Creating a budget is one of the most critical steps when planning any home improvement project. It doesn’t have to be complicated; as long as you know what you want to accomplish with the project and how much you’re willing to spend, you can create a basic budget that will help you stay on track throughout the project. Here are some other questions to consider when budgeting for a home improvement project.
What improvement adds the most value to a home?
There are two main types of improvements that you can make to your home: functional and aesthetic improvements. Functional improvements tend to improve the overall functionality of your home, while aesthetic improvements add curb appeal and improve the overall appearance of your home. When choosing the type of improvement you want to make, you should consider what benefits these changes will bring to your home and how much money they cost. There is a rule of thumb, for example, that when deciding on a budget for a new kitchen, you should spend 5% of the overall value of your home. Spend more and you risk not getting the money back. Spend less and you may not be adding any value.
For functional improvements, the best advice I can give anyone is to start by re-evaluating your home’s layout. Identify unused spaces or rooms and re-work the plan, so it all pulls together. You might find that simply reconfiguring the existing layout would be a better solution to extending.
If you plan to extend, pay careful attention to the proportions of your home and garden. Building an extension might mean you lose valuable garden space, or you might find that the original front room becomes redundant. And don’t be afraid to knock a few walls and sacrifice some rooms. Future buyers will be more interested in the amount of usable space rather than the number of rooms in a house.
How to renovate my house on a small budget
When budgeting for a home improvement project, getting the right advice can make all the difference. Even if you’re working with a limited budget, getting some expert advice is worthwhile. An architect, for example, will advise clients where best to invest in their homes and will always endeavour to recommend ways to save money and keep the job within budget. This doesn’t have to be a costly exercise. Most architects will offer hourly consultations, for example. You could also consult a contractor to get a guide price on what you are planning to do.
Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start working out your budget. Try to be as realistic as possible regarding the cost of materials and labour. If you plan to do most of the work yourself, consider the cost of your time and make sure that it is included in the overall budget. A good contractor can help you choose materials that will save you money and guide you on how best to work with your space to get the best value for money.
Shop around for the best deals on everything from tiles to taps to windows and doors. You’ll be surprised how a little legwork can save you money. Reuse fixtures and materials wherever possible. Sanitaryware, appliances and kitchen cabinets are just some of the items that can be successfully reused in a home improvement. Speak with your contractor about how best to protect anything you intend to keep while the work is taking place.
What can I upgrade in my home?
Upgrading your home doesn’t have to be expensive. Even small changes can significantly affect how your home looks and feels. Insulating your attic or installing double or triple-glazed windows can add value to your home at a relatively low cost. Insulating your attic and upgrading your windows will also save you a lot of money in the long term by reducing your energy bills.
Making improvements to your bathroom or kitchen is also a worthwhile investment. These aesthetic improvements will enhance your enjoyment of your home and make it more valuable by increasing its resale value.
Painting is a cost-effective and easy way to give any home a new lease of life. When choosing your colour palette, it’s best to limit your selection to 3 – 4 colours for your base tones. Then you can build on this with accent colours in accessories and artwork. 3-4 shades might not sound like a lot, but if you use too many colours, your home will start to look cluttered and you’ll lose the flow between rooms.
How do you modernise an old house?
If you live in an old house, there are several ways you can modernise it without losing its character. Changing your windows is a great place to start if you want to modernise your house without making any significant structural changes. Replacing your old windows with more contemporary double or triple-glazed windows will give your home a whole new look as well as make your home more comfortable. Choosing high-performing windows will also help to reduce your heating costs.
Your front door is another vital part of your home’s appearance. You should consider replacing it if it is old or damaged. A fresh coat of paint is a great way to give an old house a new look. When painting an older or period home, choosing paint colours complimenting the architectural style is important.
Finally, set aside a contingency fund. You never know what will come up when renovating an older home. For example, you may encounter unexpected electrical or structural problems that require repairs before you can finish your project. Including a contingency fund in your budget will mean you have some extra money available to cover these unexpected expenses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Senator’s Expert Design Consultant
This blog post is sponsored, but the views expressed by the author are her own.