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Where to Invest Your Renovation Budget

With the real estate market as wild as it is right now, many homeowners are choosing to stay put and make their current homes work for them. If you're in the same boat, but aren't sure where to put your renovation energy (and let's be real, the money!), we've got some tips for you.

Our South Bay remodel, where we updated the fireplace, changed the flooring and trim throughout, and painted the entire home the same pretty shade of white. || Photo by Public 311 Design

Invest in the pre-work of an architect and designer early on. Good space planning can literally make or break a design flow of a home. Your designer will be thinking of the furniture plan and how you are going to be living in the home during the earliest phase, where as the architects may not always have that front of mind. In the best case scenario, they will work together during the design phase to make sure everything flows, is cohesive, and is in line with how you will live in the home.

Never cut corners on a contractor. A good contractor will bring in the best sub-contractors. Too many times, we have worked with a contractor brought in by a client who hires subs that don't pay attention to details or know how to install certain tile, etc., and everything ends up having to be fixed, which can prolong completion dates and become really expensive. Even a good painter will save you so many headaches down the line when things start wearing and chipping. To avoid this, get several bids and conduct interviews to make sure your contractor will have an understanding of your design so they can hire the appropriate subs. By the way, this is a big advantage of hiring a designer, we've already done the leg work and have trusted relationships in the business.

The kitchen in our Moore Drive remodel isn't huge, but the stunning (and durable!) quartz counters paired with a handmade tile backsplash really makes it sing. || Photo by Amy Bartlam

Spend more on things that are difficult to replace. We always advise investing in quality plumbing fixtures because you don't want to have to open the walls again to replace them down the road. Plumbing is the jewelry of the space and investing in good finishes, high quality, and timeless style is always a good idea. Hardscape materials like tile, countertops, and cabinets are a large part of the budget in a kitchen or bath, and for good reason. They are hard-working, and this is a place where lower cost often translates to lower quality, so spend money here for pieces that will last. In spaces that are used less often, like secondary baths or laundry rooms, you can save a little bit. In a living space, it's worth it to get a focal point like a fireplace right, as it takes up so much visual space and can be a main driver of the style of the room.

Get the biggest bang for your buck with cabinet hardware, lighting, and accessories. These smaller items can definitely add up, especially in an extensive renovation, so save here when you can. There are many accessible, well-designed items on the market these days and even the affordable pieces can make a big impact. Bold paint choices or even wallpaper can really transform a space for not a ton of money, and they are pretty easily changed down the road.

Custom details in the primary suite of our Palisades project turned the light-filled space into a true retreat. || Photo by Amy Bartlam

If you have $20k or less: Don't underestimate the power of new paint or wallpaper in your space! Add a few new furniture pieces, update smaller bathrooms, paint cabinets, change hardware and lighting. You can do a lot if you don't move things around a ton. If you have $50k or less: In a small or medium-sized home, this may be enough to for new flooring. Otherwise, this budget can cover a primary bath renovation, a small kitchen renovation, or make some pretty impactful changes in a kitchen that needs mostly cosmetic work. If you have $100k: A new kitchen, an exterior update, proper landscaping, or a primary suite renovation (hello, beautiful closet!).

If you'd like our help with your upcoming renovation, please fill out our design inquiry.


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