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4 Budget Hacks That Will Lower Your Renovation Cost

June 20, 2017
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Big dreams, small budget?

Everyone has lofty ideas for how their new home should look like. But what if you're on a tight budget?

A little compromise goes a long way; so, it's time to put those priorities into perspective and get practical. A complete home renovation will always cost a bomb, but you can still save a hefty sum by choosing the right, cost-saving fittings! That fancy marble flooring or expensive leather wallpaper finish? It can wait for when your wallet gets a wee bit thicker. Check out these 4 budget hacks instead, which will show you how (and where) you can save up on your home overhaul.


1. Pick The Right Flooring

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Archiplan Interior Design

Take a straw poll or ask your fellow homeowner friends and they will tell you this - flooring can be the single most expensive feature in your renovation. Per square foot, a piece of flooring might seem affordable at only a couple of RM per piece. But, a home is often hundreds of square feet or more - so, you do the math!

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Winner Space Design

If cost is a concern, avoid going for flooring options like marble, hardwood or granite, which are more expensive and are harder to maintain. For example, parquet floorings can start from RM10 per square feet, whilst natural marble tiles may cost around RM40. Plus, as they often require extra maintenance, this will cost you even more in the long term.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Box Design Studio Sdn Bhd

Opt instead for floors like strand-woven bamboo, homogeneous tiles, vinyl flooring and even concrete/cement that will stand the test of time, match with most decors, require little care and won’t break the bank. For instance, wood-effect vinyl flooring are almost half the price of parquet, starting at about RM4.5 per square foot.


2. Ditch Wallpapers and Choose Paint

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: SQFT Space Design Management

Wallpaper is undoubtedly a stylish option to dress up the walls of your home, but unfortunately it can cost a sum. This is because not only will you pay for the heavy costs of the wallpaper rolls itself, you also have to consider the installation costs as well as its removal later on. On average, wallpapers start anywhere from RM20 - 30 per foot run to the hundreds.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: SQFT Space Design Management

Still, if you have your heart set on wallpaper; choose smaller rooms or just a bedroom rather than your whole home to wallpaper. This way, you can cut down the costs and give certain parts of your home a different style.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Movent Signature Design

Choose to finish your walls with paint instead. One 5-litre can of paint costs around RM100, and is enough to fill up an one entire wall. Matte paint is the cheapest but you probably don’t realise that it is also safer and healthier to use, as it emits fewer toxins than the gloss varieties.


3. Light Up With Energy-Saving Bulbs and Fixtures

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Dot Works

Conventional lighting is often cheaper at first, but think of the electricity bills you'd rack up in the long run! Thus, it’s a good idea to ask your contractor about energy-saving bulbs that will consume less energy and help you save more on electricity.

Also, do choose low-heat emitting lightbulbs (e.g. CFLs and LEDs) as these can reduce the amount of lighting heat at home, allowing you to run the air-conditioners a little less. One more way to light up and save on energy bills is to utilise natural light as much as possible. Choose designs that keep windows bare so you can rely on sunlight right up to the evening hours, before switching on your lights.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Box Design Studio Sdn Bhd

Now when it comes to actual lighting fixtures, note that lavish chandelier lighting is definitely a luxury statement piece, but it is also a splurge. Moreover, depending on the size of your home, a big chandelier could even look overdone in petite spaces.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: M Innovative Builders

So if you are on a budget, skip the chandelier and opt for low-cost modest lighting pieces like pendant lamps and Edison bulbs that still bring style to your home while saving money.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Dot Works

One more way to save when it comes to lighting is to use table and floor lamps instead of mounted fixtures that will require a cost to install. Recessed lighting and other indented ceiling lights can be costly to install and expensive to replace later on.


4. Go For Ready-Made Kitchen Fittings

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Nevermore Design

Renovating your kitchen is often a major job in itself and can be rather costly if you plan on redoing everything! To save on kitchen projects, try to avoid the custom-made. Get modular, ready-made products for fittings like cabinetry, countertops and other storage options, which are much more affordable.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Nice Style Refurbishment

Furthermore, you’ll want to think carefully about the materials you choose for your countertops as some are definitely more expensive than others. If you are on a budget, avoid expensive materials like marble, glass, soapstone and quartz. Instead, solid-surface or laminates - which can be made to look and feel like the aforementioned materials - are a cheaper option.

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Up Creations

Lastly, a kitchen island is still in trend and can be a highly practical addition to your kitchen. Unfortunately, it’s also really expensive. What you can do if you still want an island in your kitchen is to choose a smaller, more economical design; without sinks or gas ports. Otherwise, just opt for a rollaway island.


5. Save More With These Extra Tips...

Budget Hacks

Interior Designer: Rosamund Sparks

  • Consider the timeframe needed to complete a project: Rushed jobs will often cost more, so do give your ID sufficient time to complete a project. You might also want to leave a little leeway for unexpected construction issues that almost always pop up!

  • Avoid hacking the main structures: Attempting to move load-bearing beams, rerouting pipes and breaking in new windows are hard work and will cost more. Try to work within the natural structure of your home or ask your ID for a most cost-efficient workaround.

  • Compare between interior firms: Always get multiple quotes (we can help!) before starting a renovation project; knowing what the rough figures are will help you negotiate better.


Balance the perfect design and budget.

Yes, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to renovating your dream space. Simply request for a free quote here, and we will match you up with 5 interior firms - based on your style and budget.

Want more local home ideas? Download the Qanvast app here. Save your favourite images, discover new home products or simply read up on handy renovation tips to transform yourself into the savviest homeowner in town!

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