When to splurge and when to save on home renovations

Thinking of a few home upgrades or fresh renovations? It can be difficult to know which projects are worth a little extra dough and when you should tighten those purse strings. 

So whether you are re-doing your bathroom or want to add in new flooring, we got the inside scoop from Dan DiClerico, the home expert at HomeAdvisor, for which upgrades you should splurge on and when you can save a little extra money.

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Home renovation: When to splurge

Long-lasting paint

Cheap paint goes on thin and is prone to fading, staining and other flaws that make for an eyesore. You don’t always have to blow your budget on crazy-expensive designer paint, but it’s worth investing in high-quality paint that can withstand scrubbing, fading and mildew for many years.

Natural wood floors

While installing wood floors might cost 3x more than vinyl or linoleum, the warmth and beauty of wood floors is without comparison. They can also be refinished several times, meaning they’ll probably be only floors you’ll ever have to install. They significantly increase a home’s value too so if you decide to sell, you’ll recoup the cost.

Cabinets you can count on

Spend more on things you interact with every day, because a door that’s falling off its hinge after just a few months will fill you with all kinds of remodeler’s remorse. While custom cabinets are pricey, you can find solid construction in reasonable semi-stock cabinets.

Hard-wearing countertops

Countertops take a ton of abuse and they’re a focal point of the kitchen. Spend more on a material that combines beauty and durability, like natural stones like granite and marble. In recent years, quartz has also emerged as a popular material because it looks great and wears incredibly well, without the periodic sealing required with many natural stones.

Professional design

Don’t underestimate the value of a good designer, especially on bigger projects like a kitchen or bath renovation. If you’re knocking down walls and putting in new mechanicals, an architect will be required for a fee of 10-20% of overall project cost. If you just need help choosing fixtures and materials, a certified kitchen and bath designer will fit the bill for about half as much as an architect.

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After consulting with architects, repairmen and contractors, Dan was able to share with us all of the best moves you can make when renovating your home. Check out where to spend above and where to save below!

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Home renovation: When to save
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Home renovation: When to save

Appliances 

A suite of high-end appliances -- fridge, range, dishwasher -- might run $20,000, but you can get similar looks and performance by choosing a cabinet-depth refrigerator, slide-in range, and traditional dishwasher for as little as $5,000.

Bathroom tile

Designer tile made of natural stone or glass is certainly striking, but an affordable ceramic tile can deliver an elegant look for a fraction of the cost and is often much easier to maintain.

Light fixtures

Lighting is another category that can quickly get over-the-top, with sculptural designs and luxury finishes. If you’re on a budget, pass on the glam and instead make sure the overall lighting plan is noteworthy, with ample layers of natural, ambient, task, and accent lighting.

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