How much money should I spend on a renovation?

If you’ve ever seen a renovation show ‒ and they’re increasingly hard to avoid ‒ you know a few things about home improvement. Basically, whenever you take on a building project, it’s going to be over-time and over-budget.


That’s not to say you shouldn’t renovate. Just accept these facts from the outset and you’ll significantly dilute your anxiety.


Typically, bathrooms and kitchens are where you’ll sink most of the money due to the complexity of fittings and plumbing. If you’re planning a renovation for the first time, read up on 5 ways to stick to your renovation budget.


Kitchen ($9,000)


In the era of open-plan living, the kitchen is the real focal point of a home. It’s where people come together, prepare food, eat, and socialise. It’s a high traffic zone and therefore needs to be resilient above all else.


The plumbing and built-in elements mean that this is the most expensive and time-consuming part of the house to renovate, along with bathrooms. Pre-fab kitchens are significantly cheaper than a custom build ‒ something to consider if costs are spiralling.


Aesthetically, you can’t go wrong with muted tones. Blacks, whites, silvers, marble ‒ these are your design cornerstones. That’s not to say you can’t add a splash of colour. Most importantly, your kitchen has to work for you. Put your storage where you need it, and take good care of your benchtop.


Bathroom ($12,000)


The bane of many a renovator’s existence. Costs can add up very quickly if you’re taking on piping and waterproofing. However, even a basic refurbishment of tiling and fixtures can be pricey.


The difference is stark between walking into a luxe bathroom and a shoddy one. It’s not even a matter of space necessarily. It’s about using that space well and settling on the right materials.


High-quality faucets and showerheads are a must. Likewise sealing all surfaces. You don’t want to get trapped in an endless loop of repairs. Lighting is also a key consideration in the bathroom. This is grooming HQ after all.


Bedrooms / living room ($6,000)


Neither of these is as technically as the kitchen or bathroom due to there being no need for plumbing or inbuilt fixtures. You just need to have a clear idea of how you want to use the space so you can factor in decorating accordingly.


An open-plan living room needs to be in tune with the kitchen to create a seamless multipurpose space. If there are no great structural changes, you’re really only looking at items for a cosmetic fit-out ‒ sofas, tables, lamps, paint and so on. The TV cabinet arrangement will be your main built-in consideration.


The trickiest part of your bedroom fit-out will be your clothes storage ‒whether you opt for traditional closets or a walk-in wardrobe. It’s worth stickybeaking at what works well in other houses. Sound insulation is also something to consider. You can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep.


Outdoor landscaping


It’s almost impossible to estimate the cost of the average backyard. If you’re installing a pool or going all out for an entertaining area, it’s a whole different ball game to rolling out some buffalo and planting a few flowers.


One thing you can’t account for is the weather. The elements have derailed plenty of renovations over the years. Outdoor landscaping is particularly fraught when it comes to rain. Anything that involves digging trenches or laying concrete needs a flexible schedule or a whole lot of luck.


Despite what TV has taught us, you can’t knock up a quality backyard setting in an afternoon. Your money will go towards paving, decks, plants and plenty of labour.


Consider a loan to help kick-off your reno project.