5 Home Design Elements That Can Blow Your Budget

The cost of just about everything has gone up lately. But it’s particularly impacted the construction industry, and by extension, anyone building or renovating a home. While you can’t change the rising cost of materials, you can certainly adjust your project to stick to your budget.

Most of the time, what you can do with your budget comes down to the design elements involved in your project. For example, the cost of building a home using standard finishes versus the cost of building an architectural home with extravagant roofing, specialty flooring, and pricey plumbing and lighting fixtures to match. In saying that, your budget is what you make it – so let’s get into 5 home design elements that can blow your budget. And, our advice, as custom home builders, for balancing your desired outcome with your budget.


Tiles and flooring can make or break your home. So, understandably, you may want to go big in these areas when it comes to design. However, this can send you over budget very quickly. When selecting tiles and flooring be aware of your allowance per square metre. This will help you evaluate how costly your selections are. Also keep in mind that speciality tiles like subway and mosaic tiles and some flooring options may be more labour-intensive to install. So, you will have to anticipate a potential extra labour cost if opting for these specialty finishes.


But this doesn’t mean you can’t have the tiles and flooring you want. It’s all about how you work the budget. For example, if you’re wanting to do a feature wall in your bathroom, think about how you can compensate in other areas to balance the budget. You might choose to do skirting tiles instead of wall-to-ceiling tiles on the remaining walls or choose cheaper tiles to go on the remaining walls.


When it comes to floors, express your desired flooring finishes to your builder at the quote stage, so they can allow for this in your budget. Remember to factor in all elements of your flooring – floor coverings (carpets, floorboards etc.) and skirting boards/trims. If you forget to add in skirting in the beginning, it can be quite costly later.


For many, a bathroom is an oasis, a room of peace away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. So, it’s important to style the bathroom exactly as you’d like it. But, if you get carried away with bougee fixtures, your budget might get blown.


You might be surprised by just how costly taps, basins, vanities and toilets can be. So, it’s important to discuss exactly what plumbing fixtures you’d like to include in your project at the quoting stage. This way, you have an accurate allowance, and you’re less likely to be out of pocket later. In saying that, it is a good idea to choose the highest quality fixtures that your budget allows. While the aesthetics of your bathroom are important, you do want your fixtures to last.


When it comes to design, it might be tempting to follow the latest trends. But remember that trends come and go. So, think about the timelessness of the selections – the last thing you want is to have to replace them in 5 years. We personally feel that stainless steel is always a safe option – it looks great, its durable and you don’t have to worry about it going out of style.


You might be surprised by just how much cabinets cost. So, joinery is one area to be especially wary of when considering your budget. Naturally, a more cost-effective option is to go with prefabricated cabinetry for your kitchen, but these may not perfectly fit the space you have. So, you may want to opt for custom joinery. An advantage of going for custom joinery is that it’s made to perfectly suit the unique shape of your home and your functional requirements. However, you’re also paying for the labour to produce and install the joinery, as well as your contractor’s skill and expertise. Therefore, custom joinery is much more expensive than prefabrication options.


That is not to say that you shouldn’t use custom joinery – in some cases it’s a necessity! You may be able to work within your budget and still get your desired look and functionality. It will come down to your selections – the style of cabinetry, the type of benchtop you’d like etc. Just be sure to engage a skilled builder or kitchen designer who can help you with the kitchen layout, storage options and finishes.


In some cases, interior finishes make up a significant part of the overall building cost. These are things like fireplaces, trim, mirrors, benchtops, joinery, flooring, stairs, paint and much more! We have already covered flooring and joinery above, so we’ll focus on some other finishes. As with most of your selections, your budget is under your control. This means you can focus on what’s important to you. You might want a stunning kitchen with premium benchtops, and you’re happy to spend less on your flooring. It’s all about finding that balance between your budget and aesthetics. So, stay connected with your builder to discuss how you can make your budget work, and still achieve your desired finishes.


Your home’s exterior can also become expensive, and it all comes down to your preferred finishes and inclusions. Adding things like porches, decks, pools, and landscaping to your project can easily add costly expenses to your project. Be clear about which of these are your ‘non-negotiables’ at the pre-construction stage, so you can figure out which other areas of your build to adjust. Also, your desired external finishes (cladding, rendering, brickwork) will vary in cost – so discuss which option is best for you with your builder. There are always a variety of options to help you reduce costs.


Firstly, and we cannot emphasise this enough, to stay on budget you need to have a clear idea of everything about your project from the inclusions to the finishes from the get-go. This helps avoid unexpected expenses occurring as a result of you changing your mind during construction.


Beyond this, discuss your allowances with your builder during the pre-construction stage and have a good idea of what this allowance might ‘look’ like. Think about your selections well before it comes time to order them, so you can adjust them if necessary. And don’t be afraid to shop around – look for low-cost alternatives that achieve a similar finish to the one you desire or ask your builder what they feel you can go without.


At the end of the day your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. So, it’s important that you fall in love with it every time you step through the door. You can certainly achieve this while sticking to your budget, it’s all about the decisions you make throughout your building process.

Being able to choose what features are important to you is a major advantage of engaging a custom home builder.

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