First-time home owner transforms her dated house for less than £4,000

First-time home owner transforms her drab and dated house into a maximalist paradise for less than £4,000 by upcycling furniture, making her own prints to frame and knocking up her own shelving units for £100

  • Megan Cameron, 27, from Durham gave her home a new lease of life without overspending
  • Making her own cushions and upcycling furniture to create unique pieces saved thousands of pounds  
  • With help from family, she layed flooring, replaced doors and skirting boards
  • Her spare room with a painted pink ceiling is one of the most unique in the house  

A first-time home owner has completely rejuvenated her house for less than £4,000.

Megan Cameron, 27, bought her first home in Durham with her fiancé John two years ago.

The graphic designer has since turned the space into a moody, maximalist dream – with the living room undergoing an impressive makeover on a tight budget.

Unhappy with the tired, dull space, she decided to give it a new lease of life with new units and shelves, a fresh lick of paint, and second-hand décor to spruce it up.

Megan Cameron and her fiancé completely transformed their home in just two years and spent under £4000


The living room before the renovation was dreary and and lacked character (left). The couple ripped up the carpet and laid down new flooring themselves, and called on dark blue hues and mismatched prints to liven it up


Before the transformation, all the colours were neutral and dated and Megan thought it lacked personality (left). After buying second hand furniture and painting the sitting room the couple’s space was transformed into a maximalist’s dream

‘The units and shelves we built didn’t cost much more than £100 and once painted it really made such a dramatic change to the room for the better,’ Megan told Jam Press.

‘I feel it makes it look like more of an expensive home and I have been able to add more decoration and plants to achieve that dramatic, maximalist finish.’

Megan shopped second-hand to keep the budget down to a minimum, including an up-cycled old chair from her dad, which she painted black, as well as throws knitted from her grandmother and cushions she made herself.

She also used paints to revive old furniture including a wooden bureau and wicker chair.


The bureau before the upcycling was a plain brown and not to Megan’s taste (left). With a lick of black and red paint, she transformed it into a centrepiece (right). Upcycling furniture herself meant Megan could save on costs that are often sky high for new pieces while also bringing her own touch


The toilet was dreary and plain before renovation, but some colourful teal wallpaper with gold spots gave it a new lease of life and brought dimension to the room

Megan and John were first time homeowners when they bought their Durham property two years ago who quickly delved in to DIY

She added: ‘I’ve bought most of my furniture from second-hand shops and done them up myself, I’ve painted, added gold leaf and even wallpapered some of my furniture!

‘I’ve recently started creating my own prints to put on the walls to save money as well!

‘If I know I can do something myself I tend to, as I love the challenge and how rewarding it feels knowing you’ve made something yourself rather than buying it.

‘I’ve been obsessed with interiors ever since I bought my home, I have always been creative and loved designing, so decorating my own home was a dream for me.’  

Megan made her own cushions to save on costs and bring her own tastes to life in a unique, fun way. Usining a machine she embroidered stars onto black velvet

The embroidered cushion after being made. Megan also started making her own prints for the walls to save on splurging on multiple pieces


Megan inherited a wicker chair from her father and decided to paint it to better match its surroundings, she also created a turquoise cushion to go with it, and embroidered it with gold stars


Megan bought most of her furniture from second-hand shops and did them up herself. Left: The second hand bureau before upcycling had great shape but wasn’t fitting with the theme of the house. Right: The bureau after the upcycling looked right at home once painted and megan chose several vases that matched with the wall behind it

The property is now unrecognisable as a result of her efforts.

Megan said: ‘It was very outdated so we had to get ceilings and walls skimmed as our house was built in the 1920s.

‘We did get a few nasty surprises including uneven flooring, random holes in the walls, which were taped up with cereal boxes, and dodgy plumbing.’

As well as using her own DIY skills, Megan also had some help from her father-in-law to renovate every room in the house without breaking the bank. 

The spare bedroom before the renovation was drab and needed old paint to be peeled from the doorway, which Megan and her family did herself

The hallway after the renovation is filled with prints Megan has both bought and created herself. To elongate the stairs she chose striped a carpet

Because of her love for adventurous paint colours, Megan also decided to paint the guest room ceiling pink, making it one of her favourite rooms

She added: ‘We renovated every room with a budget, we did this by doing 90% of things ourselves including ripping out wardrobes, building the units and shelves in the living room, ripping up and laying flooring, and replacing doors and skirting boards ourselves.’

It took them around six months to do everything they needed to before they could move in.

Megan said: ‘It was a lot of late nights and strenuous tasks but it was worth it in the end, and knowing we did it ourselves make it feel like the house is more your own!’

Because of her love for adventurous paint colours, Megan also decided to paint the guest room ceiling pink, making it one of her favourite rooms.

A chest of drawers upcycled by Megan, she painted it black and added gold leaf to the corners as a detail. To round off the look she chose black and gold pots to sit on top


The master bedroom before the renovation had a worn carpet and a dated fitted wardrobe. Ellen went for a green colour scheme with a velet bed, dark walls and a funky neon sign 

Thae master bedroom has on-trend green walls, a variety of cushions on the bed to add colour and print, and  a neon light on the wall behind the velvet headboard 

Before the renovation, the master bedroom was disorganised and jam-packed full of their belongings

She added: ‘Painting the ceiling pink was the scariest but the best thing I’ve done, I remember sitting with the paint for about an hour thinking, should I do this?

‘I think if anyone wants to instantly change up a room and make it more exciting, painting the ceiling with a pop of colour will elevate any room and definitely get people talking!

‘Every time we have guests over we always get comments on how amazing the room is.’

The couple spent between £3,000 – £4,000 renovating the whole house, which included adding new doors, skirting, paint, ceilings skimmed, new flooring for the whole house and carpets. 

In the sitting room the pair did their own skirting boards, paint, ceiling skim, and put in new flooring. The walls are on an-trend dark green, but it’s farm from gloomy with a zebra print rug, an array of house plants and cacti and gold accents such as a pineapple 

Megan suggests adding a pop of colour somewhere in any room to instantly make it more exciting to look at. She painted her bureau black and orange and wallpapered the alcoves to give it a whole new look 

Megan said: ‘We spent next to nothing on the spare room as we ripped out the fitted wardrobes ourselves and painted it ourselves so I’d say probably it cost £150 including flooring and paint.

‘The master bedroom probably was the most expensive as our fitted wardrobes cost £800 but other than that we probably spent around £200 on the flooring and paint.

‘I would definitely describe my taste as eclectic, moody and maximalist. I know it’s not everyone’s taste but it’s mine and I love it.

‘I don’t understand why everyone wants their house to look like everyone else’s, it should be personal and reflect who you are.’

Megan would describer her taste as eclectic, moody and maximalist. She livened up the bathroom with teal and gold wallpaper, and pun framed prints with a jungle theme 

The couple don’t understand why others seem to want a house that looks like anyone else’s, saying ‘it should be personal and reflect who you are.’

Megan’s bureau upcycling project: Thanks to black paint, gold-painted handles and wallpaper, she now has a completely unique piece of furniture  

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