An ex-theatre set designer has used her impressive upcycling skills to transform second-hand furniture sourced from charity shops and Facebook Marketplace to decorate her rented home.
Deborah Stubbington, 40, from Essex, began renting a two-bedroom detached house in September 2019 following a divorce, and wanted to spruce up the place with new furniture.
However, she didn't want to spend a fortune on new pieces and decided to source pre-loved items with a tiny budget - and even managed to transform a TV cabinet for as little as £1.
Deborah, who lives with Gus, her Jack Russell, started to gather inspiration by creating mood boards on Pinterest, before scouring the internet and local charity shops for bargains.
Deborah Stubbington, 40, from Essex, swapped the drab, grey furnishings in her bedroom for earthy, natural tones and plants. Pictured, before
She spruced up her bedside tables, a chest of drawers and bedroom furniture by upcycling budget pieces using sprays, paint and stick vinyl. Pictured, after
With a background in theatre, Deborah spent years building sets and stages and now puts her skills to good use, sharing the results with her 20,000 Instagram followers and on her YouTube channel, Bang On Style.
'I love Pinterest, I'm always pinning ideas on there,' she explained. 'I love light interiors with a hint of colour and of course I'm always inspired by Instagram as I spend so much time on there.
'I scour Facebook Marketplace several times a day. It is such a great place for picking up bargains.
'I've found so many great bits like small pieces of furniture and small decor items too. I also love a charity shop and have lots of items from both in my home.'
Before: The ex-theatre set designer used her upcycling skills to take pre-loved items and create new pieces - including her old IKEA dining table (pictured)
After: She transformed the table by using old parquet floor taken from a theatre building she used to work, gluing on the old wooden floor pieces and cutting it to size
Deborah's old garden furniture consisted of three grey wicker chairs that were in desperate need of some TLC
She transformed the set using black paint and added pretty cushions and a rug underneath. Pictured, after
DEBORAH'S TOP TIPS FOR DIY BEGINNERS
1. START SMALL
Start small with decor items like vases etc.
These can be quickly transformed with paint or spray paint and then work your way up to bigger items.
2. SEARCH THE WEB FOR INSPIRATION
Find inspiration on sites like Pinterest.
You can find instructions for everything on YouTube too, if you want to learn new techniques.
3. DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE MISTAKES
Don't be afraid to have a go and don't worry if it goes wrong.
My projects still go wrong sometimes – even now.
4. TAKE TIME TO PREP FOR PROJECTS
My biggest tip is to time and prep.
As an example, things like sanding and primer make all the difference to furniture having a great finish and a long-lasting one too.
One of Deborah's innovative ideas includes a TV cabinet she sourced from Facebook Marketplace for just £5, which she upcycled with black paint and rattan doors for just £1 – and it looks as good as new.
She has also spruced up her bedside tables, a chest of drawers and bedroom furniture by upcycling budget pieces using sprays, paint and sticky vinyl in a geometrical style, which cost around £150.
Additionally, Deborah transformed an old IKEA dining table by using old parquet floor taken from a theatre building she used to work in.
She assembled the table herself, gluing on the old wooden floor pieces and cutting it to size using home power tools.
Another project she completed and shared to her YouTube channel was the transformation of an old Parker Knoll pink armchair that she found on eBay.
She gave it a new, fashionable look by reupholstering it using a white teddy bouclé-style fabric and restored the original wooden arms and legs.
Meanwhile, Deborah's previous bathroom featured an exposed sink and storage trays as well as an off-white tiled floor and a bath panel that had faded to yellow over time.
Although she was limited to what she could change in the bathroom, and had to ask her landlord's permission, she managed to give it a fresh new look on a tight budget.
With the help of some blue tiling on the floor, along with new grey bathroom cabinets under the sink and the bath panel covered in a white vinyl, the bathroom is now unrecognisable.
Deborah, who lives with Gus, her Jack Russell (pictured, together), wanted to spruce up her rented home with new furniture - but didn't want to spend a fortune on new pieces
Deborah sourced second-hand items on Facebook marketplace and in charity shops to create other pieces of furniture in her rented house
Deborah sourced her TV cabinet from Facebook Marketplace for just £5 and upcycled it with black paint and rattan doors, which cost just £1 – and it looks as good as new. Pictured, left before and right, after
She transformed an old Parker Knoll pink armchair she found on eBay by reupholstering it with a white teddy bouclé style fabric and restored the original wooden arms and legs
She was gifted a cheeky bath mat that reads, 'get naked' and also bought a cheap bathroom table from Amazon for £24, before adding her own personal touches for just £15.
'I made a lot of mistakes that I learnt from but I love the result and I'm so proud of it,' she explained.
'It was a long and hard project but I think once you have finished and you can enjoy an item you have created and that's unique to your home, that's the rewarding part.'
While most of her furniture is upcycled DIY, Deborah has also purchased a few bits from budget high-street chains such as B&M and Matalan.
She added: 'I always think the best way is to think how you can repurpose what you already have.
Deborah's previous bathroom featured an exposed sink and storage trays as well as an off-white tiled floor before her budget-friendly makeover
With the help of some blue tiling on the floor along with new grey bathroom cabinets under the sink, the bathroom is now unrecognisable. Pictured, after the transformation
Although she was limited to what she could change in the bathroom, and had to ask her landlord's permission, she managed to give it a fresh new look - as well as a cheeky bath mat
'There are so many great products on the market now like sprays, paint and sticky vinyl that mean you can upcycle items on a budget.
'Even a simple change of handles can transform a piece. My advice is to check out sites like Facebook Marketplace and eBay but also mix in new items from budget stores like B&M or Matalan home.'
TIPS FOR BUYING ON FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE
1. Set up alerts with keywords if you are hunting for specific items
2. Receive notifications when items are posted
3. Look at items with potential in mind
4. Use it to re-sell your own items you no longer need
Deborah reveals that a huge plus of decorating your own home is the ability to give it your own personal touch in line with your tastes.
She said: 'I like modern interiors with a mix of period elements like fireplaces etc.
'Most of my interior style is white with pops of colour and gold, and I like to keep the feel of my house light and bright.
I have a mixture of real wood and metals in my furniture with a touch of industrial style, like my dining table. I also mix in vintage items, like some glass candlesticks that belonged to my grandma.'
Her top tips for buying second-hand items include setting up alerts for key items on Facebook Marketplace and looking at items with their future potential in mind.
'Finding bargains is all about keeping your eyes open and also looking at items with potential in mind,' she said.
'Sites like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, as well as car boot sales, are fab for picking up cheap items you can transform.
'I am definitely addicted to Facebook Marketplace. Not only do I buy on there but I use it to sell items I no longer need, too. I have a couple of alerts set up to notify me when items matching my keywords are posted, which is great if you are hunting for specific items.
'One of the reasons I love it is that I'm very into reusing and recycling and I love that it stops furniture etc just ending up at the tip.'
Deborah said she made a lot of mistakes but she has learned from them and loves the result, saying 'I'm so proud of it.' Pictured, getting creative