Woman transforms 'dumping ground' into incredible conservatory for just £200
8th November 2020

A pregnant mum has made the most of her time at home recently with a stunning DIY project that should be inspiration for anyone with a small budget.

Emma George, a vegan baker who is currently pregnant with her fifth child, was tired of her valuable conservatory space going to waste.

The room was freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer, and had become a dumping ground for the family’s stuff.

Emma, who lives in Birmingham, decided to take matters into her own hands and managed to turn the conservatory into a warm, efficient and stylish space – all for under £200.

The 27-year-old upcycled her existing furniture, sourced cheap blinds, energy-efficient underlay and flooring, and installed lights and MDF herself. 

‘Our conservatory just wasn’t a usable space – it was so cold in the winter and boiling in the summer that we just used to dump everything in and never ate at the table,’ Emma tells money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.

‘I decided that’s not how I wanted us to eat as a family and that I needed to make it so we could all eat together. 

‘The tiled floor was freezing and the bricks so cold so on a tight budget I couldn’t afford to have it all professionally done. 

‘I contacted a local timber yard for some MDF to cover the bare brick as it helps to keep it warmer, and they cut the sheets to the right height then I have a table saw so cut them to the lengths to fit. 

‘It was bare brick before which was freezing cold. The MDF is only the floor and then I cut it all to size and attached it to the wall to cover all the brick up.’

Emma also re-wired the plugs on the outside of the MDF and stuck them back on before priming and painting them. 

‘We painted the wall and then I painted the chairs using Frenchic paint as they were very well-worn but we couldn’t afford a new table and chairs. I also painted the table legs so they matched in,’ she adds.

‘I was quoted over £500 for made to measure blinds which I refuse to pay, so I bought them from Argos for £80 and cut every single one down to size. The cutting kit was £8. 

‘I bought the lights online from Value Lights for £30 and shopped around for discount codes and managed to get 15% off. I then installed the lights myself. 

‘I was looking for the bulbs and could only find them for £7 each, so I kept searching and managed to get eight from Amazon for £20. 

‘I painted the IKEA Kallax boxes as my daughter had drawn all over them and looked a state so instead of replacing them, I painted with the same paint as the room so they matched.’ 

She also painted the window sills in the Frenchic Dazzle Me paint to instantly brighten up the room.

‘Altogether, it has added around 10 degrees Celsius onto the room and made it a much warmer and usable room where we can all eat together as a family and the kids can play which is a huge bonus,’ explains Emma.

‘The flooring was gifted to me by Let’s Pay Weekly as I’ve set up a YouTube channel to show other women how to do what’s typically referred to as “male” jobs and show them how they can do it themselves with a little bit of knowledge and save themselves a fortune. 

‘I’m hoping this will encourage people to give DIY a go. I will also be filming more DIY videos and putting them on the channel in the hope of helping people. ‘

Emma already had the paint, but it would have cost around £40. The blinds cost £80 and the thermal curtains were £13 from Online Home Shop.

The clock and tiebacks were from Amazon and cost £17 for both, the bulbs were £20 for eight. 

‘The plant pot I already had from Next in the sale, and the underlay was from Screwfix for £25,’ says Emma. ‘I used the wood fibre eco underlay as it’s thick and good for holding the warmth. 

‘I’d asked on my Instagram page  @_thegeorgetribe what people wanted to see more of and people said DIY – that’s why I started the channel as that way everyone can see it.’

Emma is delighted with the final look of her chic conservatory – especially when she thinks about how much she saved doing it all on her own. 

‘It cost me around £200 in total to transform my conservatory,’ she says.

‘I dread to think of the cost if I had got someone in to do it. An electrician alone charges £40 a light and £20 a plug so that would have been £120. 

‘I know the blinds were quoted £500 just to have made and that’s without fitting.  A laminate floor fitter would have charged £130 for the day just to fit. It would also have cost a lot to get someone to cut all the MDF to the right sizes and fit them on. Then I would have had to spend money buying a new table and chairs instead of upcycling them.

‘I’ve saved at least £600 by doing the lights, plugs, flooring and blinds myself. Also, by doing it myself, I’ve learnt new skills and saved money I can use on my next project.’

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