Home Projects

Save or Splurge? The Surprising Way To Make Renovations More Satisfying

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

When you’re planning a renovation, there’s always push and pull over what you want versus what you can afford. Do you pull the trigger and spend more than intended on some expensive tile you fell in love with, or do you stick to your guns, and your budget? Turns out that this one decision affects your overall happiness with the finished project.

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According to a survey by Empire Today on the topic of home improvement, people who stayed within their renovation budget were up to 50% more likely to be “very satisfied” with their project. (Note: The largest percentage of people who were very satisfied were people who didn’t set a budget at all — go figure.)

We can definitely see the point: Managing a project budget is stressful, especially when you’ve saved up for your renovation. Even though your dream home might have an expensive feature like a colorful La Cornue stove or a marble waterfall counter, that added expense may trigger buyer’s remorse whenever you see it. Beautiful materials or objects don’t bring happiness if they come at the expense of a blown budget.

The key is pulling back and saving in other areas — which still gets you a beloved feature — but doesn’t bring added financial stress. Then, by all means, get what you love. Because, perhaps just as importantly, coming in under budget doesn’t make you more satisfied in the end.

So, the bottom line is, don’t turn your renovation dream into a nightmare. Stick to your budget (you know, if you actually need to have one), but don’t deny yourself at absolutely every turn, when a few splurges might just make your reno more special to come home to.

(Image credit: Carina Romano)

Some other findings:

It also turns out that the goal of the renovation will also impact your overall happiness as well. Those who said that they had renovated because they wanted a “new look” were 2.5 times more likely than those planning on selling their home to be “very satisfied” with the project, according to the survey.

Furthermore, your goal also might predict just how much you spend. Those who renovated in order to sell their home spent more than any other group. However, those who wanted a “new look” for their room spent the least on average.

Empire also found that your likelihood of overspending can depend on a few other factors. Here’s what they found: