America's most trusted home improvement brand shares tips tp help you save on your re …The holidays may be over, but 'tis the season for planning remodels! Homeowners everywhere are designing the homes of their dreams...and dreading the price tag. We canvassed dozens of industry pros to catalog ways you can wrestle your renovation costs back down to earth this year.
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1. Increase Efficiency, Not SizeIf you can reorganize and equip your kitchen for maximum utility, you may not need to blow out the walls to gain square footage. Start by replacing space-hogging shelves with cabinet-height pullout drawers 8 inches wide, containing racks for canned goods and other items. "You're getting three or more horizontal planes where you might otherwise get only one," says Louis Smith Jr., an architect with Meier Group, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. You could easily shell out a few thousand to outfit cabinets with upgrades like dividers, pull-out pot trays, and lazy Susans, but you'll save many times that amount by skipping the addition you thought you needed.
Cost to expand kitchen by 200 square feet: $48,000 to $95,000
Cost of super-efficient, custom-designed cabinets: $35,000
SAVED: Up to $60,000
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2. Bring in Natural Light Without Adding WindowsBefore cutting a big hole in the side of your house and rearranging the framing, consider less invasive-and less expensive-ways of capturing light. To brighten up a windowless bath or hallway, for instance, you can install a "light tube," which slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down into the living space.
Cost to add a double-pane insulated window: $1,500
Cost for a light tube: $500
3. Hit the Recycling CenterDo-it-yourselfers can reap big savings with recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. Habitat for Humanity operates about 400 ReStores nationwide, which offer salvaged materials at half off home-center prices. One caveat: Many contractors won't work with salvaged items, or homeowner-supplied materials in general, because they don't want to assume the liability if something goes wrong. That said, if you're doing your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors to acrylic skylights to partial bundles of insulation. (To find a ReStore near you, visit habitat.org)
Price of 4-by5-foot insulated window in a home center: $600
Price at ReStore: $300
See 18 MORE Ways to Save on Your Remodel