Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to home renovation, and with good reason.
Even if you follow the essential advice we've been doling out for years — build in a 10 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words "while you're at it" from your vocabulary — it's hard not to end up spending more than you want to.
We feel that the most realistic goal is to get the largest portion of your dream at a price you can afford, rather than getting the entire dream and ending up house poor with regrets that haunt you for years.
With the aid of savvy design professionals helping you with strategic design choices, material selection and timing, there are opportunities to cut costs without cutting corners.
While it takes big changes to save big money, the little things add up, too.
Increase efficiency, not size
When you need more space, the first thought is to add on. While some design solutions may actually need more square footage, many problems can be solved by reconfiguring the layout to make the space feel bigger and function better.
Additions cost by the square foot. An addition means incurring the cost of a foundation, exterior walls and roof, which means more labor, more materials and more expensive permits.
Moving interior walls and strategically reconfiguring existing space to accommodate your family functions will save money while potentially providing comparable results.
Take storage for example. Many families struggle with storage issues and think they need to add more space. Sometimes all they really need is some creative, more efficient storage options.
When you see the storage space you gain by replacing kitchen cabinets with fixed shelves with cabinets with fully-extending pullout drawers or shelves, you may change your mind about needing to expand the kitchen.
We have found smaller additions and bump-outs can dramatically change the look and feel of a home without the expensive cost of a larger addition. The key is to work with a professional architect to help you clearly define the problems and to optimize your existing space.
Do your remodel in phases
One way to save upfront costs is by doing your home remodel in phases. Many clients do one project a year working toward their dream home.
The only way this approach saves you money is by having a master plan and doing the projects in the right order. Finishing a family room in the basement this year is not wise if you are going to move a bathroom on the main floor next year. Moving plumbing may require that you tear out the beautiful, new family room ceiling. The idea of phasing a project is to save money. Don't do something in Phase 1 that you will end up having to rip out in Phase 3.
A residential architect can help you plan your home remodel and organize it into phases that make the most sense.
Construction is sequential by nature, so the phases in a project should have some basis in logic. This may require discipline, since replacing the electrical panel and sewer connection is not as much fun as picking out cabinets and flooring for your new kitchen.
However, updating and preparing the infrastructure will make the future phases go much more smoothly and save you from making costly mistakes by having to backtrack.
Time remodel for best prices
If you remodel your home in the middle of summer, you will pay premium prices for your contractor. During the peak remodeling season — the summer and between September and Christmas — contractors' rates reflect the high demand.
- Taking back family dinner: A healthy,...
- Salt Lake City has highest rate of same-sex...
- Viral photos encourage moms to 'set aside the...
- Photo of inspiring message in Oklahoma rubble...
- Fly a flag for Cody: Army confirms Utah man...
- Men experience the pains of labor through...
- Hundreds of volunteers tackle service...
- Tip for living: Book is full of tips for...
- Fly a flag for Cody: Army confirms Utah... 10
- Disney reportedly pulls new 'Brave'... 9
- French president signs gay marriage... 5
- Former middle-class moms choose new... 5
- Reactions to abortion murder verdict... 4
- Salt Lake City has highest rate of... 2
- Taking back family dinner: A healthy,... 2
- Viral photos encourage moms to 'set... 2