How to Keep Costs Down When Renovating Your Home

Shutterstock / JR-stock © Newly installed kitchen Pic: Shutterstock

If you have grand plans without a budget to match, there are so many ways you can save money. From affordable energy to DIY skills, renovating your home doesn’t have to break the bank…

With 2,600 monthly Google searches for ‘house renovation’ in the UK and another 1,900 monthly Google searches for ‘home renovation’, it’s a popular topic for homeowners in the UK. Whether you’re looking to renovate one room, or give your whole house a makeover, the process of building, decorating, and installing essential appliances can be expensive.

Keeping on top of the budget can free up extra cash for other parts of the project. Here are some ideas to help make the balance sheets add up…

Know your budget

Mature couple working out sums on computer Pic: Shutterstock

Pic: Shutterstock

Before you get started, it’s essential to settle on a budget. Decide what you can afford on your renovation project. This way, you can plan how much money you can set aside for each part of the extension or redecoration. Take time to do your research before you begin, so you understand how much the process will realistically cost. You may need to divert money into different parts of the project and surrender aspects of your renovation to make the figures work. Set aside a contingency budget for any ‘surprise expenses’, as not everything will go to plan no matter how much preparation you do. If you don’t need the extra funds, or you can make savings along the way, that’s always a bonus!

Simple styles

A beautiful living room with clean lines and wide glazing Pic: Shutterstock

Pic: Shutterstock

If you’re looking to save money, ensure your renovation plans aren’t too complex. Simple designs have low costs. When building an extension, for example, each extra corner of your build means extra labour and material costs. So a basic four-walled extension can save a lot of time and money. This doesn’t mean that you need to surrender style. Plenty of simple home renovations can still achieve amazing aesthetics and boost your property value, especially if you use glazing and lighting to great effect.

DIY is your best friend

If you can do something yourself, you should. DIY is one of the best ways to save money when renovating your own home. Of course, some jobs need an expert hand. But things like decorating and garden maintenance once renovations are complete can be done yourself to save costs. Or why not work with a skilled professional, letting them concentrate on their area of expertise while you clear out, fill skips or do the more basic tasks?

You can also learn new skills while renovating your own home. Could you lay your own flooring, for example, or tile a wall? There are many online tutorials to help you master all types of DIY skills. Search YouTube for some great videos that explain in details what to do.

Material sourcing

Leaving a brick wall exposed Pic: Shutterstock

A feature brick wall looks great, and can save money, too. Pic: Shutterstock

Think creatively about the materials that you use. Have you got any waste material in your garage that could have a second life in your home? Second-hand items can also be sourced and used to save money. Using natural features of your home, such as exposed brick walls, can create a pleasing aesthetic while helping the budget stretch. If you knock down a wall, is there the potential to reuse bricks when building another part of your home?

Cost of contractors

If you have the time, using individual suppliers for different aspects of the renovation project means that you can find the best price, and stay in control of the project. However, if you would prefer one main contractor to do all the work, ask for quotes from three companies to find the best value, and don’t automatically pick the lowest price – make sure you understand what each company is offering.

Prepare for living

The cost of a renovation project doesn’t end when you’ve finished fixing up the house. If you’ve extended or increased the size of your home, heating and energy costs may also rise. However, further upgrades during your home renovation can help save money. For off-grid homes currently running on oil-fired heating, an oil to gas conversion offers many benefits. LPG gas is a greener solution than oil, emitting 20 per cent less carbon dioxide. Do your research, gas boilers are more affordable to install than oil boilers and alternatives such as heat pumps can carry large up front installation costs.

Installing other sustainable utilities can also be beneficial, including wastewater heat recovery systems or solar panels to produce electricity. Using LED lighting can also be more affordable to run than standard lithium bulbs. Important investments during your renovation project can help you save money in the long term.