When you’re renovating a period property, the costs can soon add up as you strive to maintain the original features. But there are ways that you can achieve a period feel without adding expensive originals – here’s how…If you’ve bought yourself a fixer-upper house (like I did!) and want to make the most of the few features it does have, it can be easy to spend all of your budget on the floors, fixtures, stairs and fire surrounds. But you don’t have to splash out to get an expensive, period style look. There are many things you can do yourself to add character or to maintain the features you already have without it costing a small fortune.
A fabulous find in any home renovation is quality wooden flooring. When you peel back that faded old carpet and find lovely planks beneath, you’re already saving money on installing new carpets or flooring. If the floorboards aren’t looking so great there are a couple of things you can do; remove the messiest planks and replace them with salvaged old boards, lay a (costly!) new wood floor, or paint the floorboards. This is the option I did when I discovered half-stained, okay-condition floorboards in my guest room. Now the space looks tidy and freshly renovated, without looking too ‘new’ – and all for the cost of 1 tin of paint!
ORNATE SKIRTING AND ARCHITRAVES
When you’re removing wallpaper or laying new flooring you might find that the skirting and architraves are looking a little worse for wear. Old houses have often been painted a great many times over the years, and this can lead to lumps, bumps and permanent drips in the ancient paint – what a mess. You can sand it back to a smooth surface and repaint, which is a rather time-consuming option. But where it’s beyond repair, you can replace lengths of the skirting or architrave with a new piece in the same profile as the existing fittings. With over 100 designs, from antique to modern, it’s easy to find matching skirting at SkirtingWorld.co.uk. MDF skirting and architraves can be easily cut to shape and makes it easy (and cost-effective) to repair these old features.
If your staircase is covered with tatty, worn carpet have a look underneath it to see what you can do to keep the period features in your hallway. You may find lovely wooden steps beneath the carpet and can simply sand and stain or paint them to restore the staircase to it’s former glory. If the stairs are in less-than-perfect condition but are still still functional, why not cover the centre of the steps with a runner? This means you can give over more time to sanding or painting the edges of the stairs, and cover the messier middle with a striped or textured carpet.
Often, an older house will have had the fireplaces taken out when central heating was added. And now, we want to put those period features back in! If fireplaces have been completely plastered over, you can open them up again and add a mantle piece above to bring a focal point back into the room. If there’s already an open fireplace but no grate, you can get a chimney-sweep to check that the chimney is functional and clear out any debris. If all is well, you can buy a second-hand grate or fireplace and bring the crackling fire back into the room.
I hope that these ideas have given you inspiration for renovating your period home and fingers crossed that you can save as many of those lovely features as possible. Let me know your tips for decorating an old house on a budget by leaving me a comment below and I’d love to hear from you if you try out any of these ideas.