DIY savvy couple with 4 kids transform dining room in just three days for £600


DIY savvy couple with 4 kids transform dining room in just three days for £600

A DIY savvy couple have transformed their dining room to accommodate their growing family for just £600 in three days.

Lesley Swales, 57, and 48-year-old Paul Parkin, rolled up their sleeves and built bench seating and a table from scratch as well as upcycling their wall units and reupholstering their dining chairs themselves.

They had originally turned to IKEA to help them revamp their dining space but changed their minds and went for a cheaper DIY option after they spotted bargain secondhand buys.

The couple, from East Rainton in Durham, have now showcased the fruits of the labour where they can enjoy the transformed space with their four children and six grandchildren.

Lesley, an area group manager for a contract catering company, said they were ‘desperate’ for more seating and had turned to the Swedish furniture brand to help them get more bums on seats.

The couple are no strangers to DIY as they have upcycled and restored various pieces of furniture before.

They drew up a plan where they would add bench seating along the wall and reposition the four dining room chairs they already had around the other sides to create more space for their family to sit.

They ordered two cabinets from IKEA until Lesley spotted a bargain buy which changed their plans.

Lesley told : “The very same day, I saw some similar pre-loved ones for sale locally, so I cancelled the Ikea order and went to pick them up.”

Paul, a catering manager, began to build the bench using smoothed timber he bought from a merchant after carefully removing a radiator and patching up the wall.

Lesley said: “He (Paul) just asked me what I wanted, explained the image he had in his head and got started.”

Paul sanded down the wood and burnt it with a blowtorch three times to help bring out the grain and give it a natural look before coating it with a hard-wearing oil.

Hel then turned made MDF panelling for the lower half of the bench and the wall to tie the two spaces together and match the kitchen units.

The couple’s dining table is made from a large piece of oak Paul bought a few years ago for £10 but he wanted it to match the bench so he treated the wood the same way and shaped the edges.

Paul installed new cross-frame legs to ten table which would allow for the extra bench seating.

The couple decided their current dining chairs didn’t match the new look so Lesley honed in on her sewing skills to create new covers.

She bought a second-hand sewing machine for £30 and some textured navy and yellow Orla Kiely fabric for £100 for he new covers.

To make sure the covers would fit the chairs Lesley took one of them apart, unpicked the fabric and used that as a pattern for cutting out the new shapes.

Once she’d cut and sewed them, Lesley fitted them over the chair frames and stapled them into place.

To finish of the new look dining space Lesley used cushions she bought from TK Maxx and Matalan.

She said: “We’re really happy with how the dining room turned out. It all came together perfectly and it’s exactly the vision we had for the space.”