How I turned my flat into one of York’s best homes – on a budget

Jack's bedroom after a brilliant budget makeover. Photographs: Jack D March
11 Feb 2019 @ 7.02 pm
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Hi! I am Jack D. March, a creative guy from York with a passion for interiors and design.

I have a love for creating new looks for my home and often showcase these through Instagram whilst also blogging about my home makeovers on a budget.

The Best House In Town
  • Mon 11 Feb-Fri 15 Feb @ 3.45pm / 3.55pm
  • BBC One

It’s this passion that led to me being approached to be part of a new BBC show Best House In Town where I’m set to feature in the Apartment category.

Now I am not naive to the fact that the property ladder is extremely tough to get onto for people my age, and I am aware that even once that big leap is made, money is tight which can make it challenging to create your ideal home.

I was, and still am, in that bracket – living alone and paying the bills hasn’t left me a lot of money to work with for decorating and home improvements.

That said, this is the exact reason why I decided to start blogging about my room makeovers on a budget and I’m thrilled that YorkMix has asked me to share some tips with you.

Bargain hunter

Jack at his flat in York in The Best House In Town. Photographs: BBC / Sidney Street Productions
Interior design presents me with a creative outlet – something which I’ve battled with maintaining since graduating from my design degree in 2012.

Jack’s links

But I am also a Yorkshireman and with that comes a bargain hunter mentality! Many of makeovers have been done at either my home or my partner’s home, and each time I take Instagram on the journey with me.

A total of £100 to redecorate a bathroom may seem expensive to some, but is it really much more than a night out, pizza and a taxi home? (And at least you don’t have a hangover at the end of it!)

Bedroom: Upcycling and selling!

When I moved into my apartment I couldn’t afford to furnish the spare bedroom, so instead I found an old table and chairs for £50 on an online selling site and created a dining room to fill what would have otherwise been an empty unused space.

However last September I decided to take the plunge and re-covert the room back into a bedroom. To do this I sold the table and chairs together with some other items which I had picked up either for free or cheap from local markets or online and upcycled.

This in itself raised over £250 towards my redecoration fund.

How it looked pre-makeover

Bedroom Tips

  • Prioritise: Just like clothing, home accessories can come in and out of fashion so frequently. So before investing heavily in accessories, step back and question – do you need a £60 sheepskin cushion, and if so why? Is there a far cheaper alternative that will work just as well to achieve the same look
  • Second hand: Don’t be afraid of a little upcycling project. Most of the furniture in my room was upcycled from low cost pieces I found on Facebook, eBay and local York places like Fully Furnished
  • Pioneer: take a chance on the internet (just check the returns policy frst). When looking for headboards I found so many expensive ones, until I stumbled across an uncharacteristically cheap one on Amazon. I took a chance and it was perfect, but if it wasn’t – I was safe in the knowledge that I could return. (Just make sure you put pics on your amazon review to help others who may have the same doubts before they hit the buy button)

Bathroom on a budget

Jack’s bathroom
The bathroom was the first thing I changed when I moved in – painting it in some leftover paint from my parents’ house to at least freshen it up until I formulated my plan.

It was a nearly a year later I got round to it and it cost me a grand total of £83 to give it a new lease of life.

Bathroom Tips

  • Flooring: Some flooring retailers sell off remnants and end or rolls – These can often be perfect for small areas such as a bathroom
  • Lighting: If you are in an apartment and have not windows in the bathroom then keep it bright with bright lighting and light colours
  • Wallpaper: Check out wallpaper sales sections – a small space will on average only need one roll (so its not like you need to be concerned with matching the batch number!)

Spare room – simple and savings friendly

Simple and stylish
When it comes to styles everyone is different – my partner prefers more of a clean cut look. So when it came to decorating one of their spare rooms on a £150 budget (actually only spending £105) I kept it simple and fresh with a bold colour pop.

Spare Room Tips

  • Prints: Get creative! Don’t be scared to have a go at making your own art, or recreating others you have seen. It adds your personality to you home as well as a sense of achievement whilst also being much cheaper
  • Reusing: Use what you have and work around it! Furniture is the expensive bit so work with what you have and build a look around it. Throws, cushions and small accessories can transform a standard piece of furniture


You can’t go cheap in a kitchen
Kitchens are notoriously expensive and unfortunately I don’t have a cheap alternative for this as we all need a kitchen. However here are my top tips…

Kitchen Tips

  • SHOP AROUND: Check them all out and play them off against each other! Most kitchen retailers will do a price match so make them work for your money. When I was designing my kitchen I knew I wanted a grey shaker which every kitchen retailer offers so it was just a case of who would do it for the cheapest
  • Fitting: Many retailers quoted me a fitting cost which was nearly double the price of the kitchen! Instead I approached some local builders for a quote and I opted to use a builder I found to fit it for me at half the price of the retailers offering
  • Look away from the high street: If you have a builder that is willing to fit there are many builders merchants that supply kitchen at a fraction of the cost – perfect if like me, you’re on a tight budget

However the best piece of advice I was given regarding interiors was ‘if you love it, and it’s within your budget, buy it’.

Once you put it together it will work, because you love it!

In my opinion a home should evolve and be full of personality which is the beauty of being so hands on and getting creative with both your interiors and money – the end result is that it creates a loved home. So make sure you check out my blog for my latest room makeover.