However, if you’re considering a home renovation, think practically about what you can and cannot do; painting the walls of a small bathroom may be totally feasible by yourself, but painting all of the walls of a 4,000-square-foot house is likely less so. While you may think you would be saving a lot of money by doing the work yourself, if it is something unfamiliar, it might cost even more to have a professional undo and then properly complete the project. 
Obviously, this is one of the most effective ways to save money during a home renovation. If you’re thinking, “I’m not handy, so this tip’s not for me,” well, think again! You may not be able to put up drywall, or even feel comfortable laying tile, but there are some things you can do to prep your space before a crew comes, because remember you’re paying a crew per hour, regardless of how skilled or unskilled the task. If you can demo the space, clean up, prepare surfaces (like scraping off mastic on the floor and skim-coating walls), and paint, then you’re one step ahead.
Whether your budget is big or small, the cost of a home renovation can quickly get out of control! I’ve gone through two budget-friendly kitchen renovations in the past three years, so I wanted to share some tips that can help you achieve and manage a renovation that works for your home and budget. Check out our first shoestring-budget renovation we did at our old home, and then see what we did in our newer home with a bit more money.
One of a room's most neglected spaces, the ceiling, makes up one-sixth of a room's total area. Updating your home's ceilings will net a lot of bang for the buck while adding architectural interest. First, if you still have popcorn ceilings, hire a contractor to scrape them smooth. To add a sophisticated custom look to a smooth ceiling, install crown molding or box beams for a coffered look. Ceiling millwork, an attractive feature prevalent in older homes, is rarely found in newer construction. Adding small touches like these will help your home stand out from the pack.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!

As mentioned earlier effective planning is the key to effective renovation. If you are renovating yourself then you need to focus on both the bigger picture and the smaller parts. You might have heard the phrase “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, you can apply the same strategy to your home renovation project and devise a renovation plan for each area in your house. If you hire an architect for renovation, he will assess your requirements and then renovate accordingly. In this case since you’re in charge, you will brainstorm your requirements, write your end goal for each space in the house and decide the overall goal, and then move on to:
I recommend starting with one or two rooms and finishing those before moving on to other areas. For one thing, most people find it difficult to finish a project before moving onto the next thing. Prioritize what will be the most intensive project and do it first, otherwise it may drag on for years! If you force yourself to finish one project before beginning another, you won’t have to live in a house full of unfinished rooms. Also, from a budget standpoint, beginning with only one or two rooms is smart because if you run into unexpected expenses, you can deal with them without having to halt work, take out a loan, or make huge compromises in other spaces.
Walk around your home and make a list of all the little things that are broken or in need of repair. Individually, small repairs might not seem important, but if every room has just one thing wrong, those small things will add up to create the impression that your home has been neglected. If you don't feel comfortable tackling the repairs yourself, hire a handyman for a day and watch your "to do" list disappear. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.
The look of your front door and entrance play heavily into the overall curb appeal of your home. As visitors enter, the front door serves as the transition into your home and is part of their first impression. Entry doors are architectural components that should complement your home's overall design, not detract from it. If your existing front door isn't up to par, head down to your local home improvement store for a more energy-efficient and attractive replacement. Whether you choose a solid wood door or one with decorative stained or cut glass panels, a welcoming entrance will definitely increase your home's bottom line.
You would be surprised at the number of inexpensive yet quality products you can purchase to renovate your bathroom. If you are looking to install new toilet fixture you can check our Toto Toilet, and if you are not planning to install any new items, you can fix up your existing toilet by changing the paint, changing cabinet paints and by fixing the pressure of shower etc.
If you're unsure of which design style or paint color to use, hire a designer. They'll use discriminating taste and a trained eye to help with making the big decisions. Also, remodeling your home with a cohesive plan in mind makes all of your choices easier and ensures a pulled-together finished look. So, when you get the right mix of time or money, you'll know exactly which project to take on next.
Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.

Orange County Service Areas: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Midway City, Mission Viejo, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Vernon, Warner Center, Westlake Village, Westminster, Yorba Linda.
I’ll spell out the survey findings below, but if you are considering giving the crew a tip, I would first talk to the owner of the company to determine if tips are allowed. You don’t want to put the workers in a difficult situation.  If tips are not allowed, but you still feel strongly about the work, you could write a letter to the company owner praising their work, and/or you could write a positive online review that spells out that great experience. This written proof will likely be appreciated just as much as a tip and may have a much longer lasting effect.
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes' list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home's storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home's value.
A "bright" way to increase the value of your home is to lighten up. Adequate lighting in a home makes a big difference. Not only does a bright, well-lit room feel more cheerful but it also makes spaces feel larger and cleaner. A well-lit room also shows that you have nothing to hide, so should you decide to sell, prospective buyers will feel at ease when touring your home. Hire an electrician to add recessed lights to a dim kitchen or family room or to brighten up a formal dining or living room with elegant sconces. You'll enjoy the bright effect now and your home will feel warmer and more welcoming to homebuyers.
Whether your budget is big or small, the cost of a home renovation can quickly get out of control! I’ve gone through two budget-friendly kitchen renovations in the past three years, so I wanted to share some tips that can help you achieve and manage a renovation that works for your home and budget. Check out our first shoestring-budget renovation we did at our old home, and then see what we did in our newer home with a bit more money.

This might not save you money up front, but it certainly will in the long run! If you know you’ll be happy with patterned tiles covering most of your open-concept kitchen, then feel free to take that plunge. But removing tile, repairing walls, and replacing tile can be a big project, so if you’re not sure you can live with something so bold and permanent, make a safer choice you’ll be happy with for years to come. Obviously we’re seeing a lot of subway tile in kitchens these days, but to be fair, it’s a classic material that will age well, and it also provides a nice neutral backdrop for other easily changed trendy items like a candy colored stand mixer, pink painted walls, or a basket-style pendant light.
Unfortunately, most home improvements do not pay for themselves. If you can't afford to finance the project in full with cash, know the different ways you can finance your home improvement without putting your home at risk. Also, if you know the difference between tax breaks you get for home repairs or home improvements, you can make the proper deductions at tax time and get some money back from your project. Similarly, if you're paying private mortgage insurance, home improvements that increase the value of your home could help you eliminate that cost, which, although it doesn't raise funds for your project, can reduce your housing expenses overall.
"A remodeling project is going to affect every room in the house," says A. J. Paron-Wildes, general manager of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. "The homeowners need to take down pictures, move vases, and pack away valuables before work begins." While you're at it, take steps to protect your immovable fixtures, including built-in cabinets and chandeliers. Have flooring covered with cardboard sheets if it needs to stay in good condition.
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes' list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home's storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home's value.
Take a look at your home's soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.

Shop around quite a bit before hiring professional help with your project. Elsie has mentioned that in order to save money, she didn’t use a general contractor initially when renovating her home. This ended up causing a lot of stress because of all of the organization involved with using different skilled workers in a project. You should check out the post she wrote about renovation mistakes, especially the parts about hiring out help. I don’t have too much experience with that aspect of home renovations, though I did hire someone to lay the stone veneer for our fireplace and also hired a crew to do some subfloor work and drywalling when I was too busy to do it myself last summer.

The vanity could very well be the largest piece of “furniture” in your bathroom. As such, you have a prime opportunity to show off your style with a vanity makeover! In a DIY bathroom remodel, you may not feel completely comfortable with replacing the vanity altogether…or you might. But if you don’t, there are still some great ways that you, yourself, can take your bathroom vanity from drab to fab.


It’s important to look beyond the space of the bathroom. Think about the entire look of your house. What kind of layout would best match the design? Does your preferred bathroom layout blend well with the rest of your home? Keep in mind that not everything has to be matched perfectly for it to blend well with your home. Not every door handle has to be bronze, for example. But if you choose a contrasting design, such as silver with bronze, it can be too distracting. If your bathroom is a part of your master bedroom, it is critical to blend the design. Don’t choose a stark bright color to distract from the theme of the main room. Instead, make it an extension of the room that flows well without taking away from the grandeur of the bedroom. A common adage is “add, not change.”There is also a matter of “functional zoning.” This is a good way for you to plan your bathroom layout around the idea of what’s functional. Instead of remodeling from a design perspective, instead think of things from a use perspective. Planning an effective space has everything to do with your lifestyle and how you best use the space. Make sure you incorporate this in your bathroom remodeling.

Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do when it comes to home improvements is to start a project without the major details—cost, time, materials, and design—as realistic as possible from the start. Nothing costs more than having to "change horses in midstream" (e.g., you want to move the fridge somewhere else now or want to change your tile choice). Use design tools to conceptualize your project and add a healthy buffer (10-15% more) to your time and financial budget to account for the inevitable surprises.
I hesitated to add this to the list, because sometimes helping hurts, if you know what I mean! The same thing goes for doing it yourself. If you end up messing things up and have to hire someone to come fix it, then you’ve added expense to your project rather than saving money. But if you have electrician friends who’ve offered to help, or someone who has laid flooring in their home and has the equipment and experience, definitely take the help! But be judicious with who you allow to help, and make sure you communicate whether or not financial compensation is expected in exchange. Trading professional services is one way everybody wins in this type of scenario.
Orange County Service Areas: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Midway City, Mission Viejo, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Vernon, Warner Center, Westlake Village, Westminster, Yorba Linda.
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