Affording Home Improvements

Home improvements can often be very expensive. Paying for them can be difficult for some people. Some will just get a loan for the work, but others may prefer not to do this.

Paying people to do work is not normally something you can do on your credit card. You may be able to buy materials that way and if you do the work yourself this can mean things are much more affordable. Labour can be one of the biggest expenses, depending on the nature of the work. You will want a good quality job and you will know whether your skills are up to it. However, you might be able to do some part of the work, even if you cannot do all of it. You need to be aware that you will need certificates for electrical work and so it will need to be done by someone qualified.

Because you cannot normally pay contractors by credit card, then the way that you can borrow money for building work is limited. You could extend your mortgage which will mean that you are paying it back over a long period and this can make it easier to pay back but more costly. You could use a loan but these are not that easy to get these days. If it is not too expensive, you might be able to use an overdraft.

It can be best to try to save up to have the work done. This may not be easy if you are having a huge amount of work done, but if you can pay part form savings, this can make it cheaper in the long run as you are not paying for interest and bank charges on top of the cost of the work. Therefore if you can wait a while and put money aside, this can be the best thing to do.

Home Improvements DIY – Types of Storage

A clutter-free home will always feel more relaxed and look more spacious than an untidy one. Although it’s true that you can never have too much storage space, you need to think carefully about the type of storage that will work and look best, as well as the amount you require.


Cupboards are ideal for storing big items and anything you want to keep out of sight. Fixed to the wall, they can also keep floor space free. If your walls are uneven, a cupboard won’t sit straight, so hang one on adjustable brackets or timber battens fixed to the wall. With suitable fixings, cupboards can cope with quite weighty loads but you need to make sure that they are loaded evenly, storing the heavier items at the bottom, rather than all to one side. Ensure that the top shelf is easily accessible and the contents can be seen and reached easily.


Drawers are often more convenient than cupboards because they open to give you a clear view of the contents. The most versatile units are those that offer different depths of drawer. Avoid storing heavy items in a drawer, unless the base and runners are sturdy.


Wall-mounted shelving is very versatile, particularly if it is adjustable. Floor-standing shelves can be moved around as required and can usually cope with heavy loads. If unevenly loaded, a tall floor-standing unit can be pulled over, so use discreet angle brackets to secure it to the wall. Shelves less than 200mm (8in) deep are generally suitable only for display purposes or toiletries. Heavy items like books will require shelves at least 18mm and preferably 25mm (1 in) thick.

Hooks and Rails

A peg rail or one with hooks and a narrow shelf offer handy hanging space for anything from coats to pairs of shoes, toys or sports gear. In children’s rooms and hallways make sure the rails are low enough to be reached easily.

Dual-Purpose Furniture

Invest in furniture that will do two jobs in one. A blanket box or a chest make good alternatives to a coffee table or a bedroom chair. They can be used for books, bedding or bulky sweaters, while a window seat could double as a spacious cupboard.

Organising Space

Cupboards, drawers and fitted wardrobes are more versatile if the inside is organised to suit your needs. Fitting a second, lower rail in a wardrobe that is used only for shirts and trousers instantly doubles the hanging space, or you could take advantage of the spare space by installing a bank of drawers. Complete systems of shelf units and hanging rails are available for transforming fitted wardrobes into fully functional storage.

Items stored at the back of floor-standing cupboards can be hard to reach but wirework systems (designed for kitchen cupboards but no less useful elsewhere) will convert the space and bring the contents closer to you.

Drawer organisers and trays ensure the contents are filed neatly and don’t get mixed up; they are most useful for stationery, cosmetics and underwear.