Mortgages & Home Loans Real Estate Resources How To Do a Home Makeover on a Budget Cut the cost of a remodel with these tips By Aly J. Yale Aly J. Yale Twitter Aly J. Yale is the homebuying, home loans, and mortgages expert for The Balance. With over 10 years of experience as a freelance writer and journalist, Aly has also contributed to online media outlets including Forbes, The Motley Fool, CreditCards.com, and The Simple Dollar, with areas of focus covering real estate, mortgages, and related financial topics. She holds a bachelor's of science in communication from Texas Christian University. learn about our editorial policies Updated on March 22, 2022 Reviewed by Somer G. Anderson Reviewed by Somer G. Anderson Somer G. Anderson is CPA, doctor of accounting, and an accounting and finance professor who has been working in the accounting and finance industries for more than 20 years. Her expertise covers a wide range of accounting, corporate finance, taxes, lending, and personal finance areas. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Katie Turner Fact checked by Katie Turner Katie Turner is an editor, fact checker, and proofreader. Katie gained experience at McKinsey by fact-checking content about business, finance, and economic trends. At Dotdash, she began as a fact checker for Investopedia, eventually joining both Investopedia and The Balance as a fact checker, ensuring the accuracy of information across a variety of financial topics. learn about our editorial policies Photo: Maskot / Getty Images No matter how much you loved your home when you bought it, there will surely come a time when you’re ready for a change. You might be tired of the paint color and outdated fixtures, or you might want to make the house trendier or more marketable to sell. Remodeling doesn’t come cheap, though. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, a mid-range bathroom remodel will set you back an average of $56,946, and a kitchen refresh could cost more than $26,000. If you live in a pricey area or want higher-end fixtures, the costs may be even higher. How To Reduce Your Home Makeover Costs Use the following tips to reduce expenses on some of the most common renovation tasks. DIY the Demo Contractors generally charge for removal of the old fixtures and plaster. If you don’t mind some heavy hauling and lifting—not to mention dealing with tons of dust—you can save about $600 on the demo and $200 per day for daily cleaning. If your remodel involves plumbing or electric, however, you’re likely better off leaving the demo work to a pro. Reface Instead of Replacing Cabinets If you’re happy with the location and size of your existing cabinets, you may not need to spend a bundle. Refacing cabinet doors and adding new hinges, knobs, and pulls will give your cabinets an entirely new look—and may also take a fraction of the time and hassle of installing entirely new ones from scratch. Savings: $15,000 Avoid Moving Plumbing Even if you don’t love the location of your sink, toilet, or shower, keep in mind that plumbing changes come with high costs. Water-based fixtures need to connect to pipes and drain lines behind the walls, so they inevitably come with complications—and a larger bill. Savings: $1,000-$2000 or more Buy the Fixtures Yourself Your contractor will be happy to shop for you, but that will likely cost you more in the end, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Most contractors mark up the price of materials, and you’ll likely have to pay for their time to research and travel to stores. Not only will you save on those costs if you go to stores yourself, but you’ll also have the opportunity to negotiate prices, or skip brick-and-mortar stores and look online for deals. Savings: $1,000 or more Keep the Tile Simple Complicated designs, layouts, and inlay details are charming, but add a great deal to the bottom line. Choose clean, simple subway tile or other solid-color options. If you really want a certain pattern, consider using it as an accent next to a base of the simpler tile. Another option: Limit the amount of tile you use by not tiling every wall. Savings: $1,000 or more Avoid Recessed Lighting You can add sufficient wall-mounted and ceiling-hung lights to a room for about $400, including labor, whereas recessed lighting will generally run you $800 or more. Not only does recessed lighting require additional time and labor to cut holes in the ceiling and add insulation, but the fixtures tend to be more expensive than wall-mounted options. Savings: $400 Consider Salvaged or Reclaimed Materials You can often find wood, doors, windows, fixtures, and even appliances at salvage yards or second-hand shops for a reduced price. Just make sure to carefully measure before you shop, so you can be certain that the items will fit. Savings: Unlimited Tap Your Social Network for Experts Instead of hiring a contractor right off the bat, look to your network of friends, family members, and colleagues. Do you have an electrician, carpenter, or plumber in your midst? See if they are willing to help out for free or a reduced cost. Savings: $20 (or more) per hour Keep Borrowing Costs Low If you need to borrow to cover your remodeling costs, your credit score will be a key factor in determining the interest rate on any loan. So make sure to pay your bills on time in the months leading up to your remodel. This will help you secure the lowest interest rates possible. And if you don’t have the money to do repairs, consider government-sponsored home improvement grants. You may be eligible for financial assistance based on your location, income, and the projects you plan to complete. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. IC: Remodeling. "2021 Cost vs. Value Report." Angi. "10 Easy Ways to Cut Remodeling Costs." National Kitchen and Bath Association. "Real-World Budgeting for Bathroom Remodeling." Angi. "Project Planning 101: What’s a Typical General Contractor Hourly Rate?" myFICO. "Get the Score Lenders Use To Evaluate Your Home Mortgage Loan."