If your new year’s resolution is to save more money and revamp your home, you’re probably asking yourself how you can tick both off the list. Renovations can be costly – and even with a solid plan of attack, homeowners almost always break the budget.
Budget tends to be the biggest constraint when it comes to giving your home some TLC. Whilst you want to save money on building costs to afford those ‘wow’ items you’ve been dreaming of, you don’t want to jeopardise the quality and finish of your overall project. If you’re planning a renovation in 2017, here’s a few ways you can cut costs.
1. Share landscaping and fencing costs with your neighbour.
Landscaping and fencing on the dividing line of properties can be split between neighbours to help subsidise the cost. For homeowners that are wanting to install new fencing, this option can cut down costs significantly. But you and your neighbour must agree on the fencing style and materials to move forward with the decision. To make it work for you both, talk to them openly about your renovation ideas. Both homeowners can easily benefit from a joint asset and reduced costs. If more than one homeowner on the street is planning a fence upgrade, some fencing contractors will offer a decent discount to get them done at the same time. So, it’s worth chatting to the neighbours and coming up with a plan!
On the landscaping front, redoing the front yard can be the ultimate kerb appeal booster. Not only does it make your return on investment better when you do decide to sell, but it boosts the appearance and value of the entire street. Planting new trees for screening purposes or updating any landscaping at the front or side of the property where both you and your neighbours can benefit offers a good opportunity to talk about splitting some of the costs.
2. Hit the recycling centre (and be prepared to get creative!).
If you don’t mind a little DIY work then you’ll be able to reap big rewards by visiting the recycling centre. To reduce renovation costs, you’ll be able to make use of recycled building materials, lightly used fixtures or salvage other bits and pieces. Repurposing items gives a unique sense of character and warmth to a home that may not be achieved otherwise. Not to mention the money you’ll be saving in the process!
Be prepared to get creative. Even if you’re not a regular DIYer, you can get many tips online or book a day workshop at the local hardware store. You can make a big impact with affordable updates through salvaged goods. Don’t forget too, anything you’re throwing out from your own renovation can be recycled for others to potentially use. Arrange to have a skip bin delivered during the renovation which will ensure all leftover materials get disposed of correctly.
3. Less really is more.
Bigger isn’t always better and if you’re on a budget, you want to be smart about how you plan your renovation. I’m often surprised by the size of many residential homes in relation to the number of people living there. While ‘big’ can be good, the space is generally underused. This can be a huge waste of money if funds are tight. It’s very possible to make a home feel and look spacious without going overboard. Stick to the saying less really is more and see where you can make necessary cuts. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but compromise is your best friend when renovating. Sometimes expectations just need to be adjusted to suit the budget better – but it doesn’t mean you can’t still create that ‘wow’ factor and give your home some va-va-voom.
4. Make at least one spectacular change.
Look where you can get the biggest bang for your buck and start there. Making at least one major change to the structure or characteristics of your home may not be cheap, but it’ll be life changing. If you’re just sticking to the one impressive change, with minor or less-expensive changes to follow, then you can still fit things within your budget. Opening a ceiling through an attic, pitching a roof or investing in some large open French doors for example can all make a huge difference to a space.
5. Study your lighting needs.
In most cases, it’s more cost-effective to introduce new lights during a remodel than after. Use your renovation project as an opportunity to review your lighting and find ways to cut costs on not just the reno itself, but also on power bills down the track. Avoid recessed light fixtures as they end up costing a lot for both the fixtures and the labour to install them.
Where possible, bring in more natural light by adding windows or enlarging ones that are already there. A cheaper alternative would be to install light tubes. These are fitted between the roof rafters and work by funnelling the sunshine into the living space. LEDs and CFLs are great for cutting down costs and can be installed with dimmers to allow you to control the amount of light as needed.
6. Don’t underestimate the transformative power of colours.
If your home is craving a refresh but you don’t want to break the bank, stick to the basics of colour transformation. A coat of paint gives immediate gratification and boosts the look and feel of a home in a big way. Opt for fresh modern colours in a neutral palette with some vivid accent colours to brighten the space up. Paint is one of the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective changes you can make. The right colour scheme can be a high-value driver for your property. If you’re unsure about the best colours to work with, most big brand paint companies offer a colour consultant for a small fee which is a worthwhile investment to make.