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Bathroom Renovations on a budget

By Yianna Sakabetis

Tips to save on a bathroom renovation

A small bathroom can be renovated on a budget for as little as $5,000 while larger bathrooms can cost as much as $25,000 but it’s easy to go over budget if you don’t plan for the unexpected so it pays to do your homework and have contingency money just in case things don’t go to plan.

Big for budget blowouts are tradespersons and materials being more expensive than expected so do your research to avoid unintended expenses.

Here are our tips for saving money on your next bathroom renovation:

1. Engage the best tradespeople you can afford

Look for reviews online for the best tradies around in your area, as their good work will mean the bathroom will look great and be a value-adding room to the house. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and previous examples of their work and ask for a detailed quote upfront.

But avoid haggling them down to a bargain-basement price and being late with payments because, like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

It’s also important to remember that renovations can sometimes throw up unexpected surprises, especially in older buildings, so by hiring the best tradespeople you’ll know you’re in great hands no matter what happens.

2. Consider the bare minimum

Could you get by with just replacing just the tapware and vanity – or even giving the room a fresh coat of paint? Sometimes these things will make the world of difference and save you thousands on a major renovation.

3. Keep it mostly the same

Avoid moving plumbing points and consider keeping toilets, sinks or baths if they’re still in good working order. Sometimes a good clean and polish will make things look new again.

4. Pick your standout features

When you’re on a budget it pays to select just one item or area to splurge on – that way you can make it your feature and save in other places.

Love a herringbone tile feature? Go wild! But pick budget floor tiles to even out the budget.

5. Order (slightly) more than you need

It may sound counter-intuitive, but by ordering a little more than you need you’ll avoid getting stuck if there’s a mishap or if things don’t go quite to plan. Look for deals with your bathroom surfaces, but always order enough for the project plus a small contingency, just in case.

Usually between 5-10% more than required but check with your trusty tradespeople if you’re not sure.

5. Become an expert in fixtures and fittings

Order your own tapware and fixtures ahead of time to make sure they’re ready to go on the day. Waiting for items to arrive can throw off the whole schedule of trades and cost you more down the track.

Look for items on sale – or ask your trades if they know of any great discount suppliers (you could cash in on the tradies’ discount) – but ensure everything you select is covered by warranty, as it’ll cost more to replace if they break.

6. Only tile where needed

Consider your areas to be tiled carefully – you could save money by only tiling the areas necessary to keep the room waterproof as opposed to tiling the whole room up to the ceiling. Talk with an expert if you’re not sure.

7. Be open to vintage

Embrace pre-loved or second-hand items where possible – refurbished timber vanities or clawfoot baths can be simply stunning additions to a renovated bathroom.

8. Avoid DIY – unless you know your stuff

If you’re renovating to add value to the house as a whole then renovating should only be done by an expert – aside from easier jobs like painting, if that happens to be you then great! But fixing mistakes can be costly and time-consuming, so only tackle jobs you’re sure on.

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