Couple reveal key to creating gorgeous furniture on a tiny budget
- Sandra and Mark Lidsey, from Kent, transform furniture on a budget
- They seek out cheap furniture on Shpock and Facebook Marketplace
- The couple then use affordable materials like wallpaper samples and paint to give it a new lease of life
Sandra Lidsey, 50, and her husband Mark, 52, from Kent, are the dream team when it comes to finding free furniture and upcycling it.
Sandra told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: “I haven’t been able to work for a while now due to a couple of heart attacks and other illnesses, and my husband had to give up work to take care of me.
"Our children are all grown up now and after my second heart attack on New Year’s Day last year I decided I needed to do something different but being on an extremely tight budget we had to think of things that we could do.
"I bought a 10 litre tub of grey paint for £10 from a lady on Shpock and that was it!”
Sandra and Mark, who have four adult daughters, soon fell in love with transforming furniture, changing everything from their bathroom to their bedside cabinets using simple, affordable ingredients such as paint and sample pieces of wallpaper.
The couple found furniture using apps like Shpock or Facebook Marketplace, bagging crazy bargains such as two chests of drawers and a wardrobe for just £10 and then transforming them.
"Obviously there was a lot that I couldn’t paint and had to get my husband to do the hard parts,” Sandra adds. "I did the stuff where I could sit down and manage.
"We did the bathroom first and after my husband had painted the walls, I painted an old bedside cabinet and wallpapered the drawers with a sample piece of paper from B&Q.
"We painted the mirror cabinet and bought a lampshade for 50p in a charity shop! We then did our kitchen with the same paint and did it all up for less than £100 including flooring.
"By this time, we had done up a few bits of other furniture we had and completely had the bug.
"The bedroom was next. Our bed had been given to us by our daughter and I had some material left over with which I covered the headboard.
"My husband collected two chests of drawers which we got with a wardrobe for £10 on Facebook Marketplace, so in theory they cost £5 for the two.
"The dressing table cost £10 from Shpock, cushions were 50p each from a charity shop and so was the lampshade which I covered in wallpaper.
"We used the big tub of paint and mixed it with some white we had left over then painted the drawers and dresser.
"The bedside cabinet was free and the lamp was £2 in a charity shop. The fire was free from a friend and the surround was adhesive tiles from Poundland.
"The circles and pattern on the drawer and dresser are a sample piece of wallpaper too!"
Sandra and Mark are keen to help others who want to transform their homes on a budget, and are considering start their own YouTube channel to share their DIY wisdom.
"We’re thinking of starting a vlog or a YouTube channel that helps people have nice homes even if they have a very tight budget,” Sandra says.
"All our furniture in our living room and dining room was completely free and upcycled by us both.
"My top tips are to look around for freebies, on places like Facebook Marketplace, Shpock and Freecycle in your area.
"Look around at paints and materials you might have at home that you can use. Fancy paints aren’t needed, and pound shops are great for brushes, rollers and so on.
"But the main tip is to trust yourself - you haven’t got to prove anything to anyone, and in the worst case, if you don’t like what you did, you haven’t spent a lot of money so you can try something else!
"I feel a great sense of pride when I look back at the finished project and think ‘wow, we did that and for little money’.
"In a world where so much is disposable we did our bit to save it and it made us happy at the same time!”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, says: “There’s nothing I love more than a good bargain, and there’s no bargain quite like getting furniture for a fiver and turning it into stunning bespoke pieces.
"Sandra and Mark have put their all into transforming uninspiring bits of furniture into standout treasures and it just shows that you should always consider how to reuse and upcycle something before you think about throwing it away.”
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