Many people take a sharp intake of breath when they realise how much home renovation can cost, which is why it is vital to plan ahead and draw up a budget.
Setting a budget can help to bring some financial discipline to a project by reining in any tendencies towards impulse spending; It is all too easy to get carried away, but a properly costed plan will help to keep the project within sensible limits. Once the initial budget has been drawn up it is time to cut costs even further and there are lots of ways to save money without cutting corners or compromising on safety.
It should go without saying, but one of the best ways to save money is to get quotes from a number of builders. And it does no harm to discreetly let the builders know that they’re not the only company being asked for a quote. When the quotes come back it’s worth looking at them in detail and questioning any areas that seem particularly expensive. Also consider the quality of finish required. For example if a wall is going to be covered in wallpaper, it may not need to be skimmed to perfection. Many builders offer a much cheaper plastering option called ‘making good’, which may suffice.
When buying the fixtures and fittings, there are plenty of money saving avenues to explore. By all means spend an enjoyable afternoon or two wandering round bathroom or kitchen showrooms to get some inspiration, but then consider making a list of everything necessary and go online to look for bargains. It is often possible to buy items for a fraction of the price by buying last year’s model or ex-display models. Online auctions can also be an excellent place to pick up second hand bargains. Being prepared to compromise a little can result in savings of hundreds, or even thousands of pounds.
Salvage yards are fantastic for picking up vintage timber and ironwork and it is worth visiting regularly and letting the owner know exactly what you’re after as the best deals tend to come and then go very quickly. It is also worth keeping an eye on local small ads and recycling forums because quite often people will give away furniture, kitchen and bathroom units and sheds to anyone willing to dismantle them and take them away.
Getting creative can be a good way of saving money on renovation whilst also putting your unique stamp onto the home. By adding new handles or perhaps some salvaged ones via the methods mentioned above, things like kitchen units can be given a new lease of life. Similarly, furniture in other rooms can be stripped or varnished to change their feel, which is very useful if they no longer match the aesthetics of a newly redecorated room.
Daniel N is a UK-based blogger who writes on a varied set of topics including home DIY. He is currently working on behalf of leading tool hire company Hire Station.