HOME REMODELLING ON A BUDGET?
Once there lived a small family, in a nice little home by the countryside. Life was near perfect, until a visitor pointed out the mismatched colour scheme in their living room. A few awkward shrugs and confessions later, the verdict was out… on the chipping paint, the tasteless décor, the dull lighting– pretty much everything about the room was wrong, and it needed a complete face lift. Relatable? I think so. After all, who doesn’t want to live in an elegant home, if not some dream palace from the movies?
Unfortunately, we often get so caught up in details, that we reduce the most pivotal question to a hasty and underrated dialogue. The question of budgeting. It’s easy to imagine the consequences– lots of overspending, compromises, or worse, ending up with a space you aren’t happy with. But worry not. With some key strategies at your discretion, you can always stay on budget while renovating your abode in the best way possible. Here’s what we’d suggest-
START OFF WITH A PLAN
The importance of good planning cannot be overlooked when you’re working on a shoestring. If you are the DIY kind, figure out a design inspiration and identify the potential costs (land costs, legal fees, decorating, landscaping, architectural fees, impact fees, permit costs, etc.) You could also get a designer or architect to prepare some blueprints that will guide you during the project. Finally, take a look at your finances and prepare an estimate. A basic plan will not only help you stick to your budget, but also ensure that no unpleasant situations crop up along the way.
GOT A WISH LIST? NARROW IT DOWN
It’s always tempting to squeeze lots of luxuries into your plan. I’d say yield to the temptation. Indulge in a dream wish-list, set your priorities and then do away with all triviality. You can always allow for some extravagance in your budget through trade-offs. Browse your favourite stores to compare items and get the exact prices. Compromises are certainly a hard pill to swallow, but it is wise to adjust your expectations and concentrate on the things you can’t do without.
PHASE THE PROJECT
Break down your project into stages that fit in with your budget. For instance, keep the painting and flooring work for one phase, leaving out the accessories and décor for the next. You may consider combining tasks of similar nature for better efficiency and less costs. Phasing can also let you approach the management differently in each part. We recommend hiring a professional contractor for the main part and finishing the other trades yourself to save on costs.
Need to spruce up your kitchen? Specify a laminate countertop instead of granite. As a long term saving idea, include energy-efficient technology or materials in your renovation (LED lights, solar panels, rainwater tanks). You can also recycle and repurpose older items, shop second hand or use the internet to look up some cool DIY home décor. Check out our post “For More Than Just Walls,” to reuse wallpaper in creative ways. Another great way to save on project costs is to buy materials and appliances yourself. Interior designers often have trade discounts that can be passed along if you are using their services.
HAVE A CONTINGENCY
For any home improvement project, we recommend a minimum contingency of 20% at the outset. This is basically your backup for unexpected developments. Believe it or not, accidents always happen. Keep this fund high initially and reduce it progressively down the line. The cherry on the cake? You’ll have some extra cash after the project is complete!
We hope our advice will help you keep your renovation costs low. In any case, we’d recommend hiring the right expert so that you can build your home, not by cheaping out, but by scaling things up to a quality that you can afford. If you find yourself in any trouble during your home