A mother with a knack for interior design revealed how she managed to transform three rooms in her house on a budget of just £717.
Mel Hamblett, 32, from Gloucester, converted her bedroom and two bathrooms using bargain items from budget stores and clever DIY tips.
The interior design enthusiast, who encourages people to steer away from bland beige and greys and instead bring pops of colour into their home said that even without a lot of money, people could put their stamp on their house by using a few well-chosen tweaks.
‘I often get messages from people who’ve said they’d written off new builds as having no character, until they’d seen one of my rooms on Instagram – which is such a compliment,’ Mel said to ABC Finance.
Mel Hamblett, 32, from Gloucester, totally transformed three rooms in her family home using bargain items and DIY tricks, and spent less than £717. Pictured: the spareroom before the makeover
The room now, with a blue velvet bed matching a floor cushion, with colourful pillows and a throw and dotted black and white wallpaper
Before, the room had brown carpeted floors – which Mel kept – and a wallpaper resembling wooden panels, which she got rid of
Using a black and white backdrop with the wallpaper, Mel used colourful pillows, throws and graphic bedsheets
While the wallpaper behind the bed is black and white, the rest of the room is white, and a feature gallery wall faces the bed
‘It’s become a real passion of mine to encourage people to stray from the more traditional greys and magnolia schemes, and add some real personality into their new build home (if that’s something that they’d like to do!),’ she added.
‘We don’t all have the budget for a home with high ceilings and period character, but with a bit of bravery when it comes to DIY, the ways you can add your stamp to a new build are endless,’ she went on.
The interior design-whizz said she took inspiration from what she saw on social media. She often is seeing images of inspirational homes as she moderates an Instagram page celebrating other new builds adding colour and fun into their homes.
When it came to redoing her own home, Mel said she started with pricier changes in her master bedroom and living-room.
But in order to keep within her budget, she turned to inexpensive tricks to redo the remaining rooms.
‘Once I’d started making home improvements, I wanted to bring other rooms in line with our colourful style, but we didn’t have a big budget, so we had to find ways to update on a shoestring,’ she said.
‘I love finding bargains on Facebook Marketplace and eBay and upcycling them with paint and patterned vinyl,’ she added.
‘Over the last two years I’ve been learning a lot of DIY to save money on hiring tradespeople; and I always search for discount codes before buying anything online’.
Mel had tried to redo the downstairs toilet in the past, but after a few failed attempts it became a running joke amongst friends.
‘With no DIY experience I’d picked the wrong bright blue paint and did an awful job of cutting in.
‘I tried to cover my mistakes with white paint and shortly after had a baby, so it stayed and became known as the ‘cloud toilet’,’ she said.
‘I eventually painted over it with some leftover brown paint we had in the garage which covered the ‘cloud’ but wasn’t an attractive colour,’ she added.
‘After improving my DIY skills, I fell in love with a wallpaper from Lust Home (Wild Thing Brights) which was a multi-coloured leopard print design and I knew this would be perfect for brightening the embarrassing loo,’ she said.
‘I planned out some MDF wall panelling and colour matched the panels to the same pink featured in the paper.
Pictured: the en-suite bathroom at the start of the renovations, with the old shower and beige wallpaper
Before, the bathroom’s walls were painted in beige and there were no decorations in the room at all
The bathroom now, with a kiwi green coat of paint, a new shower door and new swanky accessories
The en-suite bathroom was completed with floral green wallpaper, as well as several actual plants, pictured
Mel decorated the en-suite with plenty of plants, bringing an organic and colourful touch to her room, pictured
The tropical wallpaper of the en-suite matched the dark green paint and floral bedsheets in the master bedroom, pictured
‘I used some leftover stick-on wall tiles from a previous upcycle to cover the beige ones which came with the house, and added a powder blue pattered vinyl floor (For The Floor and More) to complete the look,’ she added.
‘I used a local timber merchant to get my MDF panels cut to size, this was very reasonable and I still have a huge sheet of MDF left for another project,’ she explained.
‘They had mixed lime green with slate and we thought it made a lovely bright ensuite bathroom,’ she said.
‘We used the colour Kiwi Crush from Dulux to paint the walls, and I later added two rolls of Jungle-themed wallpaper (Lust Home, Mowgli) to give it a more tropical vibe.
‘I updated our silver shower enclosure with black electrical tape to give it the effect of a Crittall door.
‘It’s easily removable if we ever change our minds on this look,’ she added.
The downstairs bathroom was painted in brown after one of Mel’s DIY fails a few years ago, pictured
With more DIY experience, Mel picked a pink and blue leopard wallpaper, and created and painted wooden panels made of MDF in pink, she also changed the floor, pictured
Pictured: the downstairs toilet’s new colourful wallpaper. Mel created the wood panelling herself thanks to DIY tricks
Mel also used plants and well-chosen artwork to bring even more life into the room, and offered contrast with a blue lino on the floor
When it came to her en-suite bathroom, Mel was inspired by the bathroom of an AirBnb she stayed in a few years ago.
But the biggest piece of work was the spare bedroom, which Mel had experimented with in the past as well.
‘Previously I had attempted to give the room a nautical theme, but it didn’t ever feel right and over time it became a dumping ground. We even used it as a temporary home for an old sofa at one point,’ she said.
‘I was heavily inspired by another Instagram account @eli_at_home, who has a teal bed with similar colour pops in her home,’ she said.
‘My husband thought the colour palette I had chosen would be too bright, but upon showing him how it had worked in Elisha’s home, he became more on board and trusted my idea,’ she added.
‘I used white paint to brighten and refresh the walls, and covered one wall in dalmatian print stickers from eBay. I upcycled most of the other furniture in the room, and really the only ‘new’ thing in the room was the bed which was £230 using a discount code,’ she went on.
‘I upcycled an old pine mirror using Frenchic Paint (Plum Pudding), an old telephone table which used to be in our hallway, was painted in blue, pink and yellow and given a shelf covered in a wallpaper sample.
And as for furniture, Mel turned to bargains online using platforms like Facebook Marketplac to find second hand picks.
‘The second bedside unit was free from Facebook Marketplace, and upcycled with Shell Yeah vinyl from Get Kooky and more of the same pink Frenchic paint to tie it in with the rest of the room,’ she said.
Gary Hemming, financial property expert at ABC Finance said: ‘Adding personality to your new build property is a great tactic for the future when you come to sell.
‘It enables you to stand out from the crowd of very similar style built properties and will help you sell your house quicker,’ he added.