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The Best Guide to Cheap Renovations


Renovating your home is a fantastic way to add some excitement to your life. It’s been shown that your living conditions are directly tied to your level happiness - and your happiness is what we’re all about at Filter King.

Of course, the size of your bank account is also directly related to your level of happiness, so we should take some steps to ensure it stays as fat as possible. Planning and budgeting well ahead of time is the best way to reduce costs. Map out your exact steps for the renovation, spend a little more time shopping around and getting estimates, and make sure everything is done to professional specifications.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between having a budget and performing a renovation without the proper funds. All renovations are fairly expensive, but there are ways to reduce the cost without ending up with a botched job.

Let’s dig into some of the ways you can get a beautiful renovation going without your banker laughing at you behind your back.

How To Make Your Renovation Cheaper

One of the beautiful things about owning a home is that you are the master of its modification. Do some clever thinking, and you’re sure to find some ways to improve your home without having to sell that Jet ski you never use.

1.) Use fewer raw materials.

Many renovations are more about function than about aesthetics. This enables you to focus less on buying the nicest looking materials, and more on how it actually works.

One way to renovate your home with few materials is to focus on space division, rather than space addition. Instead of adding a new room entirely, which means adding a foundation, getting city permits, and doing expensive HVAC work, consider just dividing the current space in the house to suit your needs.


You can do this very easily with purpose-built room dividers. You can even use larger shelves to create a division between two halves of a given room.

If you absolutely must have more space, consider a screened-in porch or patio. Screens are obviously cheaper than entire walls. If you want to be closed off form the world entirely, you can use floor-to-ceiling windows instead.

Landscaping is a very common renovation, but it can be pricey. One way to reduce the ongoing cost is to use less water and fertilizer for your new lawn. Rather than putting in some lush grass, you may want to consider xeroscaping.

Xeroscaping involves designing a lawn to use as little water as possible. Instead of large patches of grass, consider planting a meadow-like arrangement of plants that are native to your area. Not only does the soil and natural rainfall provide more than enough sustenance for these plants, but they also reduce overall environmental impact and invasive species risk.

2.) Get a sledgehammer.

Yes, this is going where you think it’s going. Demolition crews can cost thousands of dollars. Sometimes, that money is better saved, or spent on the renovation itself. Getting a few basic tools and having access to a pickup truck and a dump is a great way to avoid demolition costs.


Of course, professionals are professionals for a reason. Don’t go crazy. If you hit a water main, the wrong electrical component, or a structural point, you could end up spending a HECK of a lot more on making your house livable again than you would on a pro demolition crew.

Do your research, thoroughly investigate the area of attack, and create a comprehensive plan. Go slow and be careful. If you do it right, you’ll save a lot of money. Plus, you get to smash things, and that’s always fun.

3.) Use as much garbage as possible.


No, I’m not talking about banana peels and fish skins.

As you renovate your home, you’ll probably find that you create a lot of trash. From excess supplies to obsolete fixtures, there’s going to be a pile of trash you don’t need sitting out front.

The good news is that you’re not alone in that. Almost every home renovation experiences this, and you can use that to your advantage.

Reach out to contractors and see if they have any usable trash they need gone. A lot of times, you’ll find unscratched doors, functional faucets, and hundreds of square feet of flooring that would otherwise contribute to our growing problem of pollution and floating trash. Old stuff is always cheaper than new stuff. Sometimes, it’s even free. In rare cases, a contractor might actually PAY you to take it. It’s definitely a source you’ll want to tap into.

4.) Keep your pipes where they are.

If you’re planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation, you’ll be tempted with wild thoughts echoing around your head: “What if our toilet was on the OTHER side of the sink? What if our garbage disposal was in the LAUNDRY ROOM???”


Don’t do it. Moving your plumbing around is massively expensive. It’s not impossible, and sometimes it’s necessary for the renovation, but don’t choose to move plumbing around willy-nilly. If you do, be ready for a few weeks of ramen noodles and Hulu with ads.

The reason plumbing manipulation is so expensive is that you often have to reconfigure the ground below your house in order to make it all fit and work. At best, you’ll have to dig up pipes and move tons of dirt. At worst, sewer and drainage lines will need to be shifted up or down and rebuilt, since a lot of toilets and sinks depend on sloping to move water.

5.) Avoid having a necessary renovation.

“Necessary renovation” is our polite way of saying “gigantic, time-consuming, expensive repair that you need to do because something broke.” Yeah, we usually like to be more succinct.

One of the most common reasons for a critical repair is not making necessary adjustments when the weather changes. Check out our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten something.

Another common issue that must be fixed with a huge “renovation” is structural damage. You should always be conscious of stresses on your house. It’s very, very hard to break a floor or wall. But if you do, you better find a motel.

Finally, your air conditioning system is going to be one of your largest costs of ownership in the long run, since they tend to break a lot more often than other systems. One of the best ways to keep your AC system in check is to ensure it can breathe properly.


You should be replacing your filters at least every three months. If you smoke or have a pet, it should be more frequent. Luckily, Filter King has the best, most affordable air filter delivery service on the planet. You can even set up a subscription, so you never have to worry about forgetting to change your filters.

Renovations are great, but they have to be done right. Hopefully, your next renovation will go a lot smoother and keep you out of a sketchy payday loan.

Be sure to keep checking out Filter King’s growing list of Home Improvement Guides! There’s a new one each week!