Maximising the potential of your budget is something that is always central to any project. After all, renovating your home is one of the largest investments that you will make after buying the property itself. Making the most of your budget will depend on the type of renovation that you are doing, but there are ways to achieve a premium renovation without splurging on every aspect of the work.
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First things first – set yourself a realistic budget. Be sure to know exactly how much you’ve actually got to spend and set yourself a budget that is within your means.
Next, you are able to start having some fun by creating your renovation wish list. What are the things that you absolutely want to achieve in your home? Group this list into ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ as this will help identify early in the project where you can make your budget work harder.
For example, if you dream of a kitchen fitted out with top-of-the-range appliances, that then might not leave you with enough in the pot for a marble countertop. Instead, you might opt for a quartz or Corian surface.
Once you know exactly what the vision is that you are trying to create, it is time to do your planning. Get a clear idea from your builder about how much everything will cost and timescales. This will allow you to plan your cash flow and make choices based on your list of ‘must haves’ vs. ‘nice to haves’.
At this point, before you press the green button there is one thing to consider over and above everything else. Is the infrastructure of your house sound? Although it might seem obvious, there is little point in creating the bathroom of your dreams if the roof of your house needs replacing, or you need new windows.
I am a huge advocate of carrying out regular maintenance of essential features to maximise their lifespan. A recommendation I make to people with wooden windows is to paint them at least every seven years.
If you are planning a small renovation then painting is a great area to make a saving. Designer paint colours are enduringly popular, but there is nothing stopping you from taking your premium paint swatch to the colour matching service in your local DIY store or builders’ merchant. The paint won’t have the same luxury chalky feel of a designer brand, but it could be as little as half the price of a premium alternative.
It might seem obvious but also try to choose something that is going to last when it comes to decorating your home. Whether it is bathroom tiles, kitchen countertops or statement wallpaper, try to avoid choosing something high fashion that will almost date stamp the renovation. Instead, opt for something timeless that will age sympathetically and ensure you get maximum longevity from your investment.
The nature of kitchens and bathrooms means that these rooms can eat into your budget more than any other. But there are ways in which you can rein in your spending. In a bathroom choose one really stand out item to create the wow factor. This could be a statement tile, after all, they will cover a significant area of the room.
Use the tiles on the floor, but keep on track with your spending by using budget field tiles for the walls. If there is enough in your budget you could enhance the effect by using the expensive tiles on just one wall, in the shower or the shower niches.
If you wanted a touch of opulence and had your eye set on marble for the bathrooms, you could use it as a feature, rather than using it wall to wall. For example, adding a splashback behind the sink, or using it in the shower will still give the sense of luxury and the richness and depth of differing textures, but it will be less expensive when used in smaller quantities.
If at all possible try to keep upgrades to the bathroom and kitchen straightforward by keeping your plumbing in the same place. Moving drainage for the sink and dishwasher or a soil pipe for the toilet can be extremely costly. If it is possible to work with the configuration that you already have, this can save you both time and money.
Coordinating your socket covers with the ironmongery used for features such as cabinetry handle will undoubtedly add to the overall finish of a space, but if you know that there are sockets that are extremely unlikely to be seen, such as behind a bookcase, you could opt for white plastic socket covers in those areas.
Where possible choose standard off the shelf items. If you have chosen a beautiful freestanding bath, it is quite possible to get catalogue taps for it that will look as equally beautiful. Bespoke items can add a great deal of cost and time, and unlike their off the shelf counterparts often cannot be returned if you’re not 100% satisfied when they arrive.
Floors are another area in which I often discuss the merits of splurging versus saving. A premium grade hardwood floor will have no knots in the timber, this can be ideal for a sleek modern finish, whereas a lower grade wood will often have knots in it. But if you are going for a country cottage style, a floor with character and some knots will enhance the aesthetics, so this is an area to consider saving money.
A final comment to add is that not everything used in your project needs to be brand new. Using a variety of vintage and upcycled pieces can add real depth and authenticity to the overall finish of a home. An added bonus is that it can be much more cost-effective too.
There are many ways to make your money go further. In the current climate of rising prices, I would encourage you to think outside the box as a strict budget doesn’t have to mean you compromise on the end result. However, it does mean that you need to really understand what you want to achieve. Careful planning is key to managing any budget.
This article was written by Charlie Avara. Charlie is the Managing Director of All Done Design Ltd. All Done Design Ltd is among London’s leading design and build providers and provides services to homeowners, interior designers, and architects. All Done Design has completed many successful projects in the North London area and specialises in high-end residential refurbishments and Grade II listed buildings.
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Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.