Renovating on a budget


Marcus Lim, co-founder and CEO, an online marketplace where Aussies can find local service providers.

If you’re about to embark on a DIY renovation in your home, allocating the budget is probably the easy part of the job. Or so you think. It’s not till you start doing the work that you begin to notice all the extra costs involved.

Planning out the budget is not as glamorous as painting a new wall or picking the colour of your next carpet. But it is incredibly important, and should be your first step to your renovation.

To prevent overspending or running out of money, here is a short guide to budgeting for your home renovation project:

Set your Budget

Setting a budget that is flexible, without compromising your means is the secret to renovation success.

  • Set yourself a contingency plan for emergency or unexpected costs. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to set aside an additional 20% of your budget to accommodate extra costs.
  • To help your budget become more manageable, prepare a separate budget for each room or section of your home.
  • Write down what you want to achieve and renovate, and learn to prioritise what is important in your budget.
  • Ensure you include bills, mortgages and other expenses that will continue to be deducted from your account.
  • If you are hiring professionals to assist with your home renovation, ensure all quotes are in writing to assist your cost tally.

Speak to others

Speak to other professionals and DIY renovators to get an idea of what you need and what materials will work best for your home:

  • Seek practical advice from building inspectors and builders to get an idea of the costs required. You can head to forums for expert advice, like Renovate Forum.
  • Ask friends and family members what they paid for their renovation project. Don’t be tempted to keep up with the Joneses but considering how much others paid for their project can be beneficial.
  • Your budget is not set in stone yet so don’t be afraid to realign your budget with the advice of professionals.

Stick to your Budget

Budgets are crucial to a smooth home renovation but sticking to your budget requires grit, perseverance and ruthless dedication.

  • Stick to your budget by keeping a receipt of your purchases and transactions.
  • Avoid extra and unnecessary costs by keeping your plumbing and electrical features in its original place and considering which areas can be cosmetically updated or need to be structurally renovated.
  • Avoid clumsy mistakes and damages by following the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.
  • Don’t be afraid to leave certain projects up to your local professionals. For structural renovations, hiring a qualified tradie for plumbing needs can be cheaper.

Slash your Budget

Knowing when to splurge or stick to your budget is a constant challenge. Differentiating between areas where you can save and other areas you can spend a little more, can go a long way.

  • Find practical ways to invest in worthwhile improvements.
  • Improvise. Adding a shower screen rather than a curtain can make your bathroom look clearer and cleaner. Look for new carpet decor to enhance the size of your room or add a new coat of paint can change the entire mood of your room and add a distinct vibrancy.

Renovating on a budget is tough work but it is definitely doable with a little extra organisation and commitment!


About Author

Marcus Lim is the CEO and co-founder of, Australia’s fastest growing marketplace for booking local service professionals. Customers post jobs they need done, in over 200 service categories, and local businesses bid for the work. Marcus enjoys writing about the local services industry and sharing his top ideas and tips for home improvement and renovations.

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