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DIY Mum Creates Incredible Colourful House For Under £4,000 During Lockdown

  • Emma McAllister, 35, spent her lockdown transforming her home into a stunning zebra-themed paradise
  • She spent just £4,000 renovating her entire home
  • Emma used cheap materials such as vinyl tiles and MDF and accessories from TK Maxx

If your home is looking a touch boring and you’re looking for motivation to jazz it up, we have the perfect inspiration for you: this incredible colourful house.

Emma McAllister, 35, a mum of three and paediatric nurse, spent her lockdown shielding, and decided to spend the time at home turning her house into an amazing zebra-inspired paradise.

She managed to renovate her entire home for under £4,000 by learning DIY, using cheap materials such as vinyl tiles and MDF and stocking up on affordable accessories from TK Maxx.


Emma, who lives in Tyne and Wear, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I bought my house in August 2020, and in the October I was diagnosed with MS and a rare spinal condition.

“Because of this I then had to stay at home and shield from work. I am a paediatric nurse and work in an A&E department.

"So because I had months and months of staying at home I decided to focus all my time and energy on decorating my home as bright and colourful and happy as I could.


"I love zebras and they also are a symbol of rare diseases so I chose to add lots of zebra prints into my home.

"I created a Instagram page called zebra.homeinspo and met lots of amazing people with amazing homes which also inspired me.

"I ordered lots of things online and sourced the best prices for things and got to work decorating.


"I have three boys who also loved helping me paint and pick out things they wanted for their rooms.

"I did everything on a budget and my partner did all of the work such as the panelling and wallpapering.

"I found my bath online which was a lot cheaper than most places and then a plumber did the plumbing work.


"I started with the internal doors. I wanted something different so decided to go with pink doors. I used Farrow and Ball Sulking Room Pink.

"I then decorated the living room. I added panelling and moulding to the walls, which was just cheap wood from B&Q which I nailed and glued to the wall and painted with Valspar black paint.

"I also wanted a fake fireplace wall in here - a family friend built this for me so the cost was free and we paid another family friend £50 to plaster it.


"We bought the sofa from Sofology and the table from Next. I then added wallpaper which was gifted to me by Lust, and the cushions and accessories which I got cheap from TK Maxx.

"The total cost of the living room was about £2,000 but that was because of the sofa and table.

“For the kitchen I added the breakfast bar so my children could sit here - this was £40 and then I decorated it with polka dots and paint.


"My kids rooms I wallpapered again, and added black and white accessories which cost £50.

"For my bedroom, we added panelling all along the back wall as it is a long room so needed a feature.

"We bought MDF from B&Q and measured and cut the sizes we needed, and then primed and painted this.


"I wanted a bath in the alcove, so I searched the internet and found a black and white free standing roll top bath for £500.

“A friend of the family then came and built a frame which the bath would sit on and the plumbing would go into and be hidden.

"This was free of charge: the plumber then cost £600.


"I bought vinyl tiles from Amazon for £10 a pack to cover the frame.

"I then added a seating area with two chairs from Amazon for £80 for two and a drinks cabinets from B&M for £30.

"I decorated my drawer with zebra vinyl from Get Kooky and added rugs and accessories. Overall, the bedroom cost £1,500.


"The whole house cost £4,000 to renovate, including the big pieces of furniture we bought.”

Emma is super happy with how her colourful renovation turned out, and says the project was a lifesaver during the pandemic.

"I absolutely love my bright coloured home and wouldn’t change a thing, although I’m always changing a few things here and there because I love to paint and decorate,” she adds.


"The biggest challenge was the bath - because of the pandemic it was so hard to get a plumber so this took months of people cancelling and trying to find a new one.

“My main tip I would say is don’t be afraid of colour - it’s only paint and you can always go back to white!

"I really enjoyed decorating my home and loved looking online at things to use such as the bath I chose.


"I experimented with using colours such as pink and green and loved the colour combinations.

"It actually wasn’t too hard to do for £4,000 if you research what you want and do the work yourself.

“For example, I would say to search loads of different places for similar things that cost less - we used vinyl tiles as we couldn’t afford real ones but we love them just as much.


"I would highly recommend a project like this as I loved seeing the rooms change.

"It saved me during the pandemic as I think it gave me something to do and look forward to, and the colours brought happiness into my home!”


Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Lockdown was an incredibly tough time for many families, with staying at home for months on end proving to be extremely challenging for most of us.

“However, Emma has shown the amazing strength we have within ourselves, taking the time at home to turn her house into this colourful, unique and very on-trend space.


“The house looks like it cost tens of thousands of pounds to pull off, so it’s amazing Emma managed to keep costs down thanks to some really savvy ideas and budget materials.

“I'm sure this zebra house must be the envy of all her Instagram followers!"

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Comments+20 points

Out of all the house renovations i've seen on LD's I like Emma's the best. I love the bold colours and how much she has transformed her home on a budget. Image

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