If anyone knows how to pinch a penny, it’s me. I actually used that phrase to describe someone once, and she was completely offended. I was like, what?! That’s the biggest compliment ever! She may or may not have been a client. Oops! I digress…
Renovating a house is an endless money pit. Timelines get lengthened, expenses increase, frustrations get magnified. UNLESS you plan. Well, even if you plan if we’re honest. But planning and budgeting will help not add to the already present stress! So, whether you’re renovating a whole house, or just a room, here are my tips to renovating on a budget.
1) Make a Budget: Find out how much you can afford and write it out! For instance, I actually went “shopping” (without buying anything) on Amazon, wayfair, and overstock to find the exact items I wanted (sinks/faucets/bathtubs/appliances/etc) and put it in a spreadsheet with the price. Then I totaled the column at the bottom so I knew what MATERIALS would cost. Labor is a bit harder to judge. You should talk to the people you are having do the project and figure out how long it will take and what their rate is. Then you can add that in as an expense. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of permits, dumpsters, port-a-potties (for real), etc. HERE is an example of what I created to keep track of our cost.
2) Be Your Own Contractor: I don’t mean go out and start swinging a hammer. I mean, maybe you’re into that, in which case GO for it! What I mean is, you do the shopping around to find the cheapest vendors for all projects: cabinet company, countertop company, window company, tile company, flooring company. Then you’re not paying someone to do the shopping for you! AND, you get exactly what you want.
3) Choose Flooring Wisely: Sure we all want the stunning heart pine floors with antique stain. But if you’re on a budget, do something comparable for a fraction of the cost! I found a local wood floor warehouse, Lumber Liquidators, where we found wide plank yellow pine flooring that will look just as rustic once stained! As far as stain goes, I pick a few different colors and mix them together (keeping track of the ratio) and practice on scrap pieces until I get the perfect color. I stain the floors myself, but it’s pretty insane, so you may want to budget to have someone else do that part! My video on installing floors is HERE. And my video on staining floors is HERE.
4) Be Realistic: Pinterest makes us think we can all create these magnificently trendy spaces. Which we can in some ways, but if we’re on a budget, we may need to sacrifice. For instance, I saw this gorgeous black and white bohemian tile, you know the one you see all over the place, that was 4 times the price of the sweet little white tile. I opted for the sweet little white tile to save several hundred dollars. It will still be beautiful!
5) Spend Money Where it Counts: Some things are worth splurging on! Figure out what those things are to you and budget for them. Then work in the other pieces (like the tile) to stay within your budget but still have those special things you MUST have in your house. For me, that was countertops, appliances, and a master bathtub.
All in all, if you take the time to budget, shop around, and plan ahead, it will be worth it! Renovating isn’t easy. It costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. So put the time in where it counts so that your project flows!