The pictures above are of our bathroom remodel. Just a toilet and a sink off of our kitchen area. When we talked about redoing the room, I envisioned a room redone for some crazy amount, like $20. If you look around blogland, you can see lots of pretty amazing room redos for very little money.
As we dug into the remodel – tile floor, new sink, board and batten surround, new paint (and primer under that), I realized that I was feeling disappointed with myself for not keeping costs to a super low amount.
But, the truth is that those DIY posts are a lot like Extreme Couponing – it is not that common for everyone to see the same results. And, in order for it to work, you are really limited to whatever you have on hand or can get for free. While it is great when you can make use of what you already have or something you found or were given for free, it is not realistic to expect that to always be the case. When I go grocery shopping, I typically save 40-60% by match coupons with sales, but I don’t only buy 100 bottles of Maalox. I still chose to buy the good Parmesan cheese and other things that matter to our family.
During our remodel, we did save an impressive amount of money by buying things on sale, compromising and cutting back where it made sense. For example, I had my heart set on a vessel sink, but that option with a new cabinet would have been over $500, I settled for a very nice cabinet and euro sink for $149. I also spray painted our existing light fixture, changed out the glass shades, swapped the towel rack from another bathroom and we did all the labor ourselves. I also repainted the frames that we already had used in the bathroom and borrowed a friend’s high quality camera to take some photos in Minneapolis to put into the frames.
On the other hand, we did choose to make some investments. We splurged on some special tile to work into the floor design for a higher end effect. The board and batten we decided to do in order to add character, but was more expensive than just paint. We also chose to put beadboard on the ceiling – another charming detail, but not without its cost.
If you need (or are going to) remodel anyway, there are lots of ways to save money. If you think you can remodel (even when you don’t need to) for just a few dollars, you might be disappointed. If you plan to only spend a minimal amount, you may have a very hard time achieving your goal. Just like couponing, it is best to set out with a realistic budget and rejoice when you manage to bring it in under that budget.