8 Ways to Save on Your Next Reno: Where to Skimp & Where to Invest


Home renovations aren’t something to jump into lightly. They can be disruptive and costly, but when complete they can add value to your home and improve your quality of life. Whether you’re planning your first reno or you’re an old hand, we’ve got some home renovation money saving tips for you.

8 Home Renovation Money Saving Tips

First, let’s talk about how you can manage your money wisely in the early planning stages—before you start picking out fixtures and flooring.

1. Be realistic about DIY

When setting a budget for your reno, it’s tempting to take on a heap of DIY projects. After all, it’s an easy way to save money, right?

Not always. It’s one thing to paint your own walls, but another entirely to knock down those walls on your own. If you bite off more than you can chew in terms of DIY, it can be a very expensive fix; and an avoidable one.

2. Set your budget

With renovations, you want to get the most for your money. For many people, that means squeezing as much as you can out of your budget. However, with renos, the scope of works isn’t always fixed. It’s common for budgets to blow out when things don’t go as expected.

Build an extra 15% into your budget for those unplanned expenses that might crop up along the way, or you may have to cut out aspects of the project that you don’t want to part with.

According to realestate.com.au, it’s also suggested that homeowners spend only up to 5% of the purchase price on renovations. So if you purchased a home for $400,000, try to limit your overall renovation budget to $20,000.

3. One project at a time

Speaking of projects, don’t overstretch yourself. You might want to redo your bathroom and kitchen, but avoid doing them both at the same time. For one thing, two major rooms in the house will be out of commission.

Prioritise your renos. You can either start small, tackling the little projects while saving for the big ones. Or maybe you’d prefer to start by crossing the larger projects off your list. Whatever you do, keep it to one project at a time.

Now let’s look at where you can really save some cash on your renovations: by choosing where to skimp and where to splurge.

4. Keep existing layouts

When feasible to do so, keep existing layouts in place, particularly where wiring and plumbing is concerned. If you start doing things like moving the position of the toilet and stove, it may require more work behind the scenes—which can be very expensive.

Depending on your current layouts, you may be able to modify them slightly without incurring too much cost. Look at ways you can renovate without completely starting from scratch.

5. Re-purpose when possible

So you hate your kitchen cabinets. Totally understandable—but would you hate them as much if they were a different colour? Or if you replaced the handles? The answer might still be yes, but it’s worth looking at.

If you can reuse things that you already have, like cabinets or other material, it can reduce your renovation costs. That way you can put your money towards other things, like upgrading your stove or kitchen bench top.

6. Put your money where it matters

Think about the first things you notice when you walk into a house. That probably includes things like flooring and fixtures; if they’re good quality, they’ll provide more value. A good rule of thumb is to invest money on the things you’ll use most often.

Put your money into items like flooring, fixtures, and fittings; it might cost more initially but these things can improve your home’s value. Look for products that are timeless rather than trendy so you don’t wind up with something that needs replacing in five or ten years.

7. With flooring, think durable

Consider which areas get the most foot traffic; in most homes this is the kitchen or entryway. If you skimp here by opting for flooring with a thin timber veneer (0.6mm or less), and it gets scratched, you won’t be able to re-sand it.

Keep the thinner, cheaper flooring in areas that aren’t used as often.

8. Keep your kitchen and bathroom practical and easy to clean

Choose benchtops that are easy to clean, like laminate or stone. Stainless steel sinks are perpetually popular because they’re easy to wipe down. Benchtop space and storage is also important.

In bathrooms, look for water and mould resistant materials like ceramic tiles. It’s also smart to have good ventilation, as this is the room that’s going to generate the most moisture and potential for mould.

Features like bathtubs, ovens, and dishwashers add value, so these are good places to splurge.

Renovations can be stressful, but they can also be exciting; here’s your chance to put your own stamp on things, plus add value at the same time. Be smart about where you skimp and where you splurge, and you could save money in all the right places.

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