If you have time, patience, and planning you can save money during your renovation.
In my One Room Challenge Week 1 reveal post I asked if you’d be interested in learning how and where I saved money during this renovation. You said yes, please! So I’ve been keeping track of the areas of savings to share with you.
A big factor is that time was on our side. We started planning in advance and started our renovation during peak reno time: the fall. This meant that hardware stores had a lot of sales going on to take advantage of. The spring is also a peak renovation season for sales so watch those flyers.
Budget From The Beginning
An ideal budget was set, and as I started researching materials, finishes, construction, etc, it became obvious that our first budget wasn’t going to cut it. But I used this research to come up with a new budget with the goal to be under. Then decisions were made based on quality and cost-efficiency.
Saving On Tile
The first place we saved was on the tile. Instead of looking at gorgeous (and expensive) wall tiles, we focused on builder grade porcelain tiles. These are economically priced tiles because they look pretty standard and are made in large quantities. Porcelain floor tiles can be used on walls, but the bigger tile size usually means a lower price point. Another bonus of using a large tile is fewer grout lines, so less grout required and less maintenance. I opted for a modified grout with polymer additives for stain and mold resistance. There’s also no sealing required for this type of grout.
Instead of bullnose tiles for the finished edges, which you pay for by piece, we are using metal tile trim. The finish is matte black to match the faucet and tie in with the rest of the space. Then it looks done on purpose instead of like an after-thought.
The floor tiles need to be smaller so that they can be properly sloped for water drainage. I found just enough marble mosaic stones at a local flooring store for clearance prices. You can often get a smoking deal on in-stock products when you are clearing out a section of materials, especially during peak renovation times. That warehouse space is valuable.
Saving on Labor
A big area you can save on is labor. If you have some patience and are willing to learn how there are many things you can tackle yourself to save money during your renovation. Removing flooring, baseboards, drywall, cupboards, or any varying degree of demolition means you aren’t paying someone else for the work. If you have the skills and knowledge you may even be able to do things like electrical or plumbing. Or install drywall, mud, and tape, paint the walls, install flooring, install tiles, etc. You could save a lot by doing all the labor yourself.
But if you get into a pickle, it can cost more to have a professional come in on short notice to fix your errors. So keep that in mind before taking on a big job.
This isn’t our first bathroom renovation. We’ve learned what we are and aren’t good at. We’re delegating accordingly by having a professional come in to build, plumb and wired the new shower area. But things like painting, flooring, cabinets, and basic plumbing we know we can handle ourselves.
Keep The Old
There’s a few things we are keeping the same in order to save money. The bedroom carpet is staying, the existing pocket door stays, the same baseboards and trim will be going back up but maybe in new spots. We are keeping the existing light fixtures and the large wall mirror.
There was flooring leftover from the basement installation and it will be used in our bathroom. The color was taken into consideration as the tile and other finishes were selected. This was a big area of savings.
Some of the metal finishes, like the toilet paper holder, are being spray painted to match the new matte black look. Spray paint is a lot cheaper than a new toilet paper holder! You could even spray paint cabinet handles and doorknobs! Which now that I mention it, may be added to the to-do list. Hmm..
Even the mirror bi-fold doors from the closet were salvaged and the mirrors will be repurposed!
We even considered just painting the vanity and countertop as a temporary refinishing job to match the bathroom, save money, and be replaced in another year or two. What changed our minds was how much we saved in other areas would allow us to get it all done in one swoop. No mental weight of the job not being “complete” hanging around, no taking things apart a second time, and no mess to clean up again.
Look Around Your Room
Take a look around or at your project. Are there areas you can easily identify as spots you can save money during your renovation, either repurposing what you already have or turning it into a DIY project? Write them all down as you think of them, and decide which ones are realistic areas of savings and which could end up being more trouble than its worth.