8 Quick and Cheap Ideas to Update Your Home

By Carolyn Strand

Trends change almost on a daily basis these days but you don’t have to redecorate on a big and expensive scale to keep things looking up to date.

Here are 8 simple and cost-effective solutions to keeping your abode on trend.


Clear the Clutter

A room full of knick-knacks and clutter can make it feel small, crowded and claustrophobic.  Take away a few items by getting rid of them, selling them or redeploying elsewhere in your home.  This gives items the space they need to shine.

Remove or Replace a Rug

Area rugs provide an anchoring focal point in a room.  Removing one or replacing it with another can change the entire look and feel in minutes.  If you have several, try moving them around to change things up.

Create a Feature Wall

A bold lick of paint, a striking wallpaper or even a photo gallery wall will change a room instantly.  Small accents to tie in such as cushions or artwork on other walls work brilliantly to bring a look together.

Move Furniture Around

The cheapest option of all!  Just relocating furniture within the room can make it feel brand new!  If there is too much furniture remove some to other areas of the house or sell it.

Update Furniture and Accessories with Chalk Paint

Completely change your look for the price of a tin of paint!  Whether you prefer a traditional, shabby chic vintage or modern look, you can update old furniture cost and time effectively with Chalk Paint.  We, of course, recommend Sarah Jayne Signature Chalk Paint which comes in a beautiful range of colours and doesn’t require additional waxing.  There’s lots of inspiration online to find a look you like.  You can do this with furniture, photo and picture frames, fireplace surrounds, ornaments, plant pots and more to link in with your inspired and original work.

Cushions and Throws

This is a great way to add texture and colour to a room and add a fresh new look.  You can even change them around according to the time of year.  Cosy, plush, heavier fabrics in the winter for example changed for lighter, brighter, fresher versions for Spring and Summer will lift a room instantly.

Deck The Walls

Rearranging your existing artwork can have a simple but effective impact.  Painting the frames of pictures and wall mirrors also rings a change.  If you don’t have or don’t want to buy new artwork, make some of your own!  Have a look on Pinterest for crafty ideas and if you are not so crafty, just frame up a great piece of wallpaper or fabric that matches in with your room!

Add a Mirror

If you don’t have one you can use, find a boot sale or charity shop mirror cheaply and paint the frame to match your scheme.  If you can hang it opposite a window this will instantly make the room feel bigger!

Keeping your home interior looking up to the minute doesn’t need to cost a fortune and in the end you can enjoy a completely unique and individual environment that is all your own and not from a showroom catalogue, whatever your style choice is.





Before progressing to distressing your painted piece make sure your overall finish is dry, including any over painted areas or blobs. Touch up any areas that require it. You may need a third coat depending on the darkness of the original item and the shade you are using.

You can at this stage add an additional step of dry brushing for a very distressed vintage look. Choose another shade different to your main shade and with a very dry, preferably old and less than perfect brush, pick up a tiny amount of paint and lightly brush it across some paper or a board so that the brush has a very small amount of powder dry paint on it. Apply this in very light strokes to your item. You may want to practice this technique beforehand.

Now you have your painted item ready for distressing it’s time to start rubbing some of the paint off! This can be a little difficult to get your head around so if you are doing a large or important piece we suggest preparing a small test item to hone your distressing skills first.


First, look at the item and think about if it was very old where it would have been handled or worn. Corners, handles, mouldings etc are all likely candidates, think about your item and where these areas would be.

Lightly sand these areas back and forth, start with a light touch and build up the pressure as you become familiar with the sandpaper and technique. Finer grade sandpaper or flexible sanding blocks are ideal for this.

If you make a mistake you can paint it out, let it dry and have another go.

When you are happy with the effect you can dust away the chalk dust with a suitable cloth, brush or hairdryer. Many people prefer to do distressing outside or in an area where the dust can easily be blown away.

Items that will have a lot of heavy traffic such as table tops, chair seats or drawer tops, will require a coat of Everlong One Coat Sealer. This is also water-based and provides extremely robust protection to protect that finished masterpiece. We advise only using Everlong One Coat Sealer only on the surface of the item (if needed) rather than the whole item.

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Sarah Jayne Signature Paint has amazing coverage but basic painting rules still apply.

Stir or shake your paint thoroughly before use as the chalk content can settle to the bottom of the tin. You may find it easier to decant some paint into a paint kettle or plastic pot for this and decanting is especially useful if it seems too thick after stirring, you can water the paint down.

Brush down or rub away any cobwebs, flaking paint and dirt. If the item is very dirty or looks like it may ‘bleed through’ (bleed through happens when tannins are present, mostly in pre-1930’s furniture) it will be advisable to wipe down with a sugar soap solution and dry thoroughly.

If bleed through is going to happen, it will occur after the first coat of paint has been applied and dried.  If you see discolouration or yellowing – that is bleed through and may require a coat of Sarah Jayne Signature One Coat Sealer on the bleed through before the next coat. This applies to all chalk paints and is a chemical reaction with the previous paint content.

Remove any handles before painting and set to one side. These can be painted individually or replaced if required.

Now turn the item upside down ready for painting, this helps reach all the tricky bits first, especially bun feet. If the item is too large to turn over, then work from the bottom up looking up at the item rather than down. This way undersides and overhangs get some coverage and then work again from the top down.

The first coat must be applied sparingly. Dipping the brush tip, in a tiny bit of paint and using long brush strokes in the same direction is the recommended technique. Once the first coat is on, a hair dryer or a heat gun (be sure to keep a good distance away from the paint to avoid heat cracks) can be used to dry thoroughly. Apply the second coat using the same principle as the first coat, but use a little more paint so the brush glides rather than drags over the first coat.

The new formula is great for watering down for a lighter, smooth and easy to apply finish if desired.  Sarah Jayne Signature Chalk paint already gives great coverage but a little watering down makes it go even further!

Lighter colours such as Vintage White and Porcelain will require more coats than darker ones.

For the smoothest finish and if you are not distressing the item for a vintage look, you can lightly sand between coats. Don’t forget to remove any resulting chalk dust (again a hairdryer is useful to blow the dust away)

Items that will incur a lot of heavy traffic such as table tops, chair seats or drawer tops, or for exterior use will require a coat of Sarah Jayne Signature One Coat Sealer. This is also water-based and provides extremely robust protection to protect that finished masterpiece. We advise only using Sarah Jayne Signature One Coat Sealer only on the surface of the item (if needed) rather than the whole item.

Exterior items such as stone garden ornaments, pots, wooden items etc can all be painted with Sarah Jayne Chalk paint and just require a coat of the One Coat Sealer for great protection without discolouration.

The finish of the paint is just like a waxed chalk paint. It looks and feels beautiful, is durable, wipeable and super easy to use. The finished item can be buffed more for a more waxed, less matt finish – the choice is yours!

You can use your Sarah Jayne Signature paint on many surfaces including wood, plastic, glass, fabric, stone, paper, ceramics, concrete, resin compounds, etc. You can even mix it with clay and moulding compounds!

Enjoy your paint and beautiful finished items – post us some pictures by email or on social media, we would love to see your projects


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