Home renovations have been some of the most exciting, but also most trying times in my life. My biggest advice is to just know yourself and what you’re cut out for, and don’t get in over your head, budget-wise. No beautiful home is worth the anxiety that comes along with consumer debt! If you have the extra money, it’s worth saving yourself the stress and hiring out the work, as long as you found someone good and trustworthy—otherwise it may equal even more stress! Sometimes homebuilding also equates to character building, and I’m talking about personal growth here, not investment growth. But the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
You will be surprised at the number of options you have once you start your research. The beautiful lamp that you liked at a high end store can be purchased at a lower price from elsewhere as well. So, when renovating your house on budget please remember that if you research to find the furniture you like, paint you want or the decorations you would like in your house, you are likely to find most of the supplies at an inexpensive price. Take advantage of online shopping, thrift stores and second hand furniture shops and see how far you will go. For step by step instructions on how you can decorate your house beautifully yet economically please read below:
Yet at the same time, keep things in perspective: just because something hasn’t been delivered on time or because you’re a bit behind schedule isn’t the end of the world, and it’s best to try and have the mentality of "how can we fix this?" rather than "whose fault is this?" Most importantly, keep your eye on the prize, and remember the revamp isn’t going to go on for forever, although it may sometimes seem that way in the process.
If you jump into a remodeling project with an ambiguous contract or no contract at all, you may as well hire an attorney and set a court date right away. "The contract needs the right address, a start date, a completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done," says Rosie Romero, founder of Legacy Custom Builders in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Big projects or small, probably all of us could stand to learn some decent home repair or home improvement skills. (All around the home, there are things we should never have to pay others to fix for us.) Learn Bob Villa-worthy skills and help others at the same time by volunteering or through free clinics and other resources. Turn to great reading resources and try starter projects too. If you get stuck on a project, iOS app Fountain will connect you to a home improvement expert to answer your question for $5. (Also, did you know we have a home improvement subblog here at Lifehacker called Workshop?)
There has yet to be a home renovation that has been silky smooth, without a single snag or snafu, so be prepared for days when things just aren't going right. It’s natural to want everything to go perfectly according to plan, but with so many products and people involved, it’s unlikely that everything will turn out exactly how you imagined, which can be frustrating and sometimes even costly.
One last tip about hiring skilled labor is to try to arrange your project for the off-season, which is usually after the holidays and before summer, but varies by region. Professionals are often busy with larger jobs in the summer, and many aren’t able or willing to take on smaller jobs at this time. I had trouble finding a mason in the summer, and getting an electrician to call me back was the worst! Another advantage of waiting until the off-season is that you may potentially be able to get a better price if they need the work.
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.
When I began my project, I created a spreadsheet and simply added everything I knew we wanted to buy. I added my flooring choice (calculated to include waste), lighting, faucets, paint, countertops, cabinet hardware, outlets and switch plate covers, tile, grout, appliances, and more! I had to make calls to get quotes for materials and labor, and even added tax to my budget sheets. After my spreadsheet was created, I could see areas that were eating up a lot of my budget, and then make adjustments by choosing less expensive materials, or deciding to cut out items altogether.
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.
For most people, their home is their single largest investment, so treat it that way. Hire a financial planner to work out a strategy for protecting your investment by analyzing all of the financing options that are available. A financial whiz can tell you if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments or pull out some equity to pay for value-adding improvements.
A full grand surround turns a conventional shower into a steam shower. A transom installed above the door could be utilized in a way where it would dry the shower every time you close the door. Likewise, placing the fan near the transom can also help in drawing air out of the shower every time you close the door. For those with a steam shower, it’s highly recommended to incorporate a bigger bathroom fan. Don’t forget to check the grout lines as well. Fewer grout joints are recommended because there’s less surface area to absorb moisture.
The biggest way I saved money in both of my kitchen renovations was by reusing cabinetry and some appliances. If you need more than paint and new hardware to be happy with your kitchen cabinet doors, then be aware that you can still save a lot of money by refacing doors to change the style, or even replacing the doors but leaving the cabinet body in place.
The more money we save on one home improvement project, the more we have left for all the other ones we want to do. In addition to knowing the remodeling projects that offer the most bang for your buck, know which elements of a project you can splurge or skimp on—spend more on items that are hard to replace, such as the bathtub, but skimp on the faucet, for example, or spend more on a professional range if you're a gourmet cook and save on the decorative tiles and flooring that look like premium materials.
If you have a larger budget and can afford to hire a carpenter to make custom-built shelves for your library, that’s amazing, and I 100% wish I could do that. But for those of us who are trying to stretch our dollars, there’s IKEA! I’ve used IKEA pieces as the base for my projects many times, from my cabinet workspace solution to my kiddos’ toy storage, and soon in the study at my new house.
Most en suite bathrooms are attached to the master bedroom, but there may be exceptions depending on the layout of your home. They are meant to be more private spaces than guest bathrooms, allowing you to put a more intimate or creative touch to this space. They are convenient due to their proximity to the bedroom, helping you maintain a comfortable amount of privacy. Dating back to the 1960s, en suite bathrooms have become commonplace in the modern home. You can add simple or elegant upgrades to your en suite bathroom to make it a distinct selling feature. If you don’t currently have an en suite, you can add one by converting a large closet or building onto the bedroom.
Not a fan of your ceiling lights? By all means, replace them if you have room in your budget. But don’t just throw away the old fixtures. If you need the money, try selling all of your old fixtures on buy/sell/trade sites like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace. Old kitchen cabinets, appliances, doors, hardware, and lots of other materials might be of interest to someone else out there scavenging for materials, but if nobody wants your junk, you can sell metal items to scrapyards in exchange for cash. If you don’t need the money, definitely take care when removing old fixtures so you can donate them to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.