How to Avoid Blowing Your Budget in a Renovation, According to a Magnolia Network Star

published Sep 7, 2022
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“Bargain Mansions” star Tamara Day knows a thing or two about budgeting for a major renovation. After spending several years buying her own bargain mansions and flipping them for a profit, the Magnolia Network star has begun to work with other bargain homeowners in the latest season of her show. Time and time again, she has seen one major issue in planning a massive renovation: homeowners forget to look at their house as a whole.

“I think the biggest thing is envisioning the whole footprint,” Day tells Apartment Therapy. “If you just start with one room at a time — and you’re just thinking about how it’s going to lay out for the kitchen, but you’re not thinking of the living room or the flow through to the bathroom — you’re going to get to the next room and be frustrated.”

“Don’t start with a small plan,” she adds. “Start with the overall whole plan and then only do one room at a time. That’s where your budget is.”

Day recalls one of her recent projects wherein the homeowners finished renovating their kitchen, only to realize that it didn’t have the right flow for the living room. They were forced to go back and change the kitchen again, which cost both time and money.

“It’s just so much more expensive if you don’t have a forward-thinking plan and [if you don’t] create something that’s all-encompassing,” she says. 

Even Day, who lives by a “Do-It-Yourself mentality,” acknowledges that it’s good (and necessary) to bring in professionals at various times during a renovation. A point person can be particularly handy for homeowners when they’re trying to envision the project as a whole, according to Day.

“That’s where hiring a designer really comes in helpful,” she adds. “Because even if you don’t do everything and execute immediately, you know where to start and where you’re going.”

“Bargain Mansions” airs Thursdays at 9 pm E.T. through Dec. 22 on Magnolia Network.