Mum uses bargain buys to create kids' dream bedrooms in 'bare shell' of a home

Emily Watson took on an impressive four makeovers on a tight budget. (Supplied

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A woman has managed to transform her "bare shell" of a home into an Insta-worthy dream using savvy buys from eBay and the high street.

Redecorating bedrooms can be costly, but Emily Watson, 29, has managed to makeover not just one, but four rooms on a tight £1,500 budget.

Watson, a housekeeper from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, decided to embark on an ambitious four projects - a revamp of her own bedroom, a new space for her eldest son and the conversion of one larger room into two smaller ones for her two youngest children.

Having moved into a three bedroom house, Watson who is mum to Lewis, 11, Maisie, four, and Hugo, one, decided she wanted to give each of her children their own space.

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The house was a 'bare shell' when the family moved in. (Supplied

"We decided to halve the third bedroom in the back of the house to give my one and nine-year-old children their own space, so they all have privacy," Watson told money-saving community

Watson began the project by collecting inspiration from home budget Instagram pages.

"They showed me where to buy cheap furniture and how to upcycle old items with paint," she explains.

After her design research, Watson settled on the themes for the new rooms - her bedroom would become a chic grey and white space, while eldest son Lewis would be given a gamer-themed bedroom.

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It took some imagination to see the rooms' potential. (Supplied

Having split the third bedroom in half, each room was given a different theme with Maisie's new room designed with a floral polka dot colour scheme and Hugo's having jungle decor.

Watson was mindful that she didn’t want to spend too much on the projects.

"For my bedroom, I wanted to model it using some Instagram homes as inspiration. However, they weren’t in the budget for me if I was to buy everything as listed," she explains.

"Instead, I tried to recreate the look by purchasing supplies from Facebook Marketplace, B&M and Home Bargains."

Watson took inspiration off home budget Instagram pages. (Supplied

The mum-of-three wanted to try to keep the decor in her eldest children's rooms grown-up so the makeovers would last.

"I used ideas from Instagram homes for these as well," she continues. "As for my youngest, he has always loved the jungle so I wanted to give him a space where his imagination could run wild!’

Costs were also able to be kept low because most of the supplies and furniture for the projects were purchased second hand, from budget shops or sales where possible.

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Eldest son, Lewis, was given a gamer-themed room. (Supplied

"We also had help from a friend in the building trade to put up some stud walls and fit the electrics," Watson adds.

"We were also able to source several items on the cheap. For example, I got wall stickers from eBay for between £3 and £5 a sheet, and a roll of wallpaper for just £10.

"Overall the walls of stickers in each room were just £30 each, and I also got some gamer cushions for just £2 each."

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By going direct to the local builders merchants Watson says she was able to save on the timber and plasterboard, paying £60 in total.

She also bulk bought the paint, purchasing two tubs for £20 each from Dulux and two Valspar tubs for £30 each.

But the best bargains were the beds in her eldest childrens’ rooms, as they were free from Facebook Marketplace.

"The third bed was just £50," says Watson. "I’ve had a lot of people asking where it’s from - I got lucky with that find."

Lots of the furniture was sourced on Facebook Marketplace. (Supplied
The family's youngest child was given a jungle-themed room. (Supplied

That wasn't the only bargain the family were able to source on Facebook Marketplace.

"I also picked up a large stuffed giraffe for £45 and a pink chandelier for £20. There was a lovely hanging shelf with tassels that I got for just £5 and the grey lamps in my room cost just £25 for both. I also got my two mirrored bedside tables from Marketplace - £50 for both."

In fact, Watson says she paid very little for the furniture for the entire project.

"I got the Malmo Bedside Cabinet for £15 from B&M for Lewis’ room, and my mirrors and furniture were all second hand. For the whole set in my bedroom I only paid £150 - and that includes two bedside tables, a set of drawers and a dressing table."

When it comes to the finishing touches and accessories, Watson says she turned to the high street, spending no more than £30 on any one item.

"All of the smaller accessories are from either Home Bargains, B&M or The Range," she explains. "The most popular decorative piece among family and friends has been my Naomi Tripod Lamp, which cost just £20 from B&M."

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Watson sourced bargain finds from eBay and Facebook Marketplace. (Supplied

On the other end of the scale, the most expensive purchases were the jungle wallpaper, which cost £70 from eBay and Watson's bed from a company called Bedz, Bedzz & Bedrooms costing £500.

When it came to actually renovating the rooms, Watson says the preparation of the walls was the most time consuming job.

"We hadn’t re-plastered anywhere except one wall, so it took a long time to sand everything and white mist the walls before getting the paint on," she explains.

The biggest challenge was moving in to the house while it was still a bare shell.

"It wasn’t in very good condition, so we had to redo everything while we were living in the house," Watson explains.

"It took five long months, but the process was made easier because I’d been planning it for over six months before we moved in."

The decor in Watson's daughter's room followed a black and white theme. (Supplied

Watson says she started buying budget items before she even had a house to move to, which helped to save money once she was in her new home and meant she was able to put her own stamp on the spaces using bits and bobs she had collected over time.

"I knew we wouldn’t be able to afford a professional so we sourced everything ourselves and got the job done successfully on the cheap," she adds.

Commenting on the impressive transformation Tom Church, co-founder of, said: "Completing just one bedroom makeover is an extensive task, so Emily’s achievement is truly impressive. Each of these bedrooms has been given a total overhaul and will no doubt be fantastic spaces for years to come."

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