Fewer people are buying new homes, but everyone wants to improve what they have. With money tight right now, how can remodeling be done more reasonably without the results looking cheap?

Read on for tips on how to make your remodeling project look great without breaking the budget.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Consider using in-house designers and decorators. Most home centers offer people that can help you design your kitchen, choose the right flooring, paint colors and more. This service will give you confidence in your selections without the added cost of hiring an independent decorator. Decide on the entire scope of work to be done before you start. Try to avoid moving electrical, plumbing, ductwork, or walls if possible to keep the cost down.

2. Give It a Try

Even if you’re not the handiest person on the block, you may still be able to do some of the work yourself to help make the project more reasonable. Maybe you can handle the tear out or removal of the wallpaper, plumbing fixtures, trim, etc. Or perhaps your can tell the contractor you will do all the clean-up or painting. Any help you provide can cut down on expensive labor costs.

3. Save, Reuse, Renew

If you decide to do the tear out yourself, take care not to damage useful items, since many of them can be used again. Light fixtures, trim, doors, hardware, and cabinets might be able to be used on the same project, in a different project at your home, or donated to a Habitat for Humanity Restore for a tax write off.

4. Looks Expensive, but It’s Not

There are many products now available that “mimic” the look of more expensive materials. Below are four examples, the cost differences and what you could save in a typical application.

Kitchen with plastic laminate countertops.
Plastic laminate countertops look great but cost much less than other materials.


  • Granite: $79/sq. ft.
  • Granite Plastic Laminate: $38/sq. ft.
  • Savings: $41/sq. ft. x 30 sq. ft. (average kitchen) = $1,230

Tile Floors:

  • Ceramic Tile: $4/sq. ft.
  • Vinyl Tile: $1/sq. ft.
  • Savings: $3/sq ft x 100 sq ft (10’ x 10’ floor) = $300

Wood Floors:

  • Installed Wood Flooring: $9/sq. ft.
  • DIY Laminate Flooring: $3/sq. ft.
  • Savings: $6/sq. ft. x 200 sq. ft. room (10’ x 20’ room) = $1,200

Interior Doors:

  • Solid Wood: $78/ea.
  • Hardboard: $37/ea.
  • Savings: $41 x 12 doors (average typical home) = $492

Installing laminate flooring.
Installing a DIY laminate floor cost much less than hardwood.

I hope this helps you improve your home without breaking the bank!

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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