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Sort It: Regardless of the budget, there will always be areas that will need to be scaled back

Making your home renovation dreams come true can be a challenge, especially when your budget doesn’t quite align with your wishes. We all have that wishlist of improvements we would love to make, but sometimes reality forces us to make compromises. We all feel we could do more if we had more money, but the truth is, regardless of the budget, there will always be areas that will need to be scaled back. The key is to be realistic and invest in the areas that will enhance your quality of life. Here are some helpful tips to navigate this process and ensure you make the most of your budget.


Be realistic about your financial situation. Take the time to research and understand the costs of the home renovation project you plan to undertake. While it may be tempting to rely on the experiences of family or friends who have completed similar work, keep in mind that their projects might have been done a long time ago. Furthermore, people often downplay costs to make it appear as though they received a great deal. So, instead of relying solely on others’ experiences, gather information from reliable sources and professionals in the industry.

When planning your renovation, don’t forget to consider the additional costs associated with refurbishment and building. It’s not just about the new extension; you need to factor in the expenses involved in integrating the existing structure with the new addition. Will there be any other work required, such as plumbing or electrical upgrades? These hidden costs can quickly add up, so it’s important to account for them from the beginning.


Identify the elements you refuse to compromise on. These aspects typically have a lasting impact on your daily life and overall satisfaction with the project outcome. Quality is often a non-negotiable criterion for many homeowners as it directly influences the aesthetics, functionality and longevity of the finished product. A well-executed, high-quality finish can elevate your living experience and add value to your property in the long run.


The layout of your home is another crucial aspect you shouldn’t compromise on. Investing time and effort into getting the layout right can save you money in the long run.

Consider how you use your space and how it can be optimised to better suit your needs. Simple changes, like opening up the kitchen to create a more sociable and functional area, can have a significant impact without breaking the bank.

Never compromise on quality; cutting corners or accepting poor workmanship can lead to costly repairs, replacements, and ongoing dissatisfaction. Photograph: Aisling McCoy

Energy efficiency

Improving your home’s energy efficiency is another area worth prioritising. While it may not be the most glamorous aspect of a renovation, investing in insulation, heating systems and high-quality windows is a wise choice. These improvements not only enhance your comfort and quality of life but also contribute to long-term energy efficiency and cost savings. Prioritise these essentials to create a comfortable and sustainable home environment.


Making significant savings may involve sacrificing speed, as cutting costs often requires allocating fewer resources to the project. This can lead to a longer timeline, with tradespeople fitting your project in between other commitments. While this may extend the duration, it can be a reasonable trade-off if your budget is a primary concern.


Think ahead and spend on elements that will be costly to replace or upgrade in the future. For example, investing in durable flooring, quality kitchen appliances or well-constructed cabinetry can save you from costly replacements down the line. By making these wise investments now, you’ll avoid the need for costly renovations in the near future.


Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. Prioritise your renovation goals and tackle them in stages. By breaking down the project into manageable phases, you can spread out the financial burden and give yourself time to save for each stage. This approach allows you to enjoy the process and appreciate the progress as your home transforms over time.


No matter which compromises you decide to make, effective planning and communication are vital to ensure the smooth execution of your project. Set clear expectations from the outset and establish open lines of communication with your contractors and tradespeople. Discuss your priorities and non-negotiables, and strive for transparency regarding timelines, costs and quality expectations. Doing so minimises the chances of misunderstandings and fosters a collaborative environment that aligns with your goals.

Unwise compromise

While compromises are often necessary, certain scenarios should serve as red flags, warning against sacrificing certain criteria. Quality should rarely be compromised, as it directly impacts your long-term satisfaction with the project. Cutting corners or accepting poor workmanship can lead to costly repairs, replacements and ongoing dissatisfaction.

When it comes to the safety and structural integrity of your home, compromising is never advisable. Ensuring compliance with building regulations and engaging experienced professionals are essential for a successful project. Prioritise the structural soundness of your home and the wellbeing of your family above all else.

Source: Denise O’Connor, The Irish Times, 07/07/2023



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