Custom framing, sewing, upholstering and other skilled labor can add a bundle to the bottom line. Instead, stick with stock items whenever you can: Buy off-the-shelf frames and mats, and trim non-valuable art prints to fit them. Buy standard blinds that are a bit larger than your windows and mount them outside the frames. Snap up stock cabinets and finish them with moldings for a custom look. Order that sofa in a neutral, ready-to-ship fabric and use the money you save to splurge on colorful throw pillows.
Busting the budget is everyone's biggest fear when it comes to renovation. And with good reason. Even if you follow the essential advice we've been doling out for years—build in a 20 percent cushion to cover the nasty surprises, get contractor references and check them, banish the words "while you're at it" from your vocabulary—it's hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to, even if you want to pen a check for a million bucks.
Take note of design inspirations in every facet of life. I often use these as a starting point to discuss with clients when I’m hired to help them design the interiors of their homes. Recall a hotel in which you’ve stayed or restaurant in which you’ve dined that particularly struck your fancy. Perhaps it was a minimal interior from your trip to Japan or a clubby bar in New York furnished with worn leather chairs.
Ikea cabinets are not only cheap, they’re really easy to install. This one decision saved us more than $2000. We bought our cabinets from Ikea for a total of just over $4400. This was hard for me as I really believe in supporting local businesses, but I got some quotes, and I just couldn’t pay a minimum of $2000 more for cabinets that are functionally the same.
Pedigree doesn’t necessarily mean better (whether it be art, furniture or dogs). Consider an “unknown” artist or designer and buy based on shape, comfort and how the art or furniture works for you and your needs. The most humble objects can have the most soul and be the most beautiful thing in a room. Do not be afraid to mix high and low price points. Not everything must be precious to be important. The opposite can be said with splurging on something that you really love.

The traditional painter’s method is to use tack cloths. You can buy them in packs at the paint department. To use a tack cloth, completely unfold it and loosely bunch it up. Wipe it gently over the surface to pick up dust. Shake it out frequently and re-form the bundle to use it again. When the cloth has lost its dust-grabbing ability, throw it away and get a new one.
Almost anything can serve as an accessory, and that goes for found objects and household items that cost practically nothing. Architectural corbels rescued from a salvage yard make great bookends, while seashells and driftwood collected at the shore create a lovely natural grouping. A bowl filled with crisp green apples lends a bright pop of color to just about any surface, and a stack of vintage hardbacks adds height, dimension and character to an occasional table.

Another thing to keep in mind is the cost of demolition debris removal. There are a number of disposal options available, but the most cost-efficient option for large amounts of debris is a dumpster rental. The cost to fill an entire junk removal truck with debris can be $500 or more. Alternatively, you can remove more junk with a 20 yard dumpster for $415 on average with prices as low as $262 in some areas, allowing you to free up more room in your budget for other kitchen remodeling to-dos.


Some types of wood have grain with many open pores. Oak is a good example. The pores show through finishes and are especially noticeable under paint. It’s OK to leave the grain showing, but if you want a smooth, grain-free look, you’ll have to fill the pores before painting. There are a few methods. You can apply several coats of a high-build primer, sanding between coats until the pores are filled. Or you can fill the grain with spackling as shown here. If your cabinets have a lot of curves and molded edges, filling with spackling is more difficult. When the filler dries, sand and prime as usual to finish the job.
And as long as you don’t mind the work, most homeowners can DIY the flooring installation for these options (linoleum is especially straightforward) in order to save even more. Depending on the flooring you choose, this can be one of the most involved parts of a DIY kitchen remodel. If you’re not sure where to begin, some flooring manufacturers offer workshops for DIYers where you can talk to an expert about how to tackle your project. 
Look at your countertops next. “Limited counter space is always problematic in tiny bathrooms,” Maykut says. Often, you're left with nowhere to set a cup of tea or lay down your curling iron. One creative solution for gaining space is choosing a custom countertop. While most bathroom configurations place the vanity next to the commode, Maykut suggests “extending a narrow ledge of countertop along the wall behind the toilet.” This otherwise wasted space is just right for a supply of tissues or an assortment of toiletries.
Don't bother taping windows when painting sashes—it takes a long time and paint usually ends up on the glass anyway. Go ahead and let paint get on the glass. Once it's dry, simply scrape it off with a razor blade. The paint peels off in seconds. "Just be careful to not break the paint bond between the wood and the glass," a pro cautions. "Otherwise, moisture can get on the wood and cause rot."
You probably need to consider how much you can afford to spend on your remodeling project. The more rooms you are doing the bigger the budget! It is important to set aside a little extra when doing your budget; this will help you to be ready for any unexpected expenditure. It is highly likely that there will be some. You can even use your budget as a bargaining tool; a contractor will know that you have a finite amount to spend and can tailor their work and the project to meet the budget.
We have not upgraded our kitchen light fixture. It’s on the list but we just couldn’t fit it into the budget. It’s a simple things to upgrade down the road when we have a few extra bucks and this way we can keep an eye open for a sale. The same goes for our appliances. As much as we love our almond stove (not at all), we really wanted a nice new set of stainless appliances.
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