1. Find advice online
• The Plascon Inspire Me app (www.plascon.co.za/tools/download-links.asp) lets you take a picture of a colour, match it and find complementary colours. You can also choose and store your preferences and ideas for your makeover. It’s ideal for both keen decorators and those who prefer to plan before they get going – saving time and money in the process.
• www.homeservices.co.za: Source the right vetted contractor for the job – whether that’s fixing a leaking tap, painting a wall or repairing a gate. It’s ideal if you’re not particularly adept at DIY, as you can avoid wasting money on botched jobs by calling in an expert.
• www.hgtv.com/decorating: Search by room and style through photos uploaded by designers around the US; sign in to save your favourites.
• www.homestyler.com Virtually decorate spaces based on their actual dimensions with this room designer that uses 3D images and real-life products.
2. Gather your tools
In addition to a spirit level (for frames) and a stepladder, here are some makeover must-haves from designer Sabrina Soto:
• A 5m measuring tape lets you size up the room (don’t forget windows and nooks) and furniture.
• Painter’s tape not only protects moulding from paint but can also mark where to align tops of frames before you hammer or drill. It’s a must for painting stripes too.
• A canvas dust cover shields furniture and floors, and does double duty as a ‘slip’ to let you push furniture over floors without scratching them.
• A cordless drill bores holes and can help you assemble (or disassemble) flat-pack furniture in no time.
3. Bust-proof your budget
• Itemise the room’s contents. Divide the list into ‘keep’, ‘maybe’ and ‘discard’. Move furniture around the room and from one room to another to see whether you can improve the way in which your different spaces work. The sites www.movingon.co.za and www.gumtree.co.za are great for selling no-longer-loved furniture.
• Make a shopping list. Determine what you will need, as well as the expected costs (realistically), then add at least 10%.
• Save receipts. Note what’s returnable, in case you realise something just doesn’t work.