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The Cost to Renovate, Part 3 – Deciding on a Budget.

How exciting! You are going to renovate. Whether it’s due to necessity, or just because you want to, it is an exciting process with an outcome that you should feel proud to show off once completed.  But it always comes down to the bottom line.  Two major questions I ask my clients when they are unsure of a budget are;

  • Is this your forever home or a stepping-stone to your forever home?
  • Is this the only update you need or want to make?


The Forever Home

Regardless of how many spaces you plan to update over time, you will be more willing to stretch your budget for your forever home. The last thing you want to end up with is buyer’s remorse.  After all, once the work is complete, you do not want to be thinking, “I would-have, should-have, could-have”.


That being said, I also act as the voice of reason when working with you on a project. However, if you’re doing the renovation on your own without a designer or a consultant to keep you in check, then you have to be your own voice of reason. Splurge on an item here and there, and the budget can quickly get out of hand.



A few forever home renovation tips;

  • Plan ahead: You’re not moving anytime soon, so if it is not a necessity, don’t rush into it. Rushing in may cause you to make too many compromises.
  • Don’t settle: Compromises are required for a renovation. Unless you have a money tree in your backyard, chances are there is a cap to what you want to spend. However, if an element doesn’t bring you joy and you feel apprehensive about it, then move on and look for the element that you like better. This should be there for 10-20 years, so you need to like it, if not love it.
  • Do the things that need to be done first and the “want’ items come after. Don’t put off the falling apart front porch because you just HAVE to have the dream bathroom.
  • Think to the future: A forever home generally involves the fact that you are going to age in it. For example, when renovating a bathroom, plan for future grab-bar instalment. In a kitchen, consider convenience items to save you from crawling around digging things out of deep cabinets. Make sure that access to the front door is accessible in all conditions. Invasive projects should also be tackled while you have income and patience.
  • Plan them for while you’re are away on holidays: Have a Project Manager take care of the chaos while you’re sitting on a beach!


The Short-Term Home

If it is not your forever home and you plan to sell within 5 years, then the budget really needs to be focused.  You need to be less personal in your choices. Focus on necessity and value and don’t get swept away with pretty things.  The last thing you should do is go overboard in effort and money to renovate things to your exact specifications, only to stick a for-sale sign on it so someone else can enjoy your dream space.  Working with a design expert or project manager like Simply Design can be especially beneficial as the voice of reason can be exceptionally important when renovating for the purpose of selling your home.


A few short-term home renovation tips:

  • Focus on value: Choose items that function well, are long lasting and timeless.
  • Be less personal: As much as I love colour and adding personal touches to a space, if you plan to sell, then keep the choices mainstream and neutral. You can add colour and personality with accessories which are much easier to switch out when it comes time to stage your home.
  • Choose your spaces wisely: Don’t renovate your basement if the back deck is rotten. Don’t spend money on a new kitchen if a facelift will do. If you have a bathroom that is in dire need of a renovation, don’t add expensive shutters to old windows on their last stretch, or quartz countertops on 10+ year old builders grade kitchen cabinets.
  • Budget and stick to it! Create a check-list of what you need. Have an allowance (a realistic allowance based on what you have seen the items priced at) and spend within it.  If you want to renovate your bathroom for under $10,000, ½ of that will be labour. So that leaves only $5000 for materials. Don’t spend $2000 on a vanity or buy an elaborate spa shower system. Remember, this is not your forever home.
  • Work with a designer: Although it carries an upfront cost, the designer will show you what you can have for your budget, help you make your space look good and keep you from getting too personally attached to it. Simply Design can often negotiate better pricing when Project Managing, thus off-setting a portion of the design and PM fee.


Whether you are renovating your forever home or a short-term home that is a stepping stone to your forever home, the key factor in deciding your budget is planning!  For help, reach out to an Interior Design Consultant or experienced renovator.  Simply Design offers Interior Design consulting packages to help you plan your renovation so you can have a space with Function and Style.  www.simplydesign.ca