The 3 most expensive home renovation projects, and how to save money on them

Major home renovations don’t always require major budgets – here’s how to save a little while increasing property value

A light blue kitchen with a double stacked oven and broiler drawer
(Image credit: Searle & Taylor)

It is no secret that big home renovations come with big price tags attached to them – and often for good reason. 

Whether you are upgrading your kitchen to sell a home faster or indulging in a bathroom remodel, these big room changes require a lot of time and craftsmanship to get right and increase your property value. 

That being said, there are some simple ways to cut costs without compromising on quality. This is what the experts suggest. 

The most expensive home renovation projects

When looking to save some money on renovations, it is important you still stick to reputable contractors and use reliable materials and supplies to ensure your project doesn't go awry and end up costing you more in repairs and fixes in the long run. When cutting the budget, never cut on quality, contractors urge. 

With that in mind, this is how to save a little on your big renos. 

1. Outdoor living spaces

Patio seating area at the rear of a garden with a lawn in front

(Image credit: Future)

Not all home renovations involve your interiors. Some of the most expensive property renovations, for instance, are backyard improvements that add value, says Joe Raboine, VP of design at Belgard:

‘Investing in an outdoor living space can be quite an undertaking, in terms of both time and resources. But if you want to create a space you enjoy and will increase your home’s value, it is certainly worth the money,’ he begins. Additions such as outdoor kitchens, pools, and paved patios with built-in or covered seating areas all add appeal but pile on costs. 

‘Designing and installing a full outdoor kitchen is on the pricier side, but homeowners can partner with a contractor who will help them phase out the project if budget is a sticking point,’ Joe suggests. ‘They can suggest starting with a paver patio build-out, then adding elements like a built-in grill, kitchen accessories, and more to make a complete outdoor living space. Phasing in a project is a great way to get the outdoor living space of your dreams without compromising. If planned out well, you can add features year after year until you have created your ultimate backyard paradise.

‘Be sure to begin with a high-quality design, and check with your HOA and local municipal codes to ensure the project installation will work. Having a good plan to start from can save thousands of dollars and a lot of potential frustration.’

2. Kitchens and bathrooms

A large marble kitchen island with food and sishes on top, laid out in a casual manner

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

When we think of renovations our minds often go straight to bathroom and kitchen remodel ideas. These two rooms are famous for adding value to our property but often hit the hardest on our savings. 

While you certainly do not want to cut corners in these vital everyday spaces, there are some ways to help save a little without compromising on quality, assures Kat Christie, DIY expert and licensed contractor at Fresh Starts Registry:

‘One has to consider the triangle of economics, you can have good, fast, cheap, and you can only pick two of those things. So, for these renovations, the best way to save, in my opinion, is on materials used,’ she begins. ‘You always want to pick a reputable contractor that does good work, and there are so many options out there, like turning a dresser found on Facebook into a vanity for your bathroom. Or, going to an architectural salvage and finding cabinets there. 

‘You can also compromise on tile, material, countertop, material cabinet, material, etc. You want to consider how you use the space, because typically the cheaper the material, the less durable it will be. So, a guest bathroom may not require highly durable materials since it's often not used, but you can get a beautiful look at a low cost.’

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | View at Amazon

The Perfect Kitchen, Barbara Sallick | View at Amazon
Learn more about the fundamentals of kitchen design in this bestselling book. Find practical advice as well as hundreds of images to inspire your own remodel

3. Basement and attic conversions

Attic

(Image credit: English Blinds)

Any structural work such as basement conversions or attic conversions is another hard hitter for our wallets but can add valuable extra space and value to our properties. However, these areas are also vital to our homes' structural integrity, so you must work with reputable companies and ensure the work is done properly to avoid your property value and your funds plummeting with repairs and fixes. 

According to Jordan Woolf, contractor and founder of Huntsville Roofing Solutions, the best way to save on these spaces is to plan. ‘Converting unused space into living areas involves structural changes and additional utilities, making it an expensive project. Detailed planning helps to avoid overspending. Get multiple quotes and prioritize essential aspects of the project. Invest in reputable professionals to ensure quality workmanship and avoid costly mistakes,’ he recommends. 

Jordan Woolf
Jordan Woolf

Jordan Woolf has over a decade of industry experience and knows the unique roofing needs and challenges of Alabama homes and businesses.

FAQs

What decreases property value? 

One of the biggest causes of lowered property value is DIY projects carried out by amateurs that are either unsound or go wrong. While quick DIYs can help to quickly improve the look of a house, done incorrectly they can lead to a lot of headaches down the road, resulting in more work than they are worth. It is often better and cheaper to have a professional take on the task in the first place.  


One of the most important tips to consider before planning a remodel is whether or not you can afford to have the job done properly off the bat. If you are considering cutting coats because your budget cannot stretch to cover unexpected costs or repairs down the road, it is probably best to put the work off a little bit and work on some of the most affordable home renovation projects that will add value to a home, and come back to it when you have saved a little more or are in a more advantageous financial position. 

Waiting may be annoying, but it is far better to have patience than to have a crumbling home project ruining your home in six months. 

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.