jam Press

We shared how a woman made a bed out of Ikea DRAWERS to give herself more room – and it looks amazing.

Plus, a mum saves thousands doing her bathroom by using £1 stick-on tiles.

And, a couple transformed their tired garden with bargains from Aldi.

Couple aged 22 completely overhaul dated bungalow all by themselves to create stunning first home

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