DIY Home Renovations on a Budget

Cardinal Financial March 13, 2023 | 4 min read
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DIY home renovations can be a lot to take on. They don’t have to be a lot for your budget, though. As you start making your DIY budget, consider our top five tips for easy, cost-effective home renovations. Who’s up for a trip to the hardware store?

Pro Tip: Saving up for renovations? Check out our best money-saving strategies here.

5 DIY home renovation budget tips

  • Make small changes first
  • Embrace the paint
  • Focus on your floors
  • Rethink your storage space
  • Demo it yourself

1. Make small changes first

The temptation to give your home a big overhaul is understandable, but you might be surprised what a significant difference small updates can make. So, before you start knocking down walls and ripping out cabinets, take inventory of small details that are easy, cost-effective swaps. This could include:

  • Replacing hardware on drawers and cabinets
  • Installing decorative switch plates over your standard light switch covers
  • Adding statement fixtures in focal lighting points like your dining room, entryway, or front porch
  • Updating your decor palette (darker tones add depth and drama, while lighter tones can help open up your space)

If small changes still aren’t doing the trick, it’s time to take it to the next level: Repainting.

2. Embrace the paint

Painting sometimes gets a bad rap for being a pain, but it’s well worth the work. To get the biggest bang for your buck, start with accents like trim, cabinets, or even a single accent wall. For best results, try these paint job tips and tricks:

  • Paint during dry weather. Humidity makes it harder for paint to dry, resulting in more drips and uneven patches.
  • Invest in the right tools. Make room in your budget for quality brushes, roller covers, and tape to save yourself a lot of frustration and do-overs.
  • Use primer. If you’re considering renovations, we’re assuming the walls aren’t in pristine shape to begin with. Before applying paint, a primer base will ensure it all goes on evenly.
  • Start at the top and work your way down. The last thing you want is paint dripping down onto the surface you thought you just finished.

While paint is a cost-effective update, you may want to avoid choosing colors that are too on-trend for your DIY home renovation. Unless, of course, you want to paint it all again in a year or two. If that’s your thing, don’t let us stop you. Otherwise, neutrals are always a safe bet.

3. Focus on your floors

Refreshing your flooring may seem like a lot of work, but it’s actually one of the more budget-friendly DIY projects out there. Plus, there are a lot of simple ways to give your floors a new look. If you’re working with a natural wood floor, try sanding it and applying a new coat of varnish. Peel and stick tiles are also an easy option, especially for smaller spaces like bathrooms and utility rooms. A fresh coat of paint can also spruce up your floors, just make sure to plan your painting schedule for a time when you can be out of the house long enough for it to dry without getting stepped on.

4. Rethink your storage space

Storage may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you remodel. After all, isn’t the point of storage to keep things out of sight, not draw attention to them? Not necessarily. Open shelving’s moment may be passing, but implementing stylish storage into your home can still involve minimal effort with a big payoff.  Some easy-to-update options include:

  • Portable kitchen islands
  • Free-standing bathroom cabinets
  • Ottomans and benches with storage
  • Stylish entryway racks
  • Headboards with built-in shelving

5. Demo it yourself

Finally, the fun part. Breaking things down requires less finesse than building, but don’t dive in without brushing up on some fundamentals of demolition. Experts recommend staying away from demo on interior spaces unless you’ve done it before. Otherwise, you risk knocking down a load-bearing wall or damaging wiring and plumbing. On the other hand, outdoor spaces like a deck or porch should be simple enough for a novice to handle.

If the DIY route isn’t for you, renovation loans can help you finance your professional home updates and your mortgage in one convenient process.

Are there any other DIY home renovation tips to know?

You’re investing more than money when you DIY. You’re also investing your time, energy, and creativity. So, before taking on a DIY project, remember that it will probably look worse before it looks better. Don’t get discouraged halfway through your renovations! The mess and inconvenience now are well worth you loving your space later (and the boosted home equity doesn’t hurt, either).

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