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22 Best Ways to Save Money During a Remodel

If you're planning a home remodel this year, you're in good company. It may be the best year for home remodels in more than a decade, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. An estimated $340 billion will be spent on remodels in 2018, a 7.5 percent increase from 2017. If you're among those doing a remodel, here are 22 of the best ways to save money during your project.

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Couple meeting with contractorSean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

Have a Detailed Plan

This seems obvious, but having a detailed plan of your remodeling project before you get started is one of the best ways to save money. Ask your contractor lots of questions during the planning stages. This will help you stay on budget and ensure your timeline is realistic.

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Create a Makeshift Kitchen Remodel Ways to save moneyZakhar Mar/Shutterstock

Create a Makeshift Kitchen

If your remodel involves the kitchen, set up a temporary kitchen before you get started on the project to save money on eating out. These 20 tips for planning a successful house remodel can help. Move the old cabinets to the garage or basement, put plywood on top of the cabinets to act as a work surface and move the stove to a temporary space, if possible. If the weather is warm, consider grilling outside or use a camp stove.

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bathroom remodelCapturePB/Shutterstock

Set Up a Temporary Bathroom

Remodeling your only bathroom? Set up a temporary basement bathroom. Ask your contractor to help put in a temporary shower unit in the basement that can drain into the utility tub floor drain. You can also rent a “portable restroom” like the ones used at concerts and other events. This will cost you some money, but it will be worth it.

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demo demolition wallKorArkaR/Shutterstock

Do Some Demo Yourself

Doing your own demo will save you some money, but be sure to only take on projects you’re comfortable doing and always follow all safety precautions. These 35 DIY demolition tips can help. Consider doing demolition on a deck or removing kitchen cabinets and countertops. Follow these tips if you’re removing a wall.

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refinish hardwood floorsFamily Handyman

Refinish Hardwood

If you have hardwood floors, consider refinishing them instead of installing all new flooring. You can refinish hardwood floors in just one day without the hassle of sanding.

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change a LED light bulbOleg Vinnichenko/Shutterstock

Go Used

One of the best ways to save money during a remodel is to hit up resale shops. Try looking for lightly used light fixtures you can install yourself. You may also find a box of tile that may work for an entryway or kitchen backsplash! You never know what you’ll find!

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move fridgeantoniodiaz/Shutterstock

Consider Scratch-and-Dent

Scratch-and-dent items may work for your project and be one of the best ways to save money. A refrigerator with a small dent may work if you’re adding a basement bar. A high-end oven with a small scratch on the side won’t even show when you’re done with your kitchen remodel.

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Build Your Own Island Kitchen remodelungvar/Shutterstock

Build Your Own Island

Check out these 12 best DIY kitchen islands which may inspire you to build your own island. Try repurposing old furniture for the island or hit up a resale shop to see if they have something that might work in your dream kitchen.

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Hauling materials pick-upFamily Handyman

Haul Your Own Materials

If you have a truck, you can save money on delivery fees by picking up your materials yourself and transporting them home safely. You can also rent a truck for a day, which may pay for itself if you use it to make a few trips.

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Have a Backyard Camp Out Family camping tent Air Images/Shutterstock

Have a Backyard Camp Out

If the weather cooperates, consider having a family camp out in the backyard instead of getting a hotel. And use the time to build a DIY fire pit you’ll use for years to come.

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laying tileJP Chretien/Shutterstock

Ask Your Contractor for Leftovers

Ask your contractor if he or she has any leftover materials from previous projects, such as flooring, tile or trim, because you may be able to save money on material costs.

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kitchen pendantsBreadmaker/Shutterstock

Plan Your Lighting Carefully

If you’ll need all new lighting, limit your recessed light fixtures because during a remodel, they can cost more to install due to them being more labor intensive.

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tile that looks like wood laminate floorsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Go for Look-Alikes

One of the best ways to save money is to go for lookalikes when it comes to materials and fixtures. This doesn’t mean go cheap, but instead look for a less expensive hardwood that looks similar to the priciest version, or go for a faucet in the middle price range if you’re remodeling a powder room. These tips on choosing a faucet can help.

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painting a wall yellowDaxiao Productions/Shutterstock

Do Your Own Painting

Whether you’re painting a room or some kitchen cabinets, one way to save money is to do the painting yourself. Follow these 10 interior house painting tips for the perfect finish.

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installing cabinetsFamily Handyman

Save on Cabinets

To save money on your kitchen remodel, there are some corners you can cut when it comes to your cabinets. If you’re getting new cabinets, consider installing them yourself. Spray paint your current cabinets to give them a new look. Or consider converting wood cabinet doors to glass.

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moving plumbingGlobalphotogroup/Shutterstock

Don’t Move Plumbing

When remodeling a bathroom, try to keep your current plumbing where it is instead of relocating the shower and toilet. There are several DIY plumbing jobs you may be able to do yourself to save money.

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tile backplashDerek Hatfield/Shutterstock

Tile Your Own Backsplash

You don’t have to be an expert to do your own tile backsplash. In fact, you should be able to get it done in a weekend. Try adding a mosaic backsplash which should cost no more than $500 depending on your tile, but may save you hundreds in labor costs.

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open shelves kitchenArchiVIZ/Shutterstock

Think Open

One of the best ways to save money on a kitchen or bathroom remodel is to install open shelves instead of custom cabinets. To see if this idea would work for your space, here are 12 ideas for organizing with open shelving.

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installing kitchen countertopsungvar/Shutterstock

Save on Countertops

Pricey natural stone countertops may blow your budget if you’re not careful. To save money, consider installing them yourself. If you don’t have a lot of space to cover, look for remnants at a stone countertop supply yard. Before you buy, understand the pros and cons of various countertop materials, including granite, laminate, solid wood, stainless steel and tile.

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kitchen remodel planAndy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

Stick to the Plan

The quickest way to blow your remodeling budget is to stray from your original plan. While unexpected costs are a possibility, be diligent and stick to your original plan as much as possible.

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Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.