Five Tips for Renovating on a Budget: Bathroom Edition

As we head further into 2023, we’ve found the price of renovating has increased more than the rate of inflation.  During the heart of the pandemic, we had a huge increase in renovating which drove material and labor prices up much quicker than normal.  That in tandem with the general inflation rate has made remodeling a sticker shock.  Before covid, 40K was more than enough to do a nice large master bathroom renovation.  Now, that budget barely gets you builders grade finishes with a reputable company.   Many homeowners are realizing the inflated prices are simply not worth the result. This year, renovating is going to be about making smart, long-term investments in your home which will mean approaching renovations very budget oriented.  We’ve come up with five tips to renovate your bathroom without blowing your budget.  

1 . Figure out your budget and be transparent with your contractor

Many homeowners are reluctant to divulge their renovation budget too early in the process. There’s a fear that a contractor will use your entire budget just because you have it rather than thinking of ways to go under your budget.  Those days are long gone.  Most clients we meet with have a budget that is about 30% under the amount they need to accomplish their vision.  Renovating in 2023 will be about finding a contractor who can marry your style with your budget.  The earlier in the process you discuss you budget, the better your design and material selection will go.  There’s no use getting invested in ideas that are not affordable. 

2 . Try to stick to standard sizes in your design and common styles in your finishes

Affordable manufacturers cut their prices by offering a limited number of finishes and producing only standard sizes. Because their selection is limited, they try to provide the most common styles that will appeal to the widest audience.  While you don’t need to select overly trendy materials, sticking with more popular styles in your region will help you avoid custom designer lines.  Similarly, designing around standard sized materials will give you the biggest selection within affordable lines.  Eclectic, unique, or less popular styles may have to take a backseat to achieve your budget.    

3 . Try to use large format tiles with simple installation patterns

A 12”x24” tile installed in a brick pattern is the least expensive installation for a tile provider. When you add in small tiles, mosaic tiles, accent lines, and custom installation patterns; you’ll see your labor costs start to creep up.  A large format tile with a simple installation pattern will not only save your budget but will also give you less grout lines and make your bathroom appear calmer and more open.   Another aspect to consider is that busy patterns will make your bathroom feel dated quickly.  Less is more when it comes to creating a timeless bathroom that holds its resale value. 

4 . Try to use prefabricated or imitation materials

When choosing things like countertops, shower doors, mirrors, and vanities; it’s best to look through the options available in prefabricated sizes over having these materials custom made to fit specific dimensions. This can save you thousands with minimal compromises to your overall design.  On the material end, choosing a porcelain, ceramic, or quartz that mimics a natural stone significantly reduces your budget over having a marble clad bathroom.

5 . Distinguish when you’re paying for quality or style

When going through the material selection process, have your design team tell you when items cost more because of their color and when they cost more because of their quality. For instance, you might pay significantly more to get a faucet in a brushed gold, stylish finish when you could get an equal quality faucet in brushed nickel or polished chrome.  Likewise, you’d pay more for a stunning print on a quartz than an equal quality quartz with a minimal pattern.  The “prettier” or more trending a pattern or finish is, the more expensive it will be.  While the point of remodeling is to make sure it’s aesthetically nice, you’ll have to pick and choose the areas where you’re willing to spend more without getting an increase in quality. 

These tips will help you come achieve your renovation budget goals.  If you work with a contractor who’s willing to steer you towards economical design and material choices without sacrificing quality; you can build a beautiful kitchen and bathroom that won’t destroy you financially.  If you’re exploring how to match your style with your budget, give us a call!  We’ll help guide you to a remodel that is both stunning and affordable!


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