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How to manage your home renovation budget

Sometimes what you have to spend on big projects, such as kitchens and bathrooms, is less than you might like. Here’s how to make your money go a little bit further.

Once you embark on a reno it quickly becomes clear that you've started a big project. Things you may not have planned for can often surprise you, and you can easily find your budget is being pushed to the brink. With careful planning you can easily wrangle your budget into line, so here are 12 ways you can stretch your renovation budget.


HAVE A SPENDING PLAN

Whatever the project, draw up a realistic budget and stick to it. Make sure the budget is reflective of the problem at hand rather than how much you have to spend. If the budget is tight, make sure you really understand your issues or desires that are most important to you. It's easy to be swept up in the project once you've begun, so stay true to your real needs. Create a good brief and desired result at the start, and stay focused on this.



GO SMALL

Consider the space available for your kitchen and decide whether you really need to fill it. Compact can be functional and cost-effective. A compact kitchen means less walking and having everything at arms' reach. Think about what you really need in terms of storage and pantry space – most of us keep way too much stuff that we hardly ever use. Reducing the size of a kitchen is an obvious cost saving and comes with the bonus of being more efficient.



RESIST FLOOR-TO-CEILING TILING

Save on materials and labour in bathrooms by tiling only 1.2 metres up from the floor except for the shower recess, then paint the rest of the walls. This will cut your tiling bill in half and give the bathroom a much softer feel, with fewer hard surfaces.


REFRESH DON'T RENEW

Re-use your cabinetry where possible. By refacing your doors it will give your kitchen a fresh new look. Or update your bench tops with a stone veneer at a fraction of the cost of replacement.


THINK SLIM

Opt for a thinner bench top. A 40mm bench top will cost $500 to $1500 more than a 20mm benchtop.


CHOOSE WISELY

Select cost-effective options for fixtures and finishes. A thermal-wrapped door has a similar look to two-pack polyurethane at a much cheaper price point. We also suggests tiles instead of stone as a splashback and floor tiles instead of boards. Also, consider a top-mount sink instead of an undermount – stonemasons will charge extra to install undermounts – and a back-to-wall toilet instead of an in-wall cistern, as the purchase price and installation costs are much cheaper.



TAILOR TO SUIT

A little customisation can give you luxe looks without the price tag. As a budget-saving option, we've used an existing recessed shave cabinet or you could use a cheap off-the-shelf option and then have mirrored doors custom-made for a designer feel.



STICK TO THE DESIGN

One of the single biggest ways for costs to blow out is if you change your mind mid-reno. Seemingly small changes like swapping in a different tap or bath can cost you if your plumber has already 'roughed-in' for something else. If your contractor has to redo work or do extra, he will charge you for a variation.



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