6 Ways to Do High-End Renovations on a Low-End Budget

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You’re starting a home renovation project and have realized you have a problem—you have high-end tastes, but a low-end budget. It’s hard not to be dazzled by the gorgeous home renovations in magazines and on television, only to find that many of the elements are beyond your (and most people’s) means. Don’t lose hope—getting the aesthetic you want is still possible, it just takes a little more creativity and research when you don’t have unlimited funds.

One big part of smart remodeling is to choose the renovations that will have the biggest impact and bring the best return on investment. Beyond fixing basic structural issues like a leaky roof or broken furnace, the kitchen and bathroom are the best places to spend. Here are six remodeling hacks that will help you get a high-end look for less in the kitchen and bathroom.


The average kitchen renovation cost is about $20,000, but estimates vary greatly depending on the layout, materials, and labor costs. For example, the flooring costs for a 125 square foot kitchen are between $1,100 for an entry-level product and $6,500 for high-end materials. If you have the money to spend, the kitchen is one of the best places to do it. You could see an 80 percent return investment for a basic remodel, and a 65 percent return on a major renovation. Check out these three ways to save without sacrificing quality.

  1. Save on kitchen cabinets.If your cabinets are in good shape, but in need of an update, have them painted and just update the hardware. If you want to replace the cabinets, buy stock cabinets instead of custom. There are lots of great pre-fab options that you can customize and the cost difference is enormous, with custom cabinets costing at least double the price.
  2. Use look-alike countertop materials.Tempered glass countertops give a kitchen a light, modern feeling, but also come with a steep price tag. Instead of glass, opt for a very similar and much more affordable Chroma countertop, made of recycled acrylic. Similarly, butcher block will give your kitchen a warm, farmhouse look and is a great alternative to much pricier reclaimed wood countertops.
  3. Forgo pro-style appliances.Unless you absolutely need a professional style appliance suite, which is not the case for most home cooks, opt instead for a good model from a big brand. A full pro kitchen set can cost between $15,000-20,000, while you can spend less than a third of that price for a great performing suite from a non-professional grade brand.


An average bathroom remodel costs about $9,000, but the bathroom is another place to spend your renovation budget, because you’ll often see a great return on your investment. In fact, in some areas (ex. Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, and San Diego), a remodeled bathroom brought in more than a 100 percent of the cost, and sometimes more than 150 percent, at resale, according to HGTV.com. Here are three ways to keep your bathroom budget low and still love the results (and see a great return).

  1. Keep the layout in place. Changing the layout of your toilet or bathtub means you’ll need to relocate plumbing, and that is an expensive endeavor—about $5,000. If you can keep your existing pipes, you’ll be able to do so much more with your budget.
  2. Use wood instead of tile.A fully tiled bathroom is an expensive bathroom. Instead of tile, create a warm, high-end feel with beadboard or wood panels.
  3. Buy stone remnants.If you’ve been dreaming of a stone countertop like granite, marble or quartz in your bathroom, you can often find bathroom-sized remnantsat a fraction of the price. Granite can cost between $50-$200 per square foot, while a remnant can go for much less. You’ll have to shop around at countertop companies to find a remnant that fits your needs, but the savings will be worth it.

2 thoughts on “6 Ways to Do High-End Renovations on a Low-End Budget

  1. My advice would be that unless you are planning to sell in the next few years, worry about making yourself happy and not potential buyers. I put vinyl floors in my bathrooms a couple of years ago and I LOVE them. They are easy to clean, look like wood, and are warm under my feet. I put vinyl in my kitchen 18 years ago despite warnings that ceramic tile was more durable. It looks fine, except where the light fixture fell on it (and that probably would have broken a ceramic tile, I have a small ding in the vinyl). Again, it is warm under my feet, easy to clean and durable.

    Also really think about how something will work in real life. Those open-shelf kitchens in decorating magazines look great. Of course they were syled just prior to the photo shoot. Think about whether you really want to clean kitchen grease and dust off everything before you use it. Think about whether your open shelves will ever look styled, or whether they will just look junky.
    RAnn recently posted…Book Review: Smart Couples Finish RichMy Profile

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