Is your kitchen looking tired and dated? Are you dreaming of a plush new bedroom? Or do you wish you could install a sparkling new bathroom? If you’re itching to update your home, but can’t afford to pay for an expensive refurbishment, then don’t let the cost put you off. With some smart shopping, a bit of elbow grease, and a dash of creativity, it’s possible to renovate almost any room in your home without breaking the bank.
In this article, we’ve shared five money-saving tips that will give your home a new lease of life, without the hefty price tag that often accompanies a major renovation project. Just read on to learn how you can transform your home on a shoestring budget.
Devise a budget, and stick to it
Before you begin, you’ll need to work out your budget. This will dictate everything from how much you can spend on new fittings and materials to how much work you’ll need to do yourself, so it’s vital to get an accurate estimate of what you can afford to spend.
To get started, write a plan of every change you want to make (no matter how minor), and set about finding out how much each step of the process is likely to cost. Remember, many contractors and tradespeople will offer a no-obligation estimate of their costs, so take advantage of this and use it to get an idea of what you’ll need to spend on labour. You can learn more about finding a trustworthy tradesperson for a fair price using this guide from Citizens Advice.
Wherever possible, you’ll also want to stick to a cash budget, as paying for renovations on finance or using credit cards could quickly mean that interest charges spiral. Remember, even with the best planning, there’s always a chance that your project will run over budget, so it’s always sensible to build in some wiggle room in case of unexpected expenses. Even if you don’t need to dip into your reserve fund, it will still give you peace of mind to know that it’s there.
Keep features and reuse materials wherever you can
It’s often possible to avoid some of the more expensive jobs simply by updating the features you already have. For instance, some new handles and a lick of fresh paint or a new stain might be all you need to elevate the look of those dated kitchen cabinets. Or, you might be able keep the same units and simply fit new cupboard doors. Be inventive, and try to keep your existing fittings and features wherever you can.
You’ll also want to think very carefully before you throw anything away, as many offcuts and scrap materials can be re-used. With a little creativity, you’ll find that all sorts of odds and ends can be repurposed: for instance, any cut-offs from your new wooden worktops can be sanded, polished, and mounted on a wall to create stylish freestanding shelves. Curbing waste will also help to keep disposal costs to a minimum, as you’ll have less to throw in the skip or take to the tip.
Save on transport, delivery, and disposal costs
Refurbishments can generate a lot of waste, and disposing of it all can be surprisingly costly. So, wherever possible, try to find alternative ways of dealing with any rubbish. Old furniture can often be donated to charity, and lots of organisations will even collect it from your home free of charge.
Many people also opt to take their rubbish to the tip themselves. Cheryl John Baptiste, from trailer manufacturer ERDE, told us lots of their customers are now using tow trailers to make dealing with waste more affordable. “We’ve noticed that more of our customers are using our trailers to make their renovations cheaper and more straightforward. With a trailer, you can take any rubbish straight to the tip as and when you need to, so it’s great if you don’t have the cash — or the space — to hire a skip.
“A trailer also offers more space for bulky items than the car boot, so it’s great if you want to pick up new pieces from salvage yards, or save money on delivery costs by collecting new furniture in person. It can also be a lifesaver if you need to stock up on DIY supplies mid-renovation, like power tools or lumber.”
Don’t be intimidated by DIY
Labour costs will account for a huge portion of your budget. So, where ever possible, keep costs down by tackling renovations yourself. There are wealth of online resources you can use to build up your DIY skills, so take a look at our techniques section to brush up on the basics. Becoming a dab hand at DIY projects won’t just save you money during your renovation: it will also come in handy should you need to solve any issues further down the line, meaning you’ll save even more cash in the long term.
For any complex work you’re not fully confident with, such as plumbing or rewiring, enlist the help of a local tradesperson (just be sure to get a quote first, and shop around to find the lowest price). Then, carry out any cleaning, re-plastering, or paint touch-ups needed to finish the job.
Go bargain-hunting at salvage yards
If you’re in the habit of browsing pricey catalogue and interior design magazines for inspiration, but can’t match the hefty price tags, try shopping for materials and fittings second hand, instead.
Reclamation yards and antique shops are often treasure-troves of unique pieces, and you can find everything from tiles to kitchen sinks for a fraction of the cost of brand new versions. Remember, if you find a piece at a salvage yard that’s in a need of a little TLC, it’s often easy enough to give them a new lease of life. Wooden furniture can be re-stained or re-painted, while a good clean and polish will often refresh ceramics or metallic fittings. That vintage, reclaimed look is very fashionable right now, so you can be sure that it will give your home an on-trend feel, too.
With creativity, hard-work, and good planning, updating your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Take our tips on board, and you’ll be well on your way to your dream home.