Renovating… everyone’s talking about it. You turn on the TV and there’s a show about it on every channel. You scroll through your Instagram feed and yep, everyone is renovating! So how do people find the time, the inspiration and most importantly the money to start the process of renovating their home?
I’m going to share my top tips for succeeding with your renovation and how to do it within your budget, which is 100% the hardest part of renovating. Having renovated several houses, some a quick face lift and some literally starting from scratch again, I have learnt many things and finding ways to save money has been the most beneficial. Renovating can be an expensive exercise - but with some guidance and helpful knowledge it doesn’t have to break the bank.
NAB have a super helpful online resource called the Life Moments Hub which is literally a source for finding your way through life’s unpredictable moments - just because life is unpredictable, your finances don’t have to be.
1 - Do as much as you can yourself
You’re probably thinking, ‘easy for her to say when her partner is a builder’ and yes, that has meant that we have been able to do incredible things and some things that others couldn’t on the same budget but that doesn’t mean you that you still can’t do a lot of it yourselves. There are some incredible resources for learning skills to aid you in tackling your renovation in a DIY fashion. Use blogs, google, YouTube, the staff at Bunnings, your father in law, or your chippie friend, to gather as much knowledge as possible. And you will be surprised at how much knowledge and skill your friends and family have, so ask around and even ask for a day’s help here and there… your mates will love helping in exchange for a slab!
2 - Shop around
If you love it, don’t buy it…just yet! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of buying things on the spot because you love it…. ALWAYS shop around, as in most cases you will find that exact item somewhere else for a cheaper price. This is especially the case for interior fittings and fixtures - the main items to always shop around for are: carpet, tiles, floor coverings, light fittings and tap ware.
3 - Do your research
The most important aspect of any renovation is to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible. This is true for every single part of the renovation journey - what are you planning to do? How are you going to do it? What trades will you need? Do you need council approval? do you need plans and permits? and how long do you estimate it will take? Make a plan, plan a timeline, a schedule and LISTS before you start.
4 - Get several quotes
Always get at least three quotes for everything, especially trades and you will be amazed at the savings you can make.
5 - Be prepared
Depending on the extent of the renovation you plan to undertake try to be as prepared as possible. When you have trades coming to quote, try and have your plans mapped out as clearly as possible to ensure that you’re using everyone’s time efficiently. If you know your plumber is coming, ensure you have all your tap ware on site as neither of you want them coming back another day to finish the job because you couldn’t decide on black or chrome.
6 - Don’t get too excited and pick all the trends you see on Instagram
This saying applies for all sorts of things across your renovation! For example, if you are renovating your bathroom, do you really need 3 or 4 different tiles for the space? NO. This not only costs you more money in purchasing costs, it also costs a fortune more in tiling costs, mitering the edges of those bevelled edge, handmade, hexagon tiles you saw on Instagram means HOURS more work for your tiler, equating to an expensive bill! Before you go out shopping, know your style, pick your colour palette and don’t go over your budget.
7 - Do you really need it?
This tip is following on from the above, just because someone else has it, does it mean that you really need it? So often we see beautiful images online and want that for ourselves, but if you’re renovating on a budget sometimes it’s necessary to go without, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style, aesthetic or quality. Know your style and stick with it - you can’t go wrong. For example, a huge saving can be made in your bathroom by removing ‘the double basin’ - how often are two people both needing to use the basin at the exact same time? One basin means one set of tap ware, one basin, one mirror and a considerably cheaper plumbing bill.
8 - What can you live without for now?
If you’re nearing the end of your renovation and money is getting tight, try to only spend on the necessities and the less important things can wait until your budget is a little healthier. A few examples of ways to finish your reno without anyone else knowing it’s not 100% complete. Pendants can wait, get all your main lighting such as downlights in and bring the electrician back in a few months to fit off your pendants when you have saved enough to purchase them. Hold off on luxuries such as sheer curtains if you also have blinds. You can have the blinds installed for now and wait a little for the sheers. New furniture - you can probably live with your old furniture in your new house for a little while. I know it’s not ideal when you want to be surrounded by stunning items in the home you have slaved over, but if it’s choosing between landscaping your garden over a new couch, I would always choose having a gorgeous garden first!
This article is a NAB paid promotion and was written in collaboration with NAB. As always, all opinions are my own.