Renovating your home can be expensive. It’s easy to get carried away with elaborate floorplans, trendy fittings, and gorgeous materials – but with some careful thought and smart choices, you can save on your renovation while creating the house you want.
Here are our top nine ways to save on your renovation project:
1: Don’t forget to focus
Planning is the most important part of any project – even more so if you’re on a strict budget. When you start planning your renovation, think about what you’re trying to achieve. More space? Upgrades to dated kitchens or bathrooms? Creating an open-plan layout?
From there, you can prioritise. If you need space, focus on paying for the extension rather than changing the existing home too much – after all, you can always redo the current bathroom in a few years’ time. On the other hand, if you’re keen on upgrading things now, focus your budget on the things that will make an impact, like installing new fittings and redoing tiling – you can always paint and add finishing touches later on.
2: Stay under one roof
If you want more space, an extension seems like the obvious choice. But adding a whole new room can be an expensive exercise. If you focus on squeezing extra space out of your existing house without extending the roofline, you could save yourself a significant sum.
Think about building out to fill an existing porch or entryway, changing the inside layout to make better use of the space, or extending some walls out to the soffit line – which can add 300-600mm of valuable space to smaller rooms. You could be surprised at how much extra space you can find with the help of a professional architect or designer.
3: Keep plumbing in place
Moving plumbing can be costly, so try to avoid it as much as possible. Can you keep major fixtures like the bath, toilet, and vanity where they are? You can still upgrade the actual fittings, but the less you have to move or alter the pipes, the more you’ll save. If you’re installing a kitchen or bathroom in an entirely new location, it might be possible to use existing plumbing close by to make the job cheaper – for example, if your new bathroom shares a wall with an existing kitchen, you may be able to use existing water feeds without running new plumbing.
This might mean compromising on the vision for your new kitchen or bathroom, but it could make a big difference to the overall cost of your project.
4: Electrical issues
Similarly, it’s more cost effective to use existing wiring as much as possible. Try to keep your switchboard in its current position, as moving it can involve moving the mains cable or extending circuits – both complicated, expensive tasks.
If you’re concerned about your switchboard ruining the look of your revamped room, a well-designed cover or door could be a simple, cost-saving solution.
5: Smart joinery choices
Window joinery is something many renovators don’t give much thought to – after all, it’s not nearly as exciting as a new countertop or vanity. But choosing more cost effective window systems can be a major way to save on your renovation.
Depending on the design of your existing house, you may be able to use UPVC or aluminium window frames instead of traditional timber. These alternatives may have been considered cheap and nasty options in the past, but these days and with the latest manufacturing technology they look much better. UPVC in particular has a bulky, timber-like profile, which can help it fit in with the rest of your house while keeping costs down. Aluminium frames now come in a range of looks and colours – rather than the reviled bronze of the 70s – and can make a real statement in your home.
As a bonus, most aluminium and UPVC windows are easier to maintain than timber, and UPVC will give you slightly better heat retention as well.
6: From the floor up
Flooring can be a very costly part of a renovation, so it’s worth looking at all the options.
If you have wooden floors already, giving them a sand and coat of polyurethane can be a great, affordable option – and you might be surprised by how well your old floors polish up. Per square metre, it’s often almost twice the price to put down carpet, compared to refinishing wooden floors. Wood tends to be harder wearing as well.
Having said that, original native timber flooring can be expensive in other ways. If you’re adding an extension, finding floorboards to match the existing floor can be difficult – and tongue and groove is fiddly and expensive to lay as well. Think about choosing a modern flooring option for the new room that’s close enough to match – or go for something completely different to define the space.
7: Time for tiling
Tiles are timeless, great looking, and hard wearing. But depending on your choice, they can be expensive, and even more expensive to install.
If you’re upgrading a bathroom or kitchen with new tiles, consider your budget before you choose a design. Smaller tiles and complicated patterns will usually increase the cost of installation, so it’s cheaper to keep it large and simple.
You can also consider reducing the area to tile. Floor to ceiling bathroom tiles can look effective, but perhaps they’re not necessary. Instead, focus on the areas that will get wet – like the shower walls and around the vanity. In the kitchen, a smaller border of tiles could provide the impact you are after.
And before thinking that vinyl might be a good substitution for tiles, be sure to check the minimum charges – they can often mean vinyl is just as costly if not more so than tiles.
8: Reduce, reuse, recycle
You don’t have to replace everything to make your house look like new. When you’re renovating, look for ways to retain or reuse existing materials and fittings to bring costs down.
If you’re happy with your existing kitchen layout, for example, you could just repaint or replace the doors and benchtop to refresh the look – without having to buy costly new cabinetry. If you’re renovating an older house and want to retain some of the original features, check Trade Me or demolition yards for anything from door handles to flooring and windows.
If you’re removing older features, you can even get some cash back – and save on removal costs – by selling them on Trade Me if they’re in reasonable condition. You’ll be surprised at what people will pay for an older kitchen, native timber floorboards or even the old clay bricks!
9: Strike a balance
Got your heart set on an expensive granite benchtop? That’s fine, but if you’re on a tight budget, you might need to compromise on other things. That means, splash out on the benchtop, but look to make savings on the less obvious details like taps, sink, and other fittings. Maybe a one-piece glass splashback instead of a wall of mosaic tiles.
Similarly, if you’re keen on a large feature tub in your bathroom, balance out the cost by reducing tiling, using an existing vanity, or choosing a cheaper toilet suite. As always, it’s about prioritising the bits that you really care about – and keeping it standard for the rest.
Need help keeping your project on budget? Talk to the MyHome Renovations team today for advice.
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