With the credit crunch not long past and more consumers looking for ways to save money, DIY has become more than just a weekend hobby. A common question for homeowners is how to upgrade their home decorations and furnishings, while spending the least amount of money.
The simple formula for this is to shop around for the best deal, and do as much of the work as you can yourself. However, proceed with caution. Doing work that is best left to the professionals, and buying a product just because it is the cheapest, can cost you more in time and money in the long run.
Planning and organization are the first things you can do toward achieving a cheap but high-quality home renovation goal. If you do it correctly the first time, you will not need to go back and remedy costly mistakes, or worse, have hindsight reveal ways in which the job could have been completed more efficiently.
Make a list of everything that needs to be done to your home, create a budget, and research your options thoroughly. Remember to account for costs such as skip hire, so these do not creep up on you. It also helps to take the time to shop around and find the best deal. Be sure to measure your window or floor dimensions correctly before ordering curtains or carpet, to avoid spending money on more supplies than you need.
Home improvement web site homebuilding.co.uk warns that although you can save money doing some projects yourself, such as laying wood flooring or ripping out old fixtures, it is better to bring in a team of professionals to do jobs such as plastering, bricklaying, or plumbing that involves gas. However, you may be able to cut corners if you have a friend or relative who can do the work as a favor or for a reduced rate.
An article in the Daily Telegraph, which gives tips on saving money on the “home front”, recommends taking DIY classes in order to become adept at jobs that might normally be better left to the professionals, such as damp-proofing and double-glazing. The cost of the course is likely to be much less than that of bringing in a professional.
Both web sites advocate buying cheaper products that will function just well as high-ticket ones, and opting for used fittings or ex-display models. These can give the room a remarkable facelift, but come at a fraction of the cost of the equivalent bought new. However, if you buy an item that is too cheap, you are likely to pay the cost again in maintenance later. The best option is to “mix and match”: for example, buy expensive handles and knobs to dress up a cheap cabinet façade. Both web sites also recommend keeping your project simple: taking on more than you can handle is likely to cause expensive maintenance, as well as create a shabby end result.