Home Remodeling - Tips for low cost remodeling
Some home remodeling projects seem quite easy when you're planning them, but when you get underway, you'll soon discover that the easiest thing of all is to underestimate the cost.
You may not turn out to be good at painting or putting up shelves, but you'll find you have a hidden talent... for overspending. This page gives some advice for saving costs on your home remodeling.
Tips for low cost home remodeling
Do It Yourself (but know when to stop). It's obvious that tackling a job on your own will save you labor costs. However, planning to do a task yourself when you lack the necessary skills is false economy. See our page on doing your own home improvement projects for a discussion of the options.
Shop around. Find out the price of the materials you want in your local store, then see if anywhere else can beat that price. Can you get the materials cheaper by going out of town, or ordering over the Internet? Remember that many end-of-line and overstock deals aren't advertised, so you have to do your own digging. The cost of the phone calls is usually repaid several times over in the amount you save.
Be prepared to compromise. Are you buying that appliance because it's the best, or because it's a brand name? Can you find an item of equal quality made by a different company? If you're serious about saving cash, you have to work out where to make savings and when it's worth spending the extra money.
Take your time. If you're in a mad rush to get things done, you usually end up spending more. Time constraints make it tempting to hire contractors and go for expensive options. Planning a realistic time budget will help you to avoid rushing.
For a really tight budget: the alternative to home remodeling
All these examples are fine for people who have a small amount of money to spend on home remodeling, but what if you have hardly any cash to spend at all? The ultra-cheap option is to give your home an alternative makeover - in other words, a good old-fashioned sprucing-up. For this to work, you need to look at the tiny details, because they all combine to create the effect. Are your houseplants looking neglected? Remove the dead leaves, wipe the plants and give them a good watering. You'd be surprised at how dusty plants get when you're not looking. Re-pot any plants that are looking cramped. Already, your house is looking a little fresher and greener.
The next step is to sort out the carpets. A dirty carpet makes a room look (and sometimes smell) unattractive, whereas a fresh, clean carpet lifts the look of a room. Not everyone can afford to replace the flooring, but will your budget stretch to hiring a steam cleaner for a deep clean? If not, you can still do plenty to make the carpet look and smell better. Buy a detergent designed for cleaning carpets and rugs, and get to work. If your carpet looks OK but smells bad, try sprinkling it with baking soda. Leave it for a few hours (preferably overnight) before running the vacuum cleaner over it.
If the walls are looking grubby but you don't have the cash to redecorate, get tester pots from your local DIY store to paint over the dirty marks. Or just buy a whole tin of the right color and keep it for future freshening sessions.
You should also take time to wipe down the woodwork. Different woods require different cleaning treatments, so make sure you choose a suitable product, or you risk damaging the surface of the wood. If you're not sure what products to use, at least make sure to dust wooden furniture with a soft cloth. Baseboards are more robust and can take tougher treatment, so clean these more thoroughly.
Finally, take a look at the windows. Dirt creeps up on windows so imperceptibly that we barely notice when it always seems to be thick fog outside. It's usually good sense to spend the money on a window cleaner for the outside of the windows, rather than risking life and limb yourself, but do the inside windows yourself with a solution of vinegar and water. Wipe down with paper towels or a soft cloth. You'll be surprised at the difference it makes.