My ‘quick tidy up’ outbuilding makeover on a budget

We have a brick outbuilding attached the back of our home. It hasn’t been converted into part of the house (although hopefully, this’ll happen in the future) and it’s still used as ‘messy’ storage. Even so, I wanted to spruce up the exterior a little to make it look a little nicer in our garden so here are some photos of my quick makeover…

The outbuilding consists of a porch cupboard (where we keep the cat litter etc) and a shed-like space with double doors and a window. It’s a handy storage space to where we store tins of paint and our other DIY bits ‘n’ pieces that we’ve saved ‘just in case’. We haven’t done anything to the interior at all, it’s just bare brick and it’s rather mucky and, until this weekend, the exterior was the same.

The paint on the doors was peeling badly when we got the keys to the property three years ago and we haven’t touched them since so you can imagine what kind of a state they were in. I actually thought that the doors might need replacing because they looked so bad, but I thought I would have a go at tidying them up before writing them off completely.

The windowsill of the window was probably in the worst state of everything – the wood was flaking off and badly needed sanding back. I gave it my best shot and tidied it up, but I think it’s probably due for a proper repair soon – that’s if we don’t get round to renovating the space and incorporating it into our home first!

In the meantime, the doors and frames were looking rather grim and definitely needed repainting. After all our efforts to turn our garden from a wasteland into a nice outdoor space, the tatty outbuilding was now the only thing letting it down. And it’s the main view from our decking so a paint-job was well overdue.

I gave the doors a thorough scrubbing with a wire brush to get rid of the worst of the flaking paint and then did a little sanding to smooth it out. I had a very sore arm at the end of all the preparation, I can tell you!

I got out the tub ‘dark oak’ garden stain that we already had in our collection of leftover paint to start tackling the doors. We’d used this colour on our two sheds at the bottom of the garden and I’d earmarked the last of the paint for the doors ‘when I get round to it’. And that was more than a year ago, haha!

I went for two coats of the paint and it gave the doors a very tidy finish that completely covered all of the scrappy surface beneath. In the photo above, the left door has had two coats and the right door has had one. When I stepped back to admire my efforts I actually squealed at how much better it looked. It looked so much neater than I had imagined it would – almost as if I had installed new doors!

I felt encouraged to continue after seeing this and I’m going to pick up the paintbrush for a second time this week to finish off the small cupboard door and the window frame.

I’d definitely recommend having a go at painting something before scrapping and replacing it. Whether it’s doors, a wooden planter or even a whole shed, I bet it would look a lot better with just a quick coat of paint or stain. You might be able to give it a new lease of life so that you can get a few more extra years use out of it.


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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