Whether you’re doing a home renovation or building from scratch, it’s nice to be able to cut back on expenses in any construction project. Construction can get expensive, and since it’s not as easy to get a loan as it was before the housing bubble burst, chances are you’re working on a tight budget.
In the process of hiring contractors, working with an architect, and dealing with the day to day headaches of a large-scale renovation, learned some of these money-saving tips the hard way, lucked out with others, and wished that it was known a few more before we broke ground. At HP Constructions, we have the best home constructions selection to make your house a dream come true.
Kitchen construction cost-saving tips
The kitchen is often thought of as the heart of the home. It’s the place where the family often spends the most time together, particularly at mealtimes. It’s what often makes the rest of the home smell delicious, and can create a warm sense of ‘homeliness’.
When building a kitchen, it’s important to think about space-saving techniques and usability. The size of your family can easily help you determine how large your kitchen should be. If you are single or a couple, you may not need a kitchen island that can seat six people at a breakfast bar. If you’re a family of five, a pantry that is only 450mm wide may not be the best solution.
To help you save money, here are some great tips for your kitchen build:
Today, benchtops come in a wide range of colours and materials to suit every need. But, there is an opportunity to save (potentially) thousands of dollars just on the benchtop alone. Granite and stone are often the most expensive materials you can buy for your benchtop, while laminate and timber benchtops are often some of the cheapest options. You may have a particular design in mind for your kitchen, and you can still have the same look but at a fraction of the price if you’re willing to look at benchtop alternatives.
Some laminate benchtops have a similar look to granite and stone, but aren’t as heavy and are certainly not as expensive. Choosing a cheaper alternative can also save you money on potential adjustments needed for weight constrictions of heavier benchtops.
Wooden and bamboo benchtops also give a fresh, modern look to your kitchen, so make sure to look around for different materials and styles to get a good feel for what is available to you on the market.
Without a doubt, the cheapest way to build your kitchen up with cabinets is to put them in yourself. Go to any local hardware or renovator store (such as Bunnings or Masters), and take a look at the huge selection of cabinets on offer. The easiest way to include this in your build is to make accurate measurements of your space and draw it to scale. Create your cabinet spaces by drawing them in and working out which type of cupboards will go where (pantry, microwave box, oven space, cutlery draw, etc.).
There are even some online tools that can draw your space available for you, and let you play around with adding and removing different sized cupboards so you can “see” what it will look like. You will save quite a pretty penny making these yourself, but be sure to have a drill ready to save your hands and wrists from getting sore.
Cupboard doors can come in a variety of materials and colours to suit the style you’re looking for. Depending on your choice of style, some cupboard doors will be more suitable than others.
Some UV finish cupboard doors add a luxurious look to your kitchen, but can easily add an extra few hundred dollars to your spending. Choose cheaper materials for your doors, such as melamine. These doors are practical and sturdy and are of good quality. They can easily be customised, as they are available in a range of colours. Just check the order time on your colour of choice with your supplier, as some colours are less popular and may need to be ordered in specifically.
The style of your door can also reduce costs. Flat doors will be less expensive than doors that are ‘heritage’ style with indentation detailing. Think about your design and your must-have inclusions. If you must have cupboard doors with indentation detailing, try and get them in a cheaper material to save extra money. Alternatively, you may find a flat style melamine door that can provide the look you want for a cheaper price.
Bathroom construction cost-saving tips
The bathroom is usually the first place you can relax after a long working day. Having a bathroom that reminds you of a refreshing day spa is ideal, and if you can have this at a fraction of the cost, then it’s even better. You don’t need to be downgraded in style with a cheaper budget, just choose the right materials and design, and you’ll be relaxing in your 5-star bathroom in no time.
Tiles are one of the most expensive features for your bathroom. There are numerous styles of tiling that come in different sizes, styles and textures. There are tiles that average $100 per square metre, but then there are more affordable options that look just as great. Porcelain tiles are a cheaper alternative than ceramic tiles, and however, ceramic tiles are a lot more hard-wearing.
When choosing tiles for your floor, choose tiles that have a “gritty” texture to them to add a non-slip feel. Your wall tiles, however, should be smooth to the touch, so they are easier to clean, especially in shower and splash areas.
Your tiler may want to charge you extra due to the extra work for small tiles compared to the work involved with laying large tiles.
You can also save money with the amount of wall tiles you use. Instead of having the floor to ceiling tiles in your bathroom, you can choose to have the walls half tiled and the rest painted, or even have a 40/60 ratio to tiles and concrete wall space. Not only will you still have a stylish look, but you will only have to buy half the amount of tiles.
Modern design has improved over the years, allowing builders and renovators to have a little of their own style and creativity thrown into a build without looking “messy” or unfinished. Shower screens can be quite expensive, especially if you choose a custom size which requires specific glass to be cut to size.
Minimalistic designs mean you can purchase one singular screen (with no doors or handles) which acts as a splash screen to walk behind to take a shower. You do not necessarily have to have a fully enclosed shower to have a great looking bathroom. A singular shower screen can even make the bathroom look larger than what it is.
Tapware can easily eat up your budget. With luxury showerheads and fascinating taps available on the market, it’s easy to spend thousands of dollars. Check out your local bathroom stores and showroom, and look at what styles they have. They often have sales on previous year models of taps and fittings so that you may find yourself a decent bargain.
Fittings such as showerheads can be reduced in price if you choose a smaller version. You may want a square shower head and find one for $500, but then again there may be one that’s slightly smaller which may affect even a higher water rating, for half the price. Also be sure to check with your plumber where the water fittings will be, whether they’re on the wall or in the ceiling, to know which showerheads and taps to choose. Check out our extensive range of home designs at Hitch Constructions.
Living room construction cost-saving tips
There are some minor things you can do whilst building your home to help save on costs for your living room. Although there aren’t as many features to the living room as the bathroom and kitchen, there are still ways to save money.
Choosing suitable lighting not only will save you money while you’re building, but it can also save you money in the long run with reduced costs to your utility bill. Lighting should be effective in the size of your lounge room. For example, choose lights that are large enough to light the area they are intended for. Some people buy smaller lights to save money, but soon realise they are too small to light the area. Not only do they then have to buy a new light, but also pay for the electrician to visit again to install it.
Just like your lights, choose ceiling fans for their intended use/size. A small fan will likely be perfect for a small room such as a bedroom, but be hopeless in a large living room. There are some quite pricey options when it comes to ceiling fans, but choose one with features that you need and don’t be caught up in all the ‘shiny new features’ of the other fans that are a couple of hundred dollars more. If you don’t really need a remote control for your fan, don’t get one. These small savings will add up immensely in the long run.
Depending on what flooring you want to choose, there are many options to suit your budget. This decision will also depend on what kind of use your living room will get. Some people with allergies will only opt for wooden, tiled or concrete floors, but others would argue that carpet is a better option as it “holds” the dust and allergens, meaning it is not free-floating in the air of your home. Whichever way you choose to go, there is the flooring for every budget. If you choose carpet, you should spend a little more and buy 100% wool carpet, as it lasts a lot longer, is durable, and is better for allergy sufferers. Although it is a little more expensive than other materials, you may find that it will last almost twice as long than other carpets.
If instead, you choose to go with wooden flooring, there is the great option of “click-clack” style, floating floorboards. Not only do they look stylish, but they also look just like conventional wooden flooring and are a fraction of the price. To go even cheaper once again, vinyl flooring is a great option. It looks great, and decent vinyl that is installed correctly can last many years without any issues. Alternatively, a concrete floor could be the perfect choice for your living room. Concrete flooring is a durable option that is designed to stand up to the wear and tear of everyday life. Decorative concrete can provide an artistic and functional feature for your room without costing the earth, so is well worth exploring.
Something that is often not thought of when building and designing a home is your electrical outlets. If you’re a tech-savvy family, you may want to invest in the installation of extra power points throughout the home, in particular the living room. The living room is often the hub of electrical goodies.
Just at the television system, you may also have a pay-TV subscription box, DVD player and possibly even a gaming console (or two!). Instead of having a potential fire hazard on your hands’ thanks to numerous powerboards, get the electrician in charge of your design to install some extra power outlets. The electrician may charge a little extra, but you may notice a reduction in your power bills (as you can easily turn off individual switches as needed), and your home electrics will be a lot safer.
Bedroom construction cost-saving tips
There aren’t many features in the bedroom, but that doesn’t mean there’s no more money to save. The bedroom is one room you will generally spend a lot of time in, so it needs to be comfortable, accessible, and suitable to your needs. Looking for the best home constructions? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has the ultimate list of home designs for you to choose from.
Here are some great ways to save some money when designing and building the bedrooms:
Most houses these days have built-in wardrobes, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Depending on the use of the bedroom, you can forget about adding a built-in wardrobe if you don’t think you will be using it. For example, if one bedroom will be used as an office, you may not need a wardrobe in that room as you will likely have bookshelves and filing cabinets to store your goods in. Depending on the use of the room, choose to install the wardrobes (or not).
If you do decide to install a built-in wardrobe, consider saving a little bit of money by installing the shelving yourself. The builder can easily install the frame and doors for the wardrobe, but the shelving within can be your own canvas. Home renovator stores have plenty of space-saving shelving and contraptions to use for within a wardrobe.
You can easily design a wardrobe to your needs, so you can design this hidden space to be just the way you want it. For example, if you have a shoe fetish, there are specific shoe holders that are designed to be stored and made to be compacted to create extra room for more items.
Designing your own wardrobe is also a great way to leave your personal touch in a bedroom.
As mentioned in the flooring section of the living room, you can save money on your choice of flooring in the bedroom. Some people opt to have vinyl, tiles, concrete or floating floorboards throughout the whole home and have carpet reserved for the bedrooms. Again, be sure to choose carpet material that is the best option for you and your family.
There is also carpet on the market that is specifically approved by the Asthma Council of Australia, so it is definitely worth researching and discussing with your family what kind of flooring is necessary for the bedroom.
Depending on who you are dealing with, you may be convinced that top-range double-glazed windows and french doors are your only option. Although this may be true in areas of Australia that experience extreme temperatures or are in areas that are particularly noisy outside, it is best to decide on what you truly need. Standard sized windows look just as great as floor to ceiling French doors if they’re decorated well. You may feel like you want fancy bi-fold doors instead of a wall for your bedroom, but is it necessary?
Choose windows that are appropriate for the room. A room such as a bedroom only needs a standard-sized window to add some light, but prevent prying eyes from viewing inside. The money you save on your window sizes and materials now can give you a little more freedom when it comes to decorating and furnishing the home later.
Garage/driveway construction cost-saving tips
A grand entrance comes at a grand price. Your driveway can add some great street appeal to your new build, but you need to consider once again what features you simply cannot live without and what features are extras, but are still wanted if the budget allows it. Garage’s are often an important feature for a property and are especially needed where there are one or more vehicles in the family.
Garage or Carport?
Do you really need a garage? Building a carport is often substantially cheaper than building a garage, but this is only an option for those who don’t necessarily need a garage. A carport that is built well will still offer protection for your vehicle in the weather and will save you a lot of money. However, it will never provide as much protection as a garage, so keep in mind your area’s weather when deciding.
Depending on the size of the space you have for a carport or garage, you can often build it to a size that is large enough for two cars with ease.
Size does matter
If you definitely need a garage, do you really need one large enough for three cars? Will a single or double be just enough? Adding a single car garage is a great way to ensure you do not hold onto items that you don’t need. If you are strapped for space, invest in a single car garage and perhaps a garden shed big enough to store your gardening tools and those Christmas decorations you only ever see once a year.
An old, cracked driveway is the first thing that will age your property unnecessarily. Having a safe, stable surface for cars to drive up the garage is essential for every homeowner that has a car.
New driveways can be expensive, but they are an essential part of any home construction project.
Concrete is a popular option, as it can be moulded into many different styles and designs. Additionally, you can create stylised looks with colours, stencils, and flakes to complement the rest of your home.
Pavers are another driveway option; however, you must be careful to get durable pavers that won’t crack under the weight of the car. Also, they can be quite expensive and time-consuming to lay, so be aware of your budget when choosing this option.
Pebbles are a third driveway material alternative, however not as popular today as they once were. They tend to be more high maintenance than other driveway materials, as the pebbles will need to be topped up as some are washed/blown away.
A great way to use the space you have more effectively is to build your home so that you have access to basement storage, which can include your garage. Not only will you create more space for your car/s and other items, but you can also be sure that your belongings stored in the basement will be quite safe.
Although installing a basement may be a little pricier, you may find that the money you save on having to build a garage, carport or extra garden shed will be worth it. Having the opportunity to build a basement also depends on the land you have purchased, so be sure to have these kinds of details marked out and approved before buying the land (if possible).
The costs involved with building a home can blow out. Often the problem is what builders call ‘site costs’, which are not generally included in advertised display home prices. Building on sloping, rocky or unstable sites can require additional piers, stronger slabs, retaining walls and additional drainage. Removing large trees can also be costly.
As for the home itself, costs will be affected by the size of the project, the complexity of the build, the level of finishes specified and who needs to be involved in the build. The bigger the house, obviously, the more expensive it will be. Not all rooms cost the same, either: a bedroom is cheaper per square metre than a kitchen, which requires plumbing, cabinetry and appliances.