Home makeover: ‘We transformed our entire home for under £2,000’

Take a look inside Leanne Ward's impressive boho home...

Leanne sold her old grey sofas not long 
after moving in. ‘I had always pictured a 
dark green or black sofa in here,’ she 
reveals. ‘But this teal velvet sofa and 
chair from Dunelm were on sale and
they add a nice pop of colour. 
I particularly love the dog cushion 
by Catherine Rowe Designs.’

Faced with a dated red and beige colour scheme, Leanne Ward spent lockdown bringing a modern boho look to her 1930s semi.

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Here, she tells us all about her home makeover experience…

My home makeover

We weren’t actually looking to move but had always admired this row of 1930s houses on our daily dog walks, so when one came up for sale we acted fast. It was the big bay windows, high ceilings, coving and picture rails that made us fall in love.

A £40 sideboard from a charity shop has been painted in Blackjack chalk paint by Frenchic, with shelving from B&M above. ‘I liked the 70s style, but it didn’t fit with everything else in the room,’ says Leanne. ‘The gold handles were £8 on eBay and really finish it off’
A £40 sideboard from a charity shop has been painted in Blackjack chalk paint by Frenchic, with shelving from B&M above. ‘I liked the 70s style, but it didn’t fit with everything else in the room,’ says Leanne. ‘The gold handles were £8 on eBay and really finish it off’

When we moved in the overall quality was really good, just a little outdated, so we’ve modernised what was already there to make it more our style. I had just started painting a couple of rooms when lockdown started, so being furloughed during the first few months gave us a chance to really get stuck in.

Welcome to my home…

A bit about me I’m Leanne Ward, an art studio manager for a ceramic printers. I live with my partner, Ashley Simpson, a teaching assistant, and our two pugs, Jinxy and Hudson.

Where I live Our home is a three-bedroom, 1930s semi-detached house in Alfreton, Derbyshire. We’ve lived here since February 2020.

Leanne Ward

Most rooms have seen a paintbrush or two, except for the spare box room and hallway. We did all the work ourselves on a tight budget. For instance, we did the entire kitchen makeover for about £150 and the other rooms have only really cost us what we’ve spent on paint and soft furnishings.

Leanne’s a big fan of plants and has them dotted around every room. ‘My mum made lots of the hanging planters during lockdown,’ she says. ‘I love the double one, which I got in Cornwall, as it’s quite unusual’
Leanne’s a big fan of plants and has them dotted around every room. ‘My mum made lots of the hanging planters during lockdown,’ she says. ‘I love the double one, which I got in Cornwall, as it’s quite unusual’

I love finding hacks for changing up a style in a quick, affordable way and I love taking risks, like painting the dining room wall black or transforming the kitchen floor.

A bit more about my home…

What I wanted to change The house had been well looked after but there was lots of floral wallpaper and the dark oak kitchen with fruit-design tiles wasn’t my style.

How I made it my own I’ve decorated it in a dark boho style with a hint of pink, lots of plants and the odd ceramic tiger. You can see more of my home style on my Instagram @sixtysevenbelmont

My favourite part I change my mind quite a lot, but it’s probably the living room where we spend most of our time. When I walk in, it makes me really happy and so proud of what we’ve achieved.

ward-home-shoot-40

Although each room has its own feel, I always use plants and quirky accessories to add personality. Looking back, the rooms are pretty identical to my Pinterest boards, so I definitely achieved what I set out to do.

Some clever upcycling has given these scratched drawers a new lease of life. ‘I considered wooden dowels on the front, but it would’ve been time-consuming to do, so I used wallpaper instead to give a similar effect.’ The gold shelves are from B&M
Some clever upcycling has given these scratched drawers a new lease of life. ‘I considered wooden dowels on the front, but it would’ve been time-consuming to do, so I used wallpaper instead to give a similar effect.’ The gold shelves are from B&M

Living room

‘I was originally planning to scrape off the red and cream wallpaper in here, but I got impatient and just painted over the top. Wallpapering is such a big job, it seemed easier. At first, I went for a quick coat of cream to cover the pattern, then used Dulux’s Blush Pink. I was too scared to go full-on dark green across the top part, so I used a darker pink above the picture rail at first. It didn’t take long before I got brave and painted it in Johnstone’s Ivy Sky, which I think works so much better.

Painting the brown surround white and covering the marble back panel with £25 vinyl tile stickers has made a huge difference. ‘I chose a small-scale monochrome design so it wasn’t too overpowering and would go with anything,’ says Leanne. Gold touches, like the Next floor lamp and mirrors from Matalan and Dunelm, add a luxe edge
Painting the brown surround white and covering the marble back panel with £25 vinyl tile stickers has made a huge difference. ‘I chose a small-scale monochrome design so it wasn’t too overpowering and would go with anything,’ says Leanne. Gold touches, like the Next floor lamp and mirrors from Matalan and Dunelm, add a luxe edge

‘Plants feature heavily in every room. In the corner there’s a giant Dracaena fragrans plant, which cost £50 on Facebook Marketplace. The seller said it was eight years old, so there’s a lot of pressure to keep it alive! It’s my favourite thing in the room and makes such a statement. The colourful art print from Juniqe brings everything together.’

Pink voile curtains from The Range allow plenty of light in. ‘Most stained-glass windows have traditional colours, but these pink and pale blue ones are special,’ says Leanne. ‘They’re one of my favourite things in the house’
Pink voile curtains from The Range allow plenty of light in. ‘Most stained-glass windows have traditional colours, but these pink and pale blue ones are special,’ says Leanne. ‘They’re one of my favourite things in the house’

Dining room

‘When we first moved in, the idea was to have this room as a snug with a 70s vibe for listening to music. My friend helped me paint over the wallpaper with some brown paint for a retro feel, but we only got as far as the chimney breast before realising it was awful!

A black feature wall provides the perfect backdrop for Leanne’s forest wall hanging from Love Frankie and storage unit from Vasagle, while the compact dining table with benches from Argos is a real space saver. ‘The spotty rug from George Home was originally for the bedroom but it was much larger than I thought so it would only fit down here,’ adds Leanne
A black feature wall provides the perfect backdrop for Leanne’s forest wall hanging from Love Frankie and storage unit from Vasagle, while the compact dining table with benches from Argos is a real space saver. ‘The spotty rug from George Home was originally for the bedroom but it was much larger than I thought so it would only fit down here,’ adds Leanne

‘I painted the picture rail black for contrast and tried a peach arch behind the dining table too. However, during lockdown we took the wallpaper off and did it all properly with good-quality lining paper. I think I’ve achieved the tribal jungle look I wanted with lots of rattan, plants and a few ceramic tigers.’

‘I painted the wooden fire surround black to start with, but it looks miles better white, as it makes the plants stand out more,’ says Leanne. The Crittall- style mirror is from Home Bargains and the walls are painted in Johnstone’s Oatcake
‘I painted the wooden fire surround black to start with, but it looks miles better white, as it makes the plants stand out more,’ says Leanne. The Crittall-style mirror is from Home Bargains and the walls are painted in Johnstone’s Oatcake

Kitchen

‘We didn’t touch the brown wood kitchen until last Christmas as we had hoped to knock through to the dining room and install new units. It soon became clear we’d need to wait a while for builders, so we decided to save our money and go for a quick fix makeover instead.

Two coats of Frenchic Blackjack chalk paint have transformed the brown kitchen. ‘It didn’t need priming or sealing so it was really easy to do,’ says Leanne. A monochrome geometric rug from Dunelm finishes off the space
Two coats of Frenchic Blackjack chalk paint have transformed the brown kitchen. ‘It didn’t need priming or sealing so it was really easy to do,’ says Leanne. A monochrome geometric rug from Dunelm finishes off the space

‘My first job was painting the terracotta hexagonal floor. I then added Rust-Oleum floor chips to give a terrazzo effect. I had seen a few painted kitchens on Instagram so opted for black to make it feel more modern. I took the doors off for the first few, but it was such a faff, so I finished the rest in situ. In total the whole makeover only cost about £150.’

In future, the couple might knock through to the dining room, but for now they’ve dressed the space with a rattan shelf from Matalan and boho wall-mounted bowls from B&M
In future, the couple might knock through to the dining room, but for now they’ve dressed the space with a rattan shelf from Matalan and boho wall-mounted bowls from B&M

Master bedroom

‘Over Christmas, we moved from the front to the back bedroom as it’s a lot quieter away from the road. When we took off the blue and brown floral wallpaper, the lining paper underneath was still good quality, so we painted the walls pink with a yellow stripe around the top.

‘I took my cue for the soft furnishings from the autumnal colours of the wall mural,’ says Leanne. ‘I wanted to bring some warmer tones into what was a very neutral colour palette without going too bold’
‘I took my cue for the soft furnishings from the autumnal colours of the wall mural,’ says Leanne. ‘I wanted to bring some warmer tones into what was a very neutral colour palette without going too bold’

‘It wasn’t long before I fancied a change though as the colour scheme felt a bit childlike. I went more neutral, but that felt a bit too boring! To spice it up, I created a spotty animal print wall opposite the bed, which took two days. I started off using a stencil but then went freehand as it was hard to match up the shapes. Then I went even bolder with a nature-inspired wall mural on the side wall. I practised beforehand on paper to see what colours and shapes worked together and then scaled it up on the wall.’

Spare bedroom

‘We’ve gone for a relaxed boho 70s feel in here with lots of rattan. This is the only room where we needed to change the carpet and it’s made a huge difference as it was red with a floral pattern before.

The rattan screen, a gift from a friend, makes a striking focal point behind the headboard. Dunelm has a similar design for £75. Handy storage in the deep bay window sill has proved invaluable, and Leanne loves having another spot for displaying her vases. She has added black and white fringe curtains to give a 70s vibe
The rattan screen, a gift from a friend, makes a striking focal point behind the headboard. Dunelm has a similar design for £75. Handy storage in the deep bay window sill has proved invaluable, and Leanne loves having another spot for displaying her vases. She has added black and white fringe curtains to give a 70s vibe

‘Luckily the cream and red wallpaper came off in full sheets when we stripped the room, which saved loads of time. There’s plenty of storage too since we kept the floor-to-ceiling mirrored wardrobes and have ottoman beds in both bedrooms.’

Bathroom

‘We haven’t changed much in the bathroom, but a few small tweaks have made a big difference. For instance, I didn’t like the marble-effect tiles, so I used white tile paint to cover them up. I wasn’t sure if it would look good against the off-cream suite, but it’s actually turned out well.

The old bathroom suite has been dressed up with an IKEA mirror, George Home bathmat and bath bridge. ‘To make a feature on the wall I created some storage using a spare bathmat and shower caddy,’ says Leanne
The old bathroom suite has been dressed up with an IKEA mirror, George Home bathmat and bath bridge. ‘To make a feature on the wall I created some storage using a spare bathmat and shower caddy,’ says Leanne

‘Painting the textured wallpaper above in black has given it a more modern look, and it matches with the granite-effect shower panel opposite. Although we’d like to eventually replace the bathroom and install a bigger walk-in shower with a tropical spa feel, it suits us for now.’

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Feature Karen Wilson. Photos Katie Lee. 

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Home Style magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?