First-Time Buyers Guide: New Looks in Your New Home for Less

Congratulations on your new home! First-time buyers are having to make a huge effort these days, and we understand that decorating and renovations may have to be achieved on a small budget. So, with that in mind, we’ve done some of the hard work for you. Check out our ideas for interior decor schemes that won’t break the bank…

Blimmin’ Marble-ous!

This bathroom doesn’t look like it was put together on a budget, but we thought it would be inspiring to reassure you that these elegant and rather sophisticated Carrara Porcelain wall and floor tiles cost around £12.99 per sqm. Feel reassured that even a small budget that has to stretch a very long way in a new home can still provide a luxe-look!

On The Tiles

A timber-look floor is practical, easy to maintain and will never go out of style. If real wood is beyond the budget (and don’t forget, timber needs an element of maintenance too), we think a clever and budget-conscious alternative would be a timber-design porcelain tile instead. Which will withstand wet feet, bicycles being wheeled through, plus of course, pets and children. These are Madeira Toscana Matt Natural Wood Effect porcelain tiles which instantly solve all style problems and they are currently priced at £29.99 per sqm.

Dark Features

One little design trick we’ve learned for new homes is to ‘work with what you’ve already got’… in other words, it’s a good idea to try to think laterally when you get those front door keys! Don’t go ripping everything out at once. Unless it’s a total wreck, live there for a few months whilst you pause for thought, see how you want to use the space, and decide if there’s anything worth keeping. In the meantime, little ideas like these Feather Window Stickers from Purlfrost add a noteworthy element to a bedroom with an existing black colour scheme.

Box-Fresh Black

So your new kitchen is looking a little tired and the worse for wear…but don’t underestimate the value of a jolly good clean and a new work surface or splash back. Replacing all the cabinets turns it into a serious spend, but perhaps some new work surfaces (such as solid wood designs from IKEA) and new tiles for the splash back area, such as our Linear Black Gloss tiles can make a vast difference. They’re currently £16.99 per sq m. If you’re new to DIY, take a look here for some tips and know-how regarding splashbacks. Don’t forget you can always call or chat online if you have some specific questions!

Take A Seat

A new home, especially if it’s your first home, needs to be furnished with affordable and timeless pieces that will withstand changes of colour schemes and fashionable trends. So, for your big ticket purchases, look at contemporary classics, such as those from the new House by John Lewis range. The Spindle chairs in Teal, Black and Pink are £89 each, the Check Grid Navy Rug retails at £45 and the Anton Oak Extending Dining Table will set you back £350; just a few items from the good-value and beautifully made collection.

Glamorous Glass

We couldn’t resist adding another splash back suggestion here…sometimes all you need is a very small section of a luxury finish to bring up the level of the whole kitchen space. Consider some special glass mosaic tiles…these are our Grey Mix Modular Glass Mosaics, which are actually grey, silver and black, and can be installed with mosaic backer sheets.  Once again, an excellent way of adding a spectacular look to an ordinary kitchen, and you can hone your tile installation skills at the same time!

Blending In

Another low-cost and achievable kitchen upgrade if you’re still mulling over how to deal with a tricky kitchen. There are several ideas here; first of all, a new wood work top, as previously suggested, always works wonders and doesn’t cost a fortune. Secondly, if storage, or lack of it, is an issue, why not add some open shelves – decent DIY-ers should be able to create something similar with MDF. Painting them the same colour as the existing cabinetry and matching up with some new tiles, such as our excellent value Cream Mini Metro tiles at around £20 per sq m adds a touch of class for not much cash.

Around The Table, Sitting Comfortably

We thought this was a rather good example of taking a few stand alone items (the sideboard, glass-topped table and velvet dining chair) and making them all work together, by keeping to a neutral colour scheme and adding some glitz and glamour by way of lamps, vases and tableware. All these affordable items are from Dunelm. For a similar look for the flooring, take a look at our Kanna distressed wood-look porcelain tiles.

Shopping Ideas

New home, new furniture…we have three suggestions for you; from left: The Ashwell chaise-storage-sofa would be a good purchase for when guests come to visit the new pad! In three sizes and 230 fabrics from Willow & Hall; After all the stress of house purchasing and moving in, it’s likely that you’ll want to curl up with a good book…we recommend the Diggidy armchair, shown here in Thyme Green vintage linen, from Loaf. And finally, in the spirit of buying good quality future classics to last through perhaps a couple of more house moves, this Loa Quilted Floor Cushion is just £79 in Seafoam Blue Velvet as shown here, but is also on offer in different colours, from

A Splash of Orange Please

And finally, if you’re serious about creating different looks on a shoestring budget, may we point you in the direction of our Metro Orange tiles. This particular room design is a valuable and practically perfect example of how a stunning and unusual choice of colour and/or tiles makes a vibrant and interesting style statement. And for just £19.49 per sqm.

Are you a new homeowner who’s recently transformed your house? If so, we’d love to see your pics – share on Twitter @TileMountainUK or tag us on Instagram !

Have you checked out these articles on the Tile Mountain blog?

Home Advantage: Tile Styles That Sell Houses

Style on a Budget: How to Create Sumptuous Rooms Without Breaking the Bank!

Home Improvements That Add Value to House Prices: Comparing UK vs U.S. vs Australia

Linda has worked as a freelance interiors writer and blogger for many years; she has written for most of the major home and design magazines, including KBB Magazine, Grand Designs, Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful, Period Homes and Good Homes. She made the break and moved from London back to her home town of Shrewsbury three years ago and has just finished renovating her house. She also works in an interior design studio, produces copy for brochures and website, tries to tame her garden, aims to finish all the home furnishing projects she has on the go … and loves walking.