DIY Novice Transforms Living Room into Vintage Victorian Lounge for Just £300

Kat Wagstaff, a 39-year-old mother with no prior DIY experience, undertook an impressive transformation of her drab living room, turning it into a vintage Victorian lounge for a total cost of just £300. This project took her a little over a year to complete.

Frustrated with the dated black and red theme in her living room, Kat decided to embark on this creative endeavor. To keep expenses down, she resorted to online resources like YouTube to teach herself DIY techniques. She also sought advice from friends and family who were more experienced in DIY projects.

The transformation journey began in early 2022 when Kat started by replastering the entire room. She reintroduced a cast iron fireplace and picture frame to enhance the room’s traditional ambiance. To complete the look, she painted the room with a muted green paint she already had on hand.

Utilizing instructional videos on YouTube, Kat learned how to create faux paneling, as well as the art of stripping, sanding, and wallpapering. She also shopped for furnishings in second-hand stores and found artwork on Facebook Marketplace to add the finishing touches to her newly designed living room.

Kat, who hails from Leicestershire, confessed, “I had zero experience with DIY before this, but we were on a budget and was determined to make it work.” She acknowledged that the journey was not without its challenges and setbacks, but she remained committed to the project. Her favorite elements of the room transformation are the fireplace and picture railings, as they added significant character to the space.

The proud DIY enthusiast advised others, saying, “I’d recommend it to anyone. I’d say roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. It’s really empowering to do renovation jobs yourself, however big or small, it brings that ‘I did that’ feeling which I love.”

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Kat’s efforts were recognized when she won Wayfair’s Roomover of the Year award for her living room makeover. She shared her appreciation, stating, “I’m really aware that my style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so to be crowned meant the world.”

Revealing her motivation, she said, “When people say they like how cozy the room feels and how homely it is. I always take that as a huge compliment as that was the exact feel I wanted to achieve in this room. It makes me happy when people compliment the DIY jobs we have done in the space as it makes all the hard work feel worthwhile.”

Here’s the cost breakdown of her living room transformation:

  • Cast iron fireplace: £40
  • Mirror above fireplace: £20
  • TV wooden unit: £50
  • Vintage brass lamp: £25
  • Blue/grey preloved drawers: £45
  • Pine moldings for faux paneling: £100
  • Paint and pieces of furniture: Collected over time/already had