Home renovations come with a lot of hard questions. Starting out, it is easy to be overly optimistic about budgets, but once you are into a project, reality can catch up quickly. The minor cosmetic changes that were supposed to cost a couple of thousand dollars at most? They revealed more serious structural problems, and now you need to reconfigure the entire renovation to take that into account. The contractor’s estimate on how long it would take to get that retrofit done? It was off by a few weeks, and now you’re left holding a much larger bill than you had anticipated.
With so much uncertainty built into home renovations, it is no surprise that only one in five manages to come in under budget. Anyone with experience in home renovations will advise you to build some padding into your budget (perhaps 10-15%) to offset the likelihood that unforeseen complications will drive up costs. But that isn’t much help if the renovation is already underway, and no amount of padding can save you if the renovation uncovers something truly messy. So how can you create flexibility within your renovation should costs start to rise mid-way?
In-home renovations, a surprising amount of money can go into custom flourishes that seem worth it in the planning stage but come to look like a real financial headache later on. If you are in a situation where you are looking for ways to reduce costs, this should be the first thing you consider adjusting. If you want that custom cabinet look but you are no longer sure you can afford it, opting to install used kitchen cabinets is one of the most effective ways to reduce expenses without compromising your vision for your dream home. New cabinets can be quite costly, but homeowners who are replacing their cabinets are often willing to sell for a fraction of the purchasing price.
Finding used cabinets can seem like a lot of work, but it is actually quite easy to find a variety of different options at a wide range of prices using online classified sites. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to find antique pieces from old homes that are being retrofitted, which is a great way to save serious money while still getting the best possible quality.
Another ‘trick’ that contractors sometimes use to give old kitchens a new look is to just replace the cabinets doors while leaving the frames. Assuming the old cabinets are structurally sound, replacing the doors can save a lot of time and money. It also allows you to avoid a potentially expensive demolition process that will leave you with a large amount of waste-wood that you will then need to pay to get rid of.
When considering used cabinets, it is important to bear in mind that the most important feature is the wood itself. Even if used cabinet doors look roughly used, if they are made out of a solid, durable wood (oak, maple, hickory, or walnut, for example) they can easily be sanded down, re-varnished, and made to look good as new. In addition to regular wear, used cabinets may have practical issues like missing handles or broken hinges, but these can be much more affordable to replace than purchasing a new set of cabinets would be, and there are plenty of appealing retro options available at antique shops, flea markets, thrift stores, or via online classifieds. Re-finishing furniture is neither difficult nor expensive, and if you want to save even more money you can probably manage the job yourself — and doing so gives you the opportunity to ensure that the new cabinets fit in with your desired color scheme for the kitchen while adding an authentic antique touch.
Renovations can place a huge amount of stress on your relationship and your finances, and this is often exacerbated by the fact that all of the work is happening in your home, which means you can’t get away from it. If things don’t go as planned it can cast a shadow over just about every aspect of your life, which is why it is important to build some flexibility into the process. Don’t feel that you need to stick rigidly to your original plan, and if the problems start to feel overwhelming, look for the parts of the renovation that you can change to take pressure off elsewhere. Not only will it help you save some money, it will also help save your sanity!