The word home has a different definition for many people. If attached to a house, an apartment or a room though, it is the interiors (next to who you share it with) that give you that feeling of homeliness.

When it comes to a tight budget, it can feel overwhelming to transform your home into a space you feel comfortable, yourself and ‘at home’ in.

If there is one woman who can encourage you to not let a financial hurdle get in the way of designing a homey space, it is Linda Hayes.

Creative spirit

Linda lives in Limerick and has three young kids. She loves to work with people and has spent most of her life in the hospitality and retail sector, until recently when she decided to stay at home to take care of her young children.

Linda says; “I've always been creative and had an interest in design, but we lived in apartments for so long where you couldn't change anything - you couldn't even hang up a picture.

“When we moved into the first house that we ever bought, I wanted to change everything and put my stamp on everything.

"Obviously with three kids and one income, we didn't have a lot of money, so it just forced me to get really creative.”

DIY, especially when it comes to interior design, is Linda’s passion. She says: “I'm constantly looking at things and thinking, ‘What could I do with that?’

“My husband always jokes; if he finds me standing in the middle of a room quietly, he's like, ‘Oh no you're planning something, aren't you?’”

During the pandemic, Linda has found another creative outlet through starting her own business, where she sells personalised clothing and gifts.

The nautical bathroom

Linda has given every room in her house a make-over, whether that was through decorating, by painting walls or painting furniture.

The main bathroom, that used to be a dark and "boring" room, is now a nautical-themed and fun space.

The main bathroom was the last area to get some attention.

Linda says: “We didn't use it very much. When the kids were having a bath, that was the only time I was really in there, so I could just close the door and forget about it.

“But then as we did the rest of the house, it got more and more obvious how boring it was.

"Because it's in the middle of the house, it has no windows and is small, dark and cramped and just not very fun for kids either.”

This was the perfect challenge for Linda and she has done a phenomenal job transforming the bathroom.


Everything in the room is centred on a mermaid lamp she had bought about a year earlier; thinking that one day it would come to good use. Nautical became the assigned theme of the bathroom.

She explains: “I had to design the whole room around the lamp, but it also had to be inexpensive.

"I bought a stencil that had that a scales, or fishtail, design and I bought five or six different little tester pots of paint which were about €1 each. I used a cut-up sponge and did [the design].

“I've used stencils before and they just add a lot of impact for very, very little money. It was a couple of hours of my time and it was done.

"Once that was done, it was just a matter of brightening up the rest of the space.”

Linda painted the other walls of the bathroom white, her kids painted pictures which were framed and hung up on the walls and Linda painted the grout between the white tiles a bright blue. She also framed a mirror with rope to fit in with the nautical theme.

Linda says: “The kids helped me with a lot of it, so they really feel like it's their room now, because they had an input in it.”

Three tips for budget-friendly DIY

As Linda has given her entire house a make-over (the most expensive thing they have ever done is pay someone to change kitchen tiles), she has a few tips up her sleeve on how to DIY in an inexpensive way.

1. Look at what you have

“Try and start from a space of ‘look at what you have’. I would always look at what I can keep and what I can tweak,” says Linda.

“A makeover doesn't necessarily have to be, ‘Get rid of everything and start from scratch’, because when you start doing that, that's when it gets expensive.”

For example, if there is nothing wrong with your tiles, paint the grout to brighten up the appearance.

2. Paint is your best friend

Linda says: “If you're on a budget, paint will change a room completely. It doesn’t have to be that you just paint all the walls a different colour - use a stencil or paint a piece of furniture. I’ve painted pretty much anything that I can paint.”

3. Think outside the box

In the past, Linda has covered all her kitchen counter tops with vinyl. She says: “It was like a different kitchen and until we could afford to redo tiles and things, it made me so much happier.”

You can find Linda on Instagram, Pinterest and read her DIY blog by searching for makedoanddiy.

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