Tips to save money on home renovation without cutting corners

Tips to save money on home renovation without cutting corners


We’ve put together a few tips to help you save on your next home renovation

According to two recent studies, one by the Home Industry Association and Houzz, the average cost of a kitchen renovation ranges between $15,000-$24,000; a bathroom between $13,000-$19,000. These can all go over the top if you decide on renovating more than one room at a time, choose premium materials, or change your mind half-way through the process.

Consider partial, instead of full, renovations

With any major renovation or building project, you need a clear indication of how much you want to spend. The median or average is a good start, but you need to ascertain what you can afford. The average bathroom renovation costs $1,600 per square metre, for example. However, if you are only looking to update tiles and a shower, it can end up a lot cheaper than going for a full renovation where you need carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other structural tradespeople to come in and rearrange entire rooms. These partial renovations give a house a new lease of life without costing too much.

Funding the project a cheaper way

According to Houzz, 80% of people draw on their savings to fund a home renovation. 20% they use a credit card and about 14% use their home equity (as well as their own savings.) Though money you’ve saved costs you nothing but time, using a credit card or home equity could end up costing much more in interest. It’s usually better to take out a home improvement or renovation loan.

“In most cases, taking out a separate renovation loan at a modest interest rate will beat putting it on the plastic – sometimes saving you a quarter in interest,” says Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director at Savvy and home renovation finance expert. “Adding time and principal to your home loan will also increase your interest paid. Yes, a home loan interest rate is much lower than a personal loan. But the principal and loan term are higher, which all but guarantees paying more in interest over the long term.”

Tips to save money on home renovation without cutting corners

Set a clear budget – and don’t change your mind

When you have a clear “wish list” in mind for your renovation, set a clear budget before you apply for a personal loan. Changing your mind half-way through the renovation, or not accounting for complications by forgoing a building inspection, can cause budget overruns. According to Houzz, a quarter of all renovation projects blow their budget by at least 25% – if you’re investing $10,000 into a build, that’s an extra $2,500 you’ll have to come up with. If you don’t have savings to absorb it, you’ll have to put it on a credit card or borrow from elsewhere – which means even more interest payments.

Other cost-effective ways to ensure great reno results

There are a lot of creative ways you can renovate your place without it costing the earth! Other ways to update a kitchen or bathroom is to replace a central element such as the cupboards – pushing back cupboards to maximise space costs far less than throwing out the entire design. Another quick kitchen reno hack is replacing a benchtop and cabinet doors with similar materials or colours. In the bathroom, replacing a vanity or a shower block with a new and updated look using coloured or textured tiles can also make for a cheap and cheerful renovation. Other renovation tips for most rooms in your house can be giving it a new lick of paint; changing the curtains; removing old incandescent lights with power-efficient LED downlights; hanging new prints or pictures; introducing throw-rugs or cushions into the mix. You can create a whole new look at a fraction of the price.