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11 Budget-Friendly Renovation Ideas That Will Save You Money

You’re planning on selling your home. But there’s a problem. You’ve had it valued and you’re not going to get the amount you expected from the sale. Renovation is often the answer.
Smart renovations can add a lot of value to your property. But then you face another issue. You have to find the money to invest in these renovations in the first place. A complete bathroom or kitchen renovation doesn’t come cheap.There has to be a middle ground. Happily, there’s plenty that you can do to renovate without destroying your bank account. 

Here are 11 budget-friendly renovation ideas.

Idea #1 – Replace the Front Door

Any real estate agent will tell you about the importance of curb appeal. A house that doesn’t look the part from the outside isn’t going to form a great impression for potential buyers.

You can remedy issues with the front lawn easily enough. But there’s one thing that every buyer will see when they visit – the front door.

Peeling paint and a door that looks like it’s hanging off its hinges will put buyers off instantly. It almost doesn’t matter how good the rest of the house looks. You’ve created a negative first impression that you have to battle back from.

Thankfully, it’s a simple issue to fix. Applying a new coat of paint to the door can restore its lustre. But some doors just aren’t worth saving. It only costs a few hundred dollars to replace. Importantly, you get a big boost to that all-important first impression.

Idea #2 – Try a Little Basic Landscaping

Unless your lawn is a disaster zone, it’s unlikely that you’ll need professional landscapers to fix it up. A few weeds and some cracked concrete won’t take you long to repair.

However, they can put buyers off. Remember that first impression. A garden that’s seen better days implies that you put little care into the house. Buyers will carry that impression for the rest of the viewing.

It’s worth the effort, that’s for sure. Landscaping economist John Harris says good landscaping may add as much as 28% to your home's value.

Getting your hands dirty with a little basic landscaping remedies the problem. Buy and lay concrete slabs yourself. Spend a day pulling out some weeds and make sure you keep the grass trimmed and healthy.

Building a small vegetable garden gives the house a unique flavour. It’s also not too difficult to do as it only requires a small patch of land. You can also use potted plants and flower beds to great effect.

This all requires you to put a little extra effort into the garden. However, basic landscaping doesn’t come with a heavy cost attached. It makes the house’s exterior look better and emphasises the potential that the outdoor space has.

Idea #3 – Apply a Lick of Paint to the Walls and Add Tens Of Thousands To The Value of Your Property

Time is a cruel mistress when it comes to the quality of your paintwork. Natural wear and tear leads to chipped paint that creates an unsightly visual. Paint colour also fades over time. What might have once been a lustrous coat will dull.

And that dull paintwork can have a negative impact on potential buyers.

Thankfully, you can remedy the problem with a coat of paint or two. Better yet, you don’t need professionals to come and do it for you. A few dollars spent on tins of paint and a little elbow grease is all that you need.

TV personality and renovation expert Cherie Barber make this tip her #1 pick. She’s renovated over 112 houses and says "Nothing transforms a home like a lick of paint in fresh modern colours. Paint is my number one way to add value to a property of any budget and continues to be one of the easiest, fastest and highest value drivers of a property today... This investment alone can net you a return in the tens of thousands of dollars..."

There’s a caveat to this though. A poor paint job can be as off-putting as aged paintwork. You need to take your time to ensure you stick to borders and keep everything looking slick.

Proper preparation is the key. Strip the existing paint as well as possible and find out what you need to apply your chosen colour correctly. After that, dedicate enough time to getting the job done well, rather than doing it quickly.

Idea #4 – Frame or Replace the Bathroom Mirror

Bathrooms are a prime candidate for renovation. They’re one of the key deciding factors for many homebuyers. If yours looks anything less than pristine, you’ll find yourself struggling to make a sale.

A good clean goes a long way to making your bathroom look fresh. But there are also the little details to worry about, such as the bathroom mirror. As with other areas of the house, the mirror undergoes wear and tear, particularly around the edges. A nice frame makes the mirror stand out while also hides the effects that time and constant use has on the mirror.

But what if framing isn’t an option or you have a frame that’s seen better days?

Replacement is the best option in this case. Depending on the mirror, you may need to hire a contractor to handle this for you. However, it’s far cheaper than remodelling the whole bathroom. You get a great centrepiece at a fraction of the cost of a full remodel.

Idea #5 – Take Advantage of Those Little Alcoves

Some of your rooms have small alcoves that you aren’t doing much with. They just end up as unused space that does little more than highlight the awkward shape of the room.

You can transform that space with a few shelves. Consider going for tailor-made shelves that fit the specific space. You’ll create a neat little storage area, which is always a good thing for buyers. After all, a house can never have enough storage space.

Better yet, you’ll draw positive attention to the alcove. Instead of viewing it as an inconvenience, the buyer will see that there’s potential to use it for something. Again, it’s a small touch that doesn’t break the bank.

Idea #6 – Paint Over the Dark Wood

Dark wood panelling is the relic of a bygone era. Today, it looks completely outdated and potential buyers may get put off.

This is another situation where applying a fresh coat of paint can help enormously. Coat dark panels with white paint to make them more appealing. The panels will have a brighter look that reflects the natural light that enters the room. Plus, light colours create a more expansive feeling, which can make a room seem larger than it actually is.

Idea #7 – Buy Some New Kitchen Appliances

Much like the bathroom, the kitchen is a prime area of interest for prospective buyers. However, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to remodel the entire thing.

Instead, take a look at the appliances. Old appliances give the kitchen an outdated appearance. Plus, they’re less energy efficient than modern appliances.

Consider replacing such appliances with more modern versions. For example, an American-style fridge can serve as a kitchen centrepiece that lends it a wow factor.

New appliances give the kitchen a modern look, which appeals to potential buyers. Better yet, you can take them with you if you do move home. Use them to make the kitchen look more modern than it actually is.

Idea #8 – Paint the Kitchen Cabinets

Staying in the kitchen, you may find that old wooden cabinets cause some problems. Wear and tear gives them a drab look.

Thankfully, you don’t have to replace them to achieve a more modern feel. Again, a lick of paint is all that you need to restore some lustre to the kitchen.

Spend some time sanding the cabinets before you paint them. This gets rid of any rough edges that have developed over the years. After that, apply some paint that meshes well with the appliances in the kitchen. Use this idea alongside Idea #8 to refresh the kitchen without remodelling it.

Idea #9 – Apply a New Layer of Bathroom Caulk

Ageing caulk can make a bathroom look horrendous, no matter how clean it actually is. All of those cracks and mildew gather up and there’s not a lot that you can do to clean it up. Gaps in the caulk also allow water to seep through, which makes it look even worse.

Don’t just leave it. Get rid of the old caulk and replace with a new layer. The bathroom instantly looks fresher as you’ve gotten rid of those gunky signs of use. Caulk isn’t expensive either. You’ll just need a little time and the right tools to get the job done. As with the various painting jobs on this list, it’s best to take your time to avoid mistakes.

Idea #10 – Install a Stair Runner

The stairs are usually one of the first things that a prospective buyer sees when entering your home.

They’re also one of the areas that are most vulnerable to wear and tear. Threadbare carpeting and chipped wood can make the stairs look unappealing.

A stair runner resolves that issue. Running the length of the stairs, runners are a great way to inject some colour. Plus, they distract away from the signs of ageing that might put somebody off.

Bonus Tip – Choose Suppliers Wisely

Most of these ideas focus on little things that you can do yourself to renovate a property. However, you may want to bring a contractor in to handle a larger job.

Just remember this one thing - bigger isn’t always better when it comes to suppliers. Larger companies can afford to invest in awesome marketing literature and silver-tongued salespeople.

However, all of that comes at a cost. The larger the supplier, the more likely they are to charge you a premium for renovation work.

Yet they may not do a better job than the many smaller suppliers that offer the same service.

Research is your friend here. Don’t just go for the most prominent supplier that you can find. Instead, dig a little deeper into the smaller suppliers that your research turns up. Find out what previous customers have to say about them. Check their portfolios and previous work if possible.

Remember that smaller suppliers need your business more than the larger ones. As a result, they’re more likely to offer discounts on their services. Plus, you may receive a more personalised service that better suits your needs.

The Final Word

You don’t need to undertake a massive remodelling job to renovate a home. Often, it’s a focus on the little things that will have the greatest effect. A new coat of paint here and clever use of space there can make your home seem more vibrant than ever before.

Each of these ideas provide you with a way to spruce things up without spending too heavily.

But pay attention to the bonus tip if you do decide to call a contractor in. You’ll often find better value in smaller suppliers than large companies. Proper research prevents you from spending too much.

Some new furniture can also go a long way to making your home more appealing. Check out the Luxo Living range for some other ideas that can make your house feel more like a home.

Paulo Teodoro