Home Remodel: Where to Save and Splurge

As you can tell from this blog, I have remodeled just about every room in my house—from installing hardwood floors, to new kitchen countertops, to building a custom bathroom vanity, I’ve done it all! Over the years, I have learned some lessons on what is worth spending the extra money, and where you can save some cash!


Real Wood: The amazing thing about real wood is that it can be sanded down and transformed over and over. Whether it’s a 100 year old wood floor, vintage furniture, or real wood cabinetry. High quality materials will last decades. You have to be smart about finishes—things like dark stain or paint can be near impossible to remove, but keeping things will allow your quality materials to last.

I will never forget how my bathroom medicine cabinet was made of a cheap laminate wood that looked great when I first bought my house. Within a few years, it had to be removed and thrown out. It only lasted a couple of years. The solid birch cabinets in my kitchen have been there since 1960. I recently sanded them down and they look brand new again!

Quality Counter Tops: Counter tops made of materials like quartz or granite are worth the extra cost. Counter tops are often in high traffic and high moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens, which have a lot of wear and tear on materials. Again, seeking a more classic look like a white or subtle marble look will be in style for years to come.

Since my kitchen has a retro inspired look, I went with a quartz marble look with rolled edges. It was one of my biggest home-improvement splurges, but it modernized my kitchen and is a quality that will last.

Classic Furniture: The story with furniture is the same—if you want to spurge on furniture pieces, look for classic styles that won’t look out of place in a year or two. Look for quality materials like real wood, or washable slipcovers so that they can be repaired or cleaned as needed.


Paint: One way I have saved a lot of money on my remodel projects is by buying oops paint. This is the paint that might have been returned or was not quite the right color. Every time I’m in my local home improvement store, I swing by the oops paint section. You can score $30 gallons of really quality paint for as low as $5!

The key is to plan ahead, and keep an eye out before you need it. I also try to scoop up any neutrals like white paint, that I know I’ll use. For a few of my rooms, I actually tinted white paint myself with other paint colors that I already had!

Décor Pieces: Things like vases, toss pillows, or wall art are so trend based and it’s not worth shelling out a lot of money on these things. You can find the look for less at so many discount stores, or DIY them yourself  (like my stool reupholstery project!). I also like to look out for end of season clearance for the pieces that I really want, especially after Christmas!

Faucets and Hardware: Another way I have been able to find the look for less is with my cabinet hardware and sink faucets. You can end up spending a lot of money on these things, but I have found really quality items for much lower prices!

I actually found my bathroom faucet on sale for $20! Similar styles I had been looking at were over $200. It’s still solid metal and a really nice quality. You just always have to always be on the lookout!

The items that are worth investing more money into are the things that can last for years to come. The key is to ensure you are making material and design choices that will last, instead of having to be replaced with every trend. In the end, the investment may even save you money when you don’t need to replace these things as frequently.

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