Design Hints

5 Ways to Remodel on a Budget

Discover innovative tricks and smart tips for cutting costs on your renovation without sacrificing style.

Joe Felicissimo and John Sheridan, whose home is featured in the September 2009 issue of Country Sampler, contained costs on their renovation by investing plenty of sweat equity and devising budget-friendly solutions to problems presented by their 1930-built Somers, New York, cottage. Save yourself some cash by employing a few of their buck-stretching strategies on your next remodeling project.

1. Limit demolition. Taking down walls can be costly, so work within your home's existing footprint; tackle jobs that you know you can complete and that are within your skill level. Even if you're not comfortable laying flooring or tile, you'll save money by ripping out the old and hiring someone else to install the new.

Pick up a paintbrush. Set a countrified stage for primitive patinas and antique furniture by refreshing walls with earthen tones and historically inspired colors. Use complementary-colored paints to highlight woodwork, doors and windows.

3. Accentuate the positive. Down-but-not-out kitchen cabinets can be salvaged with a good cleaning and a few coats of paint. You can also give old cabinet hardware a lift with a fresh coat of paint; try brushing on black enamel or coating hardware with metallic spray paint in an aged-bronze patina. Or, deck newly painted cabinets with good-looking (but inexpensive) home-center knobs and pulls, which are often available in a value pack at a discounted price.

Let underlayments lie. Save time and money by installing new materials atop shabby surfaces. Many types of flooring and countertops stand up as durable foundations for new wood flooring or ceramic tile, even if the original is outdated or worse-for-wear. Instead of installing hardwood flooring, stain pine boards to create plank floors; or, opt for inexpensive solid-white or neutral-hued tiles when covering large surfaces. Stock tiles make a similar impact to high-end versions, but refresh your look for less.

5. Spotlight with stain. Joe stained the molding on the living room archway dark cherry to draw attention to the doorway and to match the room's furnishings. He highlighted the recessed window behind the kitchen sink by staining the trim dark mahogany. And, after sanding the washed-out dining room ceiling beams, he applied dark stain to bring the rustic woodwork to the forefront.

Written by Ann Wilson
Photographed and Styled by Franklin & Esther Schmidt