Thinking of a bathroom, kitchen, or basement remodel? If you’re on a tight budget, the first money-saving idea that usually comes to mind is to turn your remodel into a do-it-yourself home project. While that sounds all well and good, we have all seen the downsides of a DIY job: the weekend project that turns into a 6-month or year job; the lack of quality due to inexperience; the small parts of the job that never seem to get done. So how can you get your new space, use a contractor to get a quality job, and stick to your budget?
Decide where you want to splurge.
Make a list of all the aspects of your remodel. For instance, if you are remodeling your kitchen, at the most you’ll need cabinets, flooring, counter tops, appliances, sink, faucet, and hardware. Go through your list and prioritize what you want most. Would you rather allocate the majority of your budget to your countertops or appliances? Is there one part of your remodel you really, really want or need?
Reface instead of replace.
If the cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom are in good shape but you want a more updated look, consider refacing your existing cabinets. You’ll get an updated look while still saving money on one of the most expensive parts of your remodel. If you want to change the color of your cabinets, look into painting your cabinets.
Keep your current layout.
Unless your layout is dysfunctional, try to keep the same layout so you can get the maximum impact from a tight budget. Moving plumbing and major electrical work can add a significant amount to your remodeling project. If you do make any layout changes, get out your ruler; you can save money by using standard cabinets instead of custom. If you decide to do any plumbing or electrical work yourself, proceed with caution; many a homeowner has cost themselves more money down the road, or created a safety hazard in their home, by accident.
Limit the scope of your remodel.
Is there any part of your remodeling project that you can keep? Can you limit your project to save money? Keeping the existing flooring or deciding not to add recessed lighting to your room can keep your expenses within your budget.
Research cheaper materials.
If you want the look of travertine tile but don’t have the budget for it, look for a cheaper alternative. Shop in the clearance section or at a secondhand store to get the most for your dollar, but make sure you do your homework so you don’t pay more—or cause more expense (i.e. additional cabinet trim, more labor to make it fit, etc.) while trying to save money. Also, don’t compromise the quality of your remodel; you don’t want to cause more work for yourself later because your cheaper alternative breaks down prematurely.
Talk to your contractor for ideas.
Hire a contractor with experience. Not only do you get quality work, you also get the opportunity to tap into their knowledge. An experienced contractor can give you suggestions that keep you within your budget, and the space you’ve always dreamed of.