Renovating 101 – Spend or Save?


How to make the most of your renovation and balance your budget

It is not uncommon for a home renovation to go from a dream project to a nightmare. Sometimes the end result can be both a physical and financial disaster. The key is to know what you are willing to spend money on and where you are able to save. There are some common mistakes that people make which you can learn from. There are also some handy tips to help you make a better decision on what matters most to you. The first step is to breakdown your renovation into a detailed plan in order for you to see what is involved, how to budget for it and where to make compromises if you need to.

Before you begin the journey of renovating

The very first and most crucial step in any renovation is knowing exactly what you want and why. There can be a huge difference between renovating to add value to your home (often to then sell it at a profit) or renovating to transform the liveability of your home for you and your family. The scale of the renovation has obvious impacts on the cost, resources and time involved. Ripping out the carpets, mending and polishing the floorboards and adding a floor varnish is going to be cheaper, easier and quicker than having to alter structural elements of the home in remodelling a bathroom. It is the same story with outdoor renovations such as building a pergola with a special decking or simply installing some raised garden beds and hiding the household bins behind timber screens. There is good reason to remember that you can spend significant amounts of money on even the simplest household or garden items. It is all about balancing what you want with what you can afford.

The basics of a renovation plan

Any project needs a detailed plan to follow. Without the right planning, a renovation project can quickly become overwhelming, stressful and costly. The less mistakes you make on the renovation journey, the better the outcome. Once you know what you want from your renovation, it’s time to get all the facets down on paper.

  1. Draw up a renovation plan and make it as detailed as possible.
  2. Set a budget
  3. Work out a timeline
  4. Hire a builder or contractors
  5. Prepare for the start of the renovation
  6. Get professional advice whenever you need it

These are some of the most important steps you will need to take in order to have the home you want. If you can identify where you are willing to be flexible (want to haves) and stick with your fundamentals (must haves) then you will be able to see where and when you can make compromises. It is crucial that you know these from the outset and you are not left to decide in the heat of the moment or when you are under stress.

The benefits of professional help

This is when many people choose to enlist the skills of a professional. It is vital that you are comfortable with your chosen expert and you don’t feel bullied or pushed into making changes or decisions that you are not happy with. A trusted and experienced builder or project planner should be able to take you through each step in the project and answer any question you may have – no matter how stupid those questions may seem to you. Having continual advice and updates on the progress of your renovation will give you peace of mind and a greater belief in realising your dream.

The best preparation includes preparing for the worst

One of the most critical points of a renovation is having a realistic budget to begin with. There is no point going over your budget from the beginning and finding yourself over your head in debt before the project is even halfway. Sadly, many people find themselves in this position because they have not given themselves a workable budget and have failed to allow for unexpected expenditure. Almost no renovation project is completed without some unforeseen circumstances coming into the equation. Whilst these unexpected changes are not always costly or insurmountable obstacles, they more than often mean an additional cost or rethink on what is achievable. There are any number of TV shows that showcase how a renovation or refurbishment has started out as one thing but has had to be altered and amended along the way to reach a finished state. Often it is the blowout to costs and timeline that has been the most stressful and demanding factors in the project. The importance of planning for a ‘worst-case scenario’ cannot be overestimated. It can be the saviour of any project if you have a fall-back option for those moments when things go awry.

Seeing the bigger picture

When it comes to renovating, your plan should extend to what you want to spend or save in accordance to your budget as the project progresses. If you are adding a second storey to your home, is your wish for an art-deco staircase or classic wrought-iron bannister still affordable? Are you willing to save on the carpets in order to enjoy your ideal lighting fixtures? Whatever saving measures you have achieved could mean you have more to spend on the finishing touches. The interior design of your home is your chance to bring a true personality to your place. Your home is the embodiment of who you are and your connection to each space within it.  Some people feel the need for a fresh look to complete their renovation and enlist the art services and interior design skills of professionals. This can be for just the basics of special advice or to utilise the full set of services.

With a major renovation, the elements of structural design need to work hand in hand with the elements of the interior. Not everyone has a flair for marrying form and function. How a space should and could work is something that needs to be considered right through a renovation. Even the simplest of renovations can involve serious disruptions to the liveability of the home. Any inconvenience is often forgotten once there has been a successful completion of the work. It is more than mere relief that everything is done, it is an achievement and something to celebrate. Whether you have relocated your furnishings to a different part of the house or use art storage for your paintings, photos and sculptures, there is something special about refitting your newly renovated home with those special personal touches. It can often be like fitting the final piece of the puzzle when your artwork is hanging from its chosen spot.