Careful planning is the key to successful home improvements. When budgets are an issue it is even more important to think about the bigger picture. For example if you want a new kitchen sink make sure it fits the base cabinet and that it goes with the rest of your kitchen interior. Buying one without considering the impact is fatal and can easily blow a budget.
Similarly, last minute changes are a major threat to budgets. A change in the type of tile or curtain you want will increase costs of installation and materials and will be highly likely to lead to delays of weeks, if not months!
Assess Your Skills
It’s time to be honest – how would you rate your DIY skills? Do you often embark on a project only to realise that it is a tad more complicated than you first envisaged? If this sounds like you, step away and put the sledgehammer down! Home improvements should be wise investments, designed to enhance the appearance and value of your home.
Half-finished, amateur efforts will reduce your resale price and detract from the overall look of your home. They can also be potentially very expensive – knocking through that supporting wall and hitting the gas pipe will incur considerable cost and result in red faces all round.
Only do the jobs that you think you can manage and the DIY jobs that you have time for. Repainting walls, laying down laminate flooring and putting up shelves are all manageable DIY projects which can be executed with some panache. Leave the bathroom remodelling and the major rewiring projects to the experts.
Go with Your Instincts
If you want some major home improvements done and know that your DIY skills are not up to it, you must bring in an expert. Hiring a contractor can be a blessing and can be worth every penny. They can give you advice on materials and help you create the exact look for your home.
If you are thinking of hiring a contractor to undertake the work for you, you must hire someone you think is capable of the job. A sloppy contractor, with poor project management skills, will be your worst nightmare.
Go with recommendations and companies with impeccable references. Cowboys need not apply! Make sure that they understand the project that you are asking them to undertake – they should share your vision and understand the limits of your timeframe and budget. If you don’t think they understand your needs, go with your instincts and continue on in the search for someone who does. There is nothing worse than hiring a contractor who is uninterested and unsure of your end goals.
The Little Things…
If the sight of your home is starting to really disturb you and you despair at your surroundings, you need some quick fixes. Those on restricted budgets who cannot see the light of day past the mortgage repayments and council tax charges, read on!
If you feel that your home lacks synergy, put some co-ordination back into the mix by painting the walls a neutral colour. This will tone down the bright colours and add freshness to the overall look of your home. Paint is a budget’s best friend. It’s cheap and plentiful and doesn’t require an expert to apply it.
If you have a few DIY mishaps that you would rather forget, cover them up with a strategically placed plant. Get a gorgeous indoor palm or a pretty olive tree, and place it in the offending spot. This is a great solution for the cash-strapped and will act as the perfect placeholder until you have the money to rectify the damage.
Appearance is Everything
A few well-placed cushions, rugs and lamps can turn a house into a home. Don’t ever underestimate the power of accessories. A well placed rug will hide an ugly carpet or floor tile that you have been itching to replace. Similarly, replacing your lights with subtle light bulbs will give a soft look to your home and hide a multitude of sins!
One Last Piece of Advice…
Our last piece of advice? Once you have decided on your overall plans, stick to them. The one major killer for home improvement budgets is indecision. Changing plans last minute will rack up the cost.