A WOMAN transformed her £400k home from drab into a fun colourful paradise – and by doing the work herself she kept costs down to £25K but added a whopping £100k value to her house.

Landlady Julie Choi decorated her two-bedroom detached Victorian house, changing it from a plain and boring interior to a bright and colourful space – something she was initially quoted £50K for.

However, she only spent £25K by rolling up her sleeves and doing the work herself. Julie, 41, and her husband Adam, 36, decorated the entire house, using her DIY skills to bring a new life to the outdated home.

Originally from Seoul in South Korea, Julie now lives in Belfast with business owner Adam.

Julie owns several Airbnb apartments and decorates these herself, saving money on decorators through her DIY skills and interior design tricks.

Julie and Adam acquire their furniture from charity shops to keep the cost down and they use raw materials in their designs, keeping exposed red brick and galvanised steel walls to add to her aesthetic.

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Julie bought many décor items from charity shops and shops known for getting a good bargain, such as TK Maxx, and she also upcycled furniture, adding to her home at a low cost.

To add to her unique look, Julie added a concrete floor into her kitchen. She offset this with £200 green cupboards.

Julie said: “Because we did a whole house I had to watch our budget carefully. Also getting items delivered on time is stressful.

“The hardest thing was stripping the wallpaper. It wasn’t one layer but two to three layers and some were on the ceiling too. Adam, my husband, and I did it for three days to finish and it was hard.

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“We learned how to do things we've never done before so now we try to do lots of things by ourselves.”

Julie has the following advice for those considering working on their own home instead of employing builders.

She revealed: “Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Take your time. Don't need to spend so much money on furnishing to look good.

“I used to love industrial style decor, using raw materials, concrete wall and floor, metal, exposed bricks etc. Also it was easier and cheaper than putting tiles on the floor.

I love how versatile it is and joyful

“But now all my friends and family love our home. They especially love some unique features like our concrete floor in the kitchen and the concrete wall in the dining room.

“I have a few projects in my mind for the future. I want to change our guest room and our downstairs loo. Just a little cosmetic change like the wallpaper and paint.”

Julie also explained how she decided on her eclectic style. She said: “Our home is now colourful, eclectic, modern and retro or boho.

“I don’t think I can say it has one style. It’s a bit of everything. It was beautiful when we came to see it for the first time, but it was a little dated and old as the previous owner lived here for a long time.

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“We wanted to put our stamp on it. We did everything, wall, floor, kitchen, bathroom. I decided everything myself. I love how versatile it is and joyful.

“We decorated when we were in the previous house, but it wasn’t a big change. I feel like finally I’m finding my real style and it's becoming me more now.”


Julie managed to bag several bargains and totally change the look of her home forever – and here’s how she achieved it.

Concrete kitchen floor – £200

Bathroom (bath, toilet, shower and taps) – £1,300

Kitchen furniture – £3,000

Sofa – £1,100 each

The floor of all the rooms – £1,500

Back garden – £8,000

Labour – £10,000

TOTAL: approximately £25K

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