How to budget for renovation

A few weeks ago, we did a big Instagram stories series on budgeting for room updates. (Check it out saved on our Instagram highlights if you missed it…it was a great discussion!). We had a lot of engagement from you on budgeting for spaces, and your answers to the polls were ALL OVER THE MAP. The cost of our living room update was definitely surprising to most of you, and that’s mostly because people all have very different ideas of what it takes to furnish a room, what things cost, etc. Putting together a budget for a room definitely looks different for everyone. Here are a couple of key points we consider when outlining a budget for a room update:

  1. Consider desired investment level – are you investing in long-term, quality furnishings, or are you looking more for short-term fixes? Both are COMPLETELY OK as long as you know which one you’re doing!

  2. Spending money wisely doesn’t mean just the cheapest thing OR the most expensive thing – it means making wise, thoughtful purchases on things that will last and serve your family well. It means saving money in some places and spending more in others.

  3. Everyone is in a different spot with their budget. A wise purchase for us when we first got married straight out of college 8+ years ago means something very different than what a wise purchase for us means now.

So with all that said, we’ve put together a quick formula for coming up with a budget for your room update! This is NOT intended to be your multi-step large renovation calculation mechanism…unfortunately large-scale projects take much longer than 5 minutes to plan 🙂 BUT for room re-furnishing and redecorating, it can take as little as 5 minutes to get a quick budget going, and you can adjust and tweak as you move forward through the process and decide what investment is right for your family.


We’ve put together a quick room budgeting worksheet that you can download FOR FREE! Get it below before you get started.


How to budget for a room update in 5 minutes

Tools Needed:

  • Pen/Pencil/Writing Utensil of Your Choice

  • Paper (or even better, our FREE budget guide from above…did we mention it’s FREE)

  • Your Brain

  • Coffee (optional…sort of)

  1. Make a list of all furniture/accessories you want to re-use

    This is pretty straightforward, but you need to look at the space you want to update and make a list of what you already have that you want to use. ACTUALLY WRITE THEM DOWN. Don’t get hung up in tiny accessories or which books you want on the bookshelf here…just look at the big picture – furniture pieces, rugs, lighting, major accessories, etc.

  2. Make a list of all furniture/accessories you need to purchase

    Make a punch list of furniture and accessories you want for the room. Start by writing down items you’re REPLACING. Pretty easy – if you’re throwing out a couch, the rug, and the coffee table, write those down. Then write anything else down you want to ADD (“I think a new side table would be nice there,” etc).

  3. Put a high investment and low investment DOLLAR AMOUNT on each new item

    This will be the most difficult part of the exercise, but you can do it!

    Simply put, you need to come up with two dollar amounts for each item – the first number being the LEAST you want to invest, the second number being the MOST you want to invest.

    Obviously, you’ll need to have a general idea of the marketplace (i.e. it’s important to know that you can’t get a custom couch with performance fabric for $100), but if you’ve been thinking about making updates, you’ve probably been doing a little digging and have a general idea on price.

  4. Make a list of any labor updates you want to be made

    Now you’re going to do the same thing as above with furniture, but this time with anything that requires LABOR. These would be things like painting the room, installing new lighting, switching out plumbing fixtures, etc. Anything that’s needed beyond what you can do yourself and you plan on hiring out.

    If you’re planning on doing the labor yourself, you can put costs like paint, paint supplies, etc. in this category to keep them separate from the furniture and accessories!

  5. Put a high investment and low investment DOLLAR AMOUNT on your labor

    Again, you’re doing the same thing here as you did above with furniture and accessories. Come up with two dollar amounts for each item – the first number being the LEAST you want to invest, the second number being the MOST you want to invest.

  6. Add it up, adjust as needed!

    Once you have your two investment ranges defined, add them up, and VOILA! You have your very basic project budget range.

Final thoughts…

We are big proponents of budgeting here – we try to help all our clients make wise decisions with their money, and we try to do the same with our own renovations and updates! We hope that this post and our free guide above are helpful tools as you start to plan updates in your own homes!