Tips for Remodeling on a Budget

jar of cash labeled budgetImage credit

Most people would agree that a thoughtful budget is critical to running a successful household. Not only would it would be tough to pay monthly bills without a budget based on income and expenses, but unless you were the only one bringing in or spending money, it would become difficult to know where money was going and how much. Many of us wouldn’t set out to buy a new car before establishing what we could afford.

So, it came as a surprise to us that nearly 1/3 of homeowners surveyed last year took on a remodeling project without setting any sort of budget at all.

Equally as surprising is that another ⅓ of the remaining homeowners exceeded their established project budget.

That means that only about ⅓ of remodeling homeowners set a budget and stuck to it! They must all be Case Indianapolis clients because we make sure our clients develop a realistic remodeling budget and spend what they plan to spend for their newly remodeled spaces.


Where Does Your Remodeling Money Go?

The primary costs for a home remodel fall into two categories:

  1. Labor
  2. Materials

Planning ahead for those costs can take some of the stress out of a remodel.

If you’ve never remodeled, the number of decisions required from start to finish is a bit daunting. That’s why at Case Design/Remodeling Indianapolis we recommend first-timers attend a free home remodeling seminar for an overview of the process. During the seminar, a designer and a project manager walk you through the steps and break down some of the decisions you will be making.

Setting a Realistic Remodel Budget

How do you set a realistic budget? Start out by discovering what things actually cost.

Visit a few local home supply stores or look online to get a rough idea of the cost of materials. This can be an eye-opener. It can also help you align your wish list with what you want to spend.

Set up a simple remodeling budget spreadsheet and start listing out your desired materials with rough pricing and a link to the products if available.

The more complete your spreadsheet, the closer you’ll be to your supply estimate. It’s a good idea to plan a 10-20 percent overage in costs for safety.

To give you an idea of what we mean, here’s a sample supply list for bathroom materials. Use it as a guide to create your own remodeling budget spreadsheet.

Supply List Bathroom
Supply List Bathroom Materials

Realigning Expectations and Budget

master bath with separate tub and shower

If the grand total of your remodeling budget spreadsheet exceeds what you hoped to spend before you’ve even factored in labor, consider other supply options.

Here’s what we mean. Let’s imagine you calculated the cost for a custom-designed double vanity with a marble countertop as roughly $6,000. If that’s already half of what you hoped to spend on supplies, then you may need to re-evaluate your materials choices.

This scenario is why the advice of an experienced designer becomes so valuable.

A designer can offer you a variety of product options that can achieve either similar results, but within your budget. A designer might suggest another countertop material that would work just as well with the design but for a lower cost. A designer’s suggestions improve functionality and aesthetics.

Consider Long-term Labor Costs for a Remodel

Take a long-sighted view when working with a contractor to determine labor costs. An experienced remodeling company will offer some options for your consideration as they try to design a space that will work the way you want to use it.

A skilled builder knows that the cost to remodel a home in phases, one room a year, will cost much more in the end than completing a more extensive remodel all at once.

The builder also knows that if he uncovers a few problems unrelated to the current project while in the midst of the work, it is usually more cost effective to make the corrections while the house is already undergoing a renovation.

If finances allow you to renovate multiple spaces at once, the cost per room comes down.

open family room zionsville

Case Indianapolis recently completed a whole house renovation of this Zionsville-area home. Take a look at the before and after images.

A whole house remodel might not work with your remodeling budget, but there may be upgrades you can work into the budget on this project that may make future projects cheaper. For example, if the HVAC system and duct system needs an upgrade to accommodate a new addition, it might make sense to upgrade the ductwork in other rooms at the same time.

Remodel on a Budget with Case Indianapolis

Are you still curious about what drives the cost of a project? Schedule a free consultation with the home remodeling experts at Case Indianapolis. We will walk you through the major factors to consider when budgeting your remodeling project.

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Welcome to Worthington!


After 20 years remodeling homes throughout Central Indiana, we’ve decided it’s time for a remodel of our own!  Case locations in Carmel, Meridian Kessler, and Zionsville will become Worthington Design & Remodeling.

The Worthington name pays tribute to our founder and president, Larry Worthington Greene, and demonstrates our unyielding customer promise: your home is worth the very best. Expert design, craftsmanship, service, and superior results remain the cornerstone of all we do. It’s the Worthington Way.

New name—same ownership, team and award-winning dedication to superior results.