Are There Ways to Save Money When Remodeling?

Finding ways to save money when remodeling your home is tricky, because you don’t want to compromise on quality but you also need to stick to your budget

Three places that can help you save money on a remodeling project are choosing a phased approach, where we design multiple projects and execute them one at a time, getting a team of qualified construction and home improvement professionals on board early on, and selecting different finishes late in the construction phase.

What Is a Phased Design Approach?

I have several clients who have worked with me to design a phased approach to their remodeling projects, so that they are doing only the construction they can afford now and adding smaller projects at a later time. For example, one client came with a budget for building a small cabin on a mountain property and we made sure they could easily expand it later to include features that were important to them, like an outdoor shower, but out of the budget at this time.

Keep in mind that it’s a cost savings any time you don’t have to redo items later, especially things inside the walls like electrical and plumbing. So, if you think you might want that soaking tub later on, the plumbing can be roughed in and inspected long before you might ever buy it and hire a plumber to have the tub installed. 

It’s key that we set up the design in a way that each phase can stand on its own and not get in the way of the next phase. We never want to leave you feeling like you’re living in a partially finished project when you’re done. 

I often help homeowners identify how their big projects can be split into smaller projects — almost like putting it on layaway! Thinking about things like this from the start of the project can help you to conceptualize the reality of your project and separate it in your mind’s eye from the dream version.

Are There Places to Spend Money That Actually Help You Save Money?

The best way to save money is by using an experienced architect with trusted contractors. I’m a member of the American Institute of Architects, which is what the AIA after my name means; it also means I take the practice of architecture seriously and I know that my clients are trusting me with their most valuable asset: the place they call home. 

Of course I’m biased, but other experts agree that architects actually save you precious money and time. Beyond money and time, by working with quality professionals you can also gain peace of mind during a high stress process.

Part of what I do when working with any general contractor is work together to optimize the design without taking out the elements that are more important to you. We also coordinate with the structural engineer to figure out efficiencies. This could mean an alternate means of constructing the foundation on an addition, or changing the framing to squeeze as much from the budget as possible.

What Are Features, Fixtures, and Finishes?

Features are things we have to plan for, like a bathroom with larger square footage to accommodate a tub or cathedral ceilings. Fixtures are items that go into the space, like the actual tub. Finishes can be things like wood trim on windows. Some people use finishes and fixtures interchangeably. 

While some construction costs are set, it’s generally easiest to economize on features and finishes. So, if you’re building a new bathroom, this might mean skipping the hand-painted tiles or not tiling the walls from floor to ceiling to reduce both materials and labor costs. When budgeting for remodeling projects in the Denver area, remember that small upgrades, like hardwood floors instead of laminate or carpet, can add to the budget. 

During our design and planning time, remember that certain finishes can be changed out later, so getting the basic lighting fixture now gives you time to save up for the fancy high-end fixture you dream of having.

Final Thoughts

I know how personal your home is to you; much of what to include in a remodeling project is a complex series of decisions. Thinking about what things you can wait for or if there are specific items to get a basic model of now and replace with a higher model later can both save you money in the long run. Anything that doesn’t require taking the house apart is an opportunity to find economy, especially those things that don’t require permitting or engineering, like closet systems.

Hiring the right people for your project will absolutely save you money, which is part of why I’m clear about what my process looks like and what you can expect when you work with me.