Renovation Mistakes to Avoid: A Money-Saving Guide

Does your house feel like it lacks some oomph? Many people consider home renovations to infuse personal flair and aesthetic appeal to their living space.


However, most of the time, it’s a costly endeavour. In fact, it’s not rare for homeowners to spend thousands of dollars to get their home looking the way they want it to.


As expensive as the average renovation is, there are a few strategies that a homeowner can employ to keep their overall costs low.


These cost-cutting strategies don’t come at the cost of a worse-looking house either. In fact, it’s very possible for homeowners to enjoy a house facelift and a healthy bank account simultaneously.


Whether it’s your first time undergoing a house renovation or your fifth, there are many ways you can pad up your savings amidst a renovation process—and one crucial component of this is by avoiding renovation mistakes. 


Want to secure your savings when undergoing a house makeover? Without further ado, here are five home renovation mistakes you should avoid. 


Mistake #1: Underestimating The Power of Budgeting

It’s easy to get carried away when in the midst of a renovation project. You may have initially thought of fixing your kitchen cabinet, but before you know it, you’re switching up the backsplashes and calling contractors to install a kitchen island.


While there’s nothing inherently wrong with making these upgrades, it can be a big problem if you don’t have the funds to back it up. 


House renovations can be extremely costly, setting you back hundreds to thousands of dollars at a time. To ensure that you’re using your money wisely and not overspending, it’s critical to make a budget plan before starting and executing your project.


First, get your monthly income. Subtract that amount with your fixed monthly expenses, then your variable monthly expenses. Alternatively, you can follow the 50-30-20 budgeting rule. What’s left over is how much you can save or use for other things, such as your renovation.

By having a budget, you’re keeping yourself accountable over your expenses and not veering too far off-track. You can also use budget trackers and this calculator from Westpac to come up with data points that can shape your financial goals, such as your intended renovation. 


Mistake #2: Renovating Without A Clear Plan

The term “home renovation” can encompass several little projects: room upgrades, equipment installation, a furniture overhaul, etc.


As such, it’s important to know what exactly you wish to achieve from your intended renovation. If you want your bedroom to look nicer, define which aspect of the design you want to change exactly. The walls? The furniture? The lighting? A combination of these things?


If you’re unsure over what exactly you want to change, then you can look at image boards and magazines for some inspiration. Once you get a clear idea of what your aesthetic needs are, then you can start planning.



The overall renovation plan should be consistent with your budget or spending power. Your creative juices can flow as much as it wants during this stage, but it has to be realistic and achievable.


A plan is necessary since, just like a budget, it helps prevent you from moving the goalpost and overspending on things that are frivolous and unnecessary. It also helps you keep your design idea consistent, reducing the chance of new furnishing clashing from the theme of the room.


Mistake #3: Not Hiring to “Save Costs”

A common mistake many homeowners make is doing all the things themselves. Sure, your outward cash flow for contractors will be a clean zero, but every other category will likely financially suffer because of this decision.


Unless you’re doing a simple renovation like making a building a small coffee table or moving around furniture pieces, you’re going to benefit greatly from having a contractor help you. 


Not only do they provide expert guidance to ensure a successful renovation, but they also help you make more informed and grounded decisions on your renovation ideas. 


This is especially true for more structural and complex renovations that an amateur would not be able to pull off on their own.


There are many experts who you can choose to contact, and each bring a different set of skills to the table. 


Architects are good for ensuring that a room is structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Interior designers help you pick complementary colourways, materials, and designs. 


General contractors oversee big projects and help you manage a team of carpenters to carry out the project. 


Electricians and plumbers can help you with piping and electrical needs for specific rooms.


Regardless of who you decide to hire, having an expert on call can give you peace of mind knowing that aspects of your renovation are safe for the long haul. This, in turn, can save you a tonne in costly repair and maintenance fees over time.


Mistake #4: Buying Only Brand-New Furniture

A lot of us are drawn to new objects: brand new cars, new shoes, unopened electronics—all that jazz. In a similar vein, many of us are also drawn to brand-new home furnishing, such as appliances and furniture.


While nothing is as sparkling as brand-new objects, it’s important to recognise that there’s still charm in the rustic. 


In fact, many pre-owned and refurbished furniture offer stylistic choices that can be more fitting for your home renovation than any brand-new, mass-produced furniture out there.


You can typically find these older furniture pieces in antique shops and thrift shores. They often come at a fraction of the price, and while you may encounter more junk than not, it’s more than possible to encounter the exact piece you’re looking for if you get lucky.


Not only can you find unique pieces of furniture by scouring around non-conventional places, but you can also secure a better deal. This can save you hundreds of dollars down the line, which is nothing short of a win-win for everyone involved.


Besides secondhand furniture, you can also consider building DIY furniture from scratch. This can be a huge money-saver, especially if you’re proficient in woodworking and carpentry.


Mistake #5: Using Cheap Materials

Buying things at a cheaper price may seem like the no-brainer solution. You’re saving money, after all. However, relying on furniture made out of cheap material will only lead to disappointment in the future.


A surprise to no one, but low-cost materials are often indicative of subpar pieces of furniture. This means that they’re more likely to break down or need more frequent repairs over time.

In addition, cheap materials can also lead to potential safety hazards, like fire and leak risks. This can potentially lead to injuries in your home later down the line, which can lead to hefty healthcare costs in unfortunate cases. 


It’s important to invest in high-quality materials as often as you can. While the upfront cost is obviously more than cheaper alternatives, the running cost of repairing and replacing cheaper materials is often much more than just sticking with high-quality furniture in comparison.


If you need a lead on good-quality furniture, focus on durable materials like hardwood on flooring, Rattan and solid wood on furniture, granite on countertops, and porcelain tiles on kitchens. 


Also, stick with stainless steel appliances to reduce the risk of corrosion early on.