7 Money-Saving Lessons I've Learned from Renovating Homes

7 Money-Saving Lessons I've Learned from Renovating Homes

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Cathy Poshusta
Oct 6, 2016
(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

Saving money on a remodel is easier said than done. There's a delicate balance between time, money, and quality, and you rarely get all three. But over the years, my husband and I have developed a few tried and true methods for reducing the budget while not sacrificing on quality. Here are 7 money-saving strategies to implement on your next remodel.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

1. Update existing materials instead of replacing them. Whenever possible, my husband and I refinish original hardwood floors, paint existing cabinets, and give bathroom sinks a good scrubbing instead of replacing them. Keeping original materials saves money, maintains the integrity and charm of your home, and cuts down on landfill waste. A win-win-win.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

During the renovation of our Dexter House, we toyed with the idea of gutting the main bathroom, but opted instead for a budget-friendly refresh. We swapped out the sink, but kept the floors, walls, tiles, and tub. The total budget for this bathroom revamp was less than $1,000.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

2. Do the work yourself. Okay, so it's pretty obvious that if you DIY a renovation, you'll save money. But this tip is not without it's caveats. You most definitely won't save time doing the work yourself. And delays to the schedule usually mean more money, one way or another. My husband and I combat DIY-related delays by calling for backup. Friends and family are often happy to help and the work moves along much faster with more hands.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

3. Bang for your buck. To keep remodels inexpensive, I like to focus our dollars on the finishes with the biggest impact. I offset these larger expenses, by using budget hardware, existing floors, butcher block countertops, and stock cabinets. I don't always stick to this equation, but it's a good rule of thumb for budget-friendly renovations.

"Over the years I've learned to splurge on sconce lighting, appliances, higher-quality paint, and tiles." — Cathy Poshusta

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

4. Salvage, Craigslist, and then salvage some more! Salvage shops and Craigslist are my go-to resources for home renovations. Over the years, we've salvaged everything from bathtubs to kitchen cabinets and reclaimed wood. These finishes have helped us keep the budget in check and as a perk, they bring a big dose of personality to the space.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

5. Buy appliances at scratch and dent sales. My husband and I are frequent shoppers at the local scratch and dent sale. We've bought everything from ranges to washers to pretty much every other appliance you can think of there. Everything we've purchased has looked amazing (despite one or two scratches) and was priced even more amazingly. Like that one time we got a BlueStar range in perfect condition for under $2,000 — a good half of what it retails for.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

6. Paint is a miracle! It's the fastest, least-expensive, and most-impactful thing you can do to a space. During a recent 7-day-long kitchen renovation, we painted stock cabinets in a two-tone scheme, and it completely transformed the cabinets. I credit the $150 we spent on paint for turning a "good" kitchen into a custom looking beauty.

(Image credit: Cathy Poshusta)

7. Use quality, timeless materials. Renovating once is a whole lot cheaper than renovating twice. So we stick to finishes that are durable and classic and will outlast the current trends. There's nothing worse than hating a new kitchen just a few years after you completed it. Or worse yet, having a cabinet door break only months after installing it. So my rule of thumb is anything permanently installed should be high-quality and classic and save the trends for accents and décor.

What about you? Do you have any tried and true money saving strategies for remodeling?

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