Small Budget? 7 Design Ideas That Cost Less to Renovate

November 10, 2017
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Small budget, big ideas?

Home renovation jobs can be a costly affair especially when you have big plans for your humble abode. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to pull off a major face lift - on a tight budget! All you need is a little creativity (and resourcefulness); and when done right, these 7 low-cost ideas can yield chic results with huge effect.


1. Go Minimal

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Interior Designer: Designlah

Unsurprisingly, less intricate designs don’t cost as much. We’re talking about décor styles that adapt minimalism or a version of it.

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Interior Designer: Up Creations

You can potentially save more when decorating with Japanese minimalism, Scandinavian and industrial décor in mind. These interior options prioritise clean, raw, reclaimed, reusable, and less-is-more design concepts that can be both high-quality and low-cost.

2. Go Maximal Too

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Interior Designer: ID Industries

Apart from minimalist-inspired designs, you can also choose styles that are less fussy or strict because this will allow you to style according to budget.

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Interior Designer: La Conception Hauz

In particular, eclectic and bohemian looks with their carefree, chic styles allow more flexibility for mixing low-cost pieces - such as recycled/salvaged wares or second-hand decor - with flair.

3. Say No to Carpeting

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Interior Designer: KLAAS Design & Build

Full carpeting adds homeliness and warmth to interiors but they can be rather costly. Not only do you have to buy A LOT of carpet, you’ll also have to account for the cost of installation, cleaning, and maintenance in the long run. This can hurt both your renovation budget and increase long-term expenses. If you want something softer under your feet - get loose rugs instead!

4. Choose Inexpensive Flooring Materials

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Interior Designer: Zyon Interior Design

And while we are on the topic of flooring, hardwood, natural stone, ceramics and designer marbles are seriously costly floor materials that while elegant, are ‘no-nos’ for renovations with smaller budgets.

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Interior Designer: Roomia

Instead, go bare, with stylish yet durable flooring material such as vinyl, tiles and laminate that also happen to be cost-efficient. These types of materials come in a variety of styles that can be fitted to most interiors, and some come in exceptionally realistic finishes. Go for high-quality versions, even though these may cost a little more upfront; hardwearing and resilient varieties will save you more in the long run.

5. Opt Out of Hacking Works

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Interior Designer: Spazio Design

Maintain the natural layout and avoid hacking jobs that include demolishing walls and other large (or load-bearing) structures. Changing the plan from closed to open will incur heavy expenses as these involve tearing down walls, then rebuilding again.

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Interior Designer: Designlah

This also applies to rerouting plumbing, rewiring or adding a window. In these cases, it’s best to focus on solving issues associated with the space rather than designing something completely different. In closed layouts, consider replacing hulking cabinets or try faux natural-light tubes in windowless spaces.

6. Paint vs. Wallpaper

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Interior Designer: Senterior Design

Who wins? Paint obviously, which can look just as good if not better than wallpaper at a fraction of the cost! Choose washable or low-to-medium gloss options which are slightly more expensive, but can be cleaned and maintained to last longer.

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Interior Designer: Spazio Design

We don't particularly recommend wallpapers. First, it's not the easiest to install (unless you have god-like steady hands). Otherwise, you might need to hire professional help to install them. Second, wallpaper materials are pretty costly, ranging around RM60 - RM200 depending on the finish (without adhesive and installation costs). Lastly, they are a pain to maintain in the long run - you'll have to be extra careful not to stain, scratch or tear the wallpaper. Oh wait - and if the adhesive wears off, they peel too.

7. Think Carefully About Custom Cabinetry

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Interior Designer: ID Industries

Deciding on whether to go for readymade or custom cabinets depends on you’re the type of space you are designing. For odd-angles and small spaces, choosing custom cabinets could actually be the least expensive option, as you can set a budget and choose less costly materials.

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Interior Designer: Minterior Project Sdn Bhd

However, if you are looking to fill square, L-shape or U-shape kitchens, rooms or larger spaces, going with modular or readymade cabinets is often the cheaper option. Likewise, save up on hefty design (and workmanship) fees by avoiding circular, detailed or odd-shaped carpentry, and going for simple, linear shapes instead.


Renovate Smart, Not Hard

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