Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugal Redecorating Tips

The odds that your living space is going to meet all of your expectations right off the bat is pretty slim. There’s a much better chance that you’re going to find a home that’s close to what you want but could do with a few upgrades (both functional and aesthetic). For this reason, you will likely be tempted to start renovations right off the bat. But if you’re like most people, you have bills to pay and plenty of other demands on your monetary assets. So if you want to redecorate, you’re going to have to find ways to save money. Here are just a few tips to help you move ahead with your plans, even if you don’t have a lot of dough to play with.

Make a budget. This is the number one most important tip for saving money on redecorating. If you don’t sit down and figure out what you can afford to spend, you can easily find yourself in debt following extensive (or even small) renovation projects.

Consider returns. This won’t technically save you money at the outset of your project, but by determining where you’re going to make money back (generally, bathroom and kitchen upgrades show the best return on investment), you can prioritize your spending and increase your profits when you decide to sell your home, thus recouping some of the expense.

DIY. Finding projects that you can tackle on your own could save you a huge amount of money on redecorating your home. By cutting out the cost of labor, you could hang onto as much as half of your money (or more), meaning you can throw in a new kitchen sink after you install the tile counter and backsplash on your own.

Shop online. Never buy retail! Brick-and-mortar stores have the overhead of a lease, utilities, and a staff to pay for, and the cost gets passed on to you. So visit stores to get an idea of what you want, then find the same items (or similar) online for a lot less.
Look for reclaimed. By sifting through ads on Craig’s List, visiting local thrift stores, and seeking out businesses that deal in reclaimed items (furniture, flooring, cabinets, etc.) you can secure a huge savings over new. In some cases, you may find items that are even nicer than what you were looking for and at less cost.

Get referrals. When it comes to labor, don’t just go with anyone. Talk to friends and ask merchants for referrals to contractors, then get as many estimates as you can. And don’t just go with the cheapest one. Find someone you like and see if they’ll engage in competitive pricing.
Learn to haggle. Your best resource for getting a great price is your aptitude for talking others down. You may not have too much luck at chain stores, but independent retailers are often willing to lower their prices in order to secure your business. Most people won’t haggle because they feel like businesses are charging a fair price. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s their job to make as much money as they can, and to that end they will mark up items in their store by a huge margin (how do you think they’re able to slash the prices during sales?). As a consumer, it’s your job to look out for your own welfare and obtain the best price, so learn to haggle if you want to get a bargain.

Kyle Simpson writes for Inlaid Woodcraft where you can find the finest quality wood inlay and marquetry designs.
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