Tips for Renovating Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Two contractors working on an unfinished kitchen

If there’s one universal law of home renovations, it’s that everything adds up. Blowing the budget is an understandable fear for those embarking on home improvement projects. Home renovation and home improvement costs can accumulate quickly, but it is possible for you to plan to renovate your home without breaking the bank. Whether you are in dire need of updating some part of your house or you just feel a deep calling to give your home a fresh face, you can do these projects on a budget. With some strategic thinking and planning about design, materials, timelines, and labor force, you can cut costs without cutting corners.

Begin by planning a clear budget and at least a 20% cushion in case you go over. Most projects come with surprises, so don’t be shocked to find yourself slipping into your budget cushion. If you are planning to work with contractors, be sure you have good references to ensure they will complete the work in a timely and fair manner. And, last but not least, maintain your focus! Once you get started, it’s easy to get carried away. Stick to your plan as closely as possible and stay focused on the end result — otherwise, you may find yourself with a much bigger project and, of course, larger costs.

Focus, planning, due diligence, and budgeting are keys when looking to save money on your home renovation project. Below we share some more tips for how to renovate your house without breaking the bank.

Do It Yourself

Woman using a power saw to cut a piece of wood in a living room that is being remodeled

One of the biggest and more impactful ways to cut costs is by doing as much of what you can yourself. Saving money on contractors is huge, and if you have the time, you can easily save yourself the money by doing much of the work. This can sound daunting for some DIY first-timers, but you’d be surprised at how much you can do on your own with rented or borrowed equipment and a little guidance. This doesn’t mean you should be rewiring electricity in your home if this is not your skillset, but if you can repaint the walls, overlay your old laminate countertops or refinish the cabinets, then you can save yourself a lot of money in the labor arena.

Rather than hiring architects and contractors to do all the work, you can also opt to hire them for consulting while you do most of the work yourself. Depending on the scale of your project, you may get enough support by hiring an architect or contractor for a one-time-only design or building consultation. If you still don’t feel savvy taking on a renovation project on your own, you can hire a contractor and work alongside the contractor. This will save on labor costs while also giving you some hands-on experience. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Opt for small changes that have big impacts

A close-up image of pendant lighting in a kitchen

You can do very simple updates around the house to give the feeling of a facelift without too much cost. A great way to produce impressive results is to choose small elements in your house that can be changed inexpensively but will still create a big impression. The end result will have you feeling like you renovated your home without the big bill.

Simple and inexpensive projects such as updating hardware and light fixtures, refinishing floors and cabinets, and freshening up a room with a new coat of paint can have big impacts on your space with easy and inexpensive inputs. Small cosmetic changes can go a long way if you don’t have the budget or time for a total makeover. Only replace items that can’t be cosmetically updated; otherwise, use new paint or finish to upgrade original pieces to make them look fresh and new.

You can also update trim, molding, light switch plates, ventilation grates, lamp shades, and any hardware or detail easily for a fresh look at low costs. When renovating spaces like kitchens and bathrooms, opt for keeping the solid hardware pieces in place (such as sinks and toilets, which are pricey to move) and instead update the elements around them to give a new look to a space.

Consider the return on each investment

Stacks of coins next to little model houses

Choosing home improvement projects that will increase the value or improve the look of your home for potential future buyers is a great way to feel that the money you spend to renovate your house functions more as an investment than just a cost. As you plan your home renovation project, it may be worth evaluating the return on investment. Consider whether each expenditure is worth it, particularly if it will increase the value of your home.

A renovation can go a long way as an investment in typically two places in the home. Replacing a carpeted floor with a shiny new wood floor can easily pay for itself several times over when selling your home. Secondly, resurfacing or refinishing old floors, cabinets, and appliances can also have a positive return on investment. Resurfacing can add easy market value without breaking the bank.

Use recycled materials if available

Construction worker going to pick up a used window

A great way to cut costs on home renovation projects is to source recycled and second-hand materials. If you are doing your own work, you can save over 50% of costs by opting for second-hand or lightly used building materials and fixtures instead of buying new ones. Things like windows, hardware, light fixtures, and doors can be salvaged and used in your home renovations to give your house an upgrade without breaking the bank.

Consider Classy Imitations

Imitation anything might not sound great, but it can actually be a classy way to improve the look and feel of your home without having to splurge for the real deal. Imitations these days can make your old floors or appliances look like sparkling new wood and stainless steel without huge costs. Some imitation woods, such as types of eucalyptus, can be produced to look like mahogany or oak, making them a perfect cost-effective option. Using peel-and-stick contact paper with stainless steel finish on appliances can give a modern refurbished look without breaking the bank.

Renovating your home doesn’t need to break the bank. With some good planning, you can make your house look fresh without too much overhead. A great place to start with this project is to look at your home and imagine you’re moving into it for the first time and own nothing. What would you change? Now you know where to begin.

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.