Updating your new home on a shoestring

If you thought balancing the cost of important basics, like home insurance and security, with the creation of a fresh and vibrant environment was hard, we’re glad to report that it’s perfectly possible! Even on a budget there are many things you can do to add pizazz to your new nest, with these handy tips.

Yes, when you buy a new home, there’ll be rates and utilities, and you’ll need to calculate your sum insured for home insurance, invest in contents insurance, and think about a home security system. But once all these important things are covered, to protect you, your family and your valuables, the creative phase can begin! Read on for some great, economical home refresh ideas.

Off the wall


Wallpaper is a very fashionable finish right now and the variety of colours and patterns on the market is nothing short of phenomenal. Although the price per roll can be high, using it judiciously on a feature wall can produce an effect that’s just as eye-catching as a whole wallpapered room. Paint and paper stores often sell part rolls or have deleted wallpaper sample books available.

These pieces can be cut up and used for a sensational montage-style patchwork wall.

Cooking with style

Contemporary Kitchen setting

When it comes to kitchens, you don’t need to be stuck with décor that isn’t really you. There are companies specialising in creating new kitchens from old, with surprisingly effective results. They achieve this by respraying your cupboards and resurfacing the benchtops for a totally new look. Just add modern handles, some carefully chosen accessories and voila! Welcome to your up-to-the-minute entertainer’s showcase.

Bathing beauties

Bathrooms can be similarly transformed, so ask the kitchen company for a quote while you’re at it. Sometimes even changing or adding tiles can be sufficient for an effective refresh, which will last until you have funds for a proper renovation. Some other economical ways to update a tired bathroom are to simply change the colour of your towels or update the tap ware. Keep an eye out for sales, so you score top quality for a reduced price.

Emerging art

Ask an art college student to paint a mural on a boring wall – especially if it’s in a child’s bedroom. You could specify a particular cartoon character or fairy tale hero orheroine but sometimes, giving the artist free rein can bring the best results.

Beachy bliss

Go beachcombing for shells and coral to add character to a boring bathroom and if you have room, why not add pieces of driftwood too.

Fun with fabric

Colorful patchwork sofa with black and red cushions

Look for remnants at furnishing fabric stores and whip up some bright, fun cushions or even a Roman blind if the piece is big enough. Loads of videos online offer step-by-step examples and advice. If there’s fabric left over, whip something up for a friend!

And so to bed


Bedroom on a budget? No problem. You’ll often find good quality second-hand bed linen at charity shops and it’s easy to dye it, using this season’s most fashionable colours. If your bohemian self breaks through, tie- dying is a simple yet effective way of ringing changes.

Hang a collection of old mirrors on a wall for an exotic display that will also make the room seem larger. Industrial materials such as crates and pallets can be used to make fabulous, hard-wearing furniture.

If you decide to try any of these projects we’d love to share the results with, so take a quick snap and send it to brandteam@aainsurance.co.nz. And if you find other inspiring ideas on a budget we’d love to see those too!

About the writer:

Louise Richardson has worked in the media for close to 30 years, in the UK and New Zealand, writing about food, decorating, travel, beauty, fashion and much more. These days she specialises in property and lifestyle issues and as a keen interior decorator herself, loves keeping up with ever-changing trends. She realises that many of us have limited funds when it comes to our homes and enjoys sharing her own budget-conscious thoughts and ideas in order to inspire others.

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