When it comes to building a home, or even renovating an existing one, all of us are familiar with the concept of keeping to a budget. We are also aware that, more often than not, there are many hidden costs that sneak up on us, or extra details we hadn't considered during the planning stages that need attention, causing the overall costs to soar through the roof.
Sometimes we may have a particular type of material in mind that we want to use. Granite, for example, is a popular choice when it comes to kitchen counter tops, but it's also an expensive one, and may cost more than initially expected. There are some things in the home that can't be done on the cheap. Take insulation, for instance. It is one of the things that should be of the highest quality possible, as it will save on heating costs later. For many other parts of the home, however, there is usually a cheaper way to get them done. Let's find out what some of these life hacks entail…
Outdoor furniture or a bench space like this one can easily be built out of bricks and mortar. So instead of building tables and cupboards out of expensive wood that needs staining, sealing or painting, try using something more sturdy and wear-resistant. Bricks are waterproof, weatherproof and don't necessarily need to be covered.
If you really want to add a stainless steel bench on top, go ahead, but this will raise the costs once more. A cheaper alternative is polished concrete, or even a tiled surface.
For floors that are outside, or even in bathrooms, think about pouring down some concrete. It's a versatile material that is durable and can be customised. This option is great for large shower cubicles or patio areas.
Personalise your concrete floor with a DIY mosaic border around the edges, insert recycled coloured glass from old bottles, and shells, or try coloured concrete for an artistic look. The choices are limitless. (If you are uncertain or want to know about more options for mixing and laying concrete, then don't hesitate to ask a professional).
Concrete definitely isn't only limited to floors. This dark and dramatic bathroom has actually been created with coloured concrete walls, as has the shower base—like we mentioned before, concrete is perfect for wet areas like this one.
You can add texture to your concrete with exposed aggregates for a rustic feel, or polish it for an industrial vibe. Whatever you do, concrete is the number one material choice when it comes to sticking to a budget.
Lately, recycling has gone one step further—it's called up-cycling. More and more, old furniture and materials are being turned into something even better than their original state—and it's especially true when it comes to wooden palettes. The wood they are made from is of extremely high quality and long-lasting.
To buy these palettes is usually quite expensive, but if you hunt around, you should be able to find supermarkets or even your local grocer giving them away.
As with the outdoor furniture, you should give bricks a chance when it comes to building your walls. We've seen some fantastic houses that use bricks outside as well, with brick pillars that double as grills or fireplaces. You can also use them to create a striking entrance way, leave them exposed in interior rooms, or build garden walls and boundaries with them.
However big the wall is that you want to build, go with bricks and you won't break the bank.
If you're on your to build a garage, a covered patio space, or finishing off your main house, then consider using reeds for the roof. Thatching in particular is ideal for an outer layer to keep the water off the inner layer of roofing, and is suited for both tropical and temperate climates.
Not only are reeds inexpensive, but they are also ecologically friendly, so you can rest easy knowing you are living a sustainable lifestyle—when it comes to the roof anyway!
If you like the rustic look, then you are off to a good start. Materials like stone, brick, ceramic tiling, and cement are all inexpensive options, and will have your property looking authentically rustic and natural.
Things like wood and glass are the things that raise costs, and if you are lucky to live in warmer climates, they are not an essential to keep you warm at home.
Living in a loft apartment downtown? Then don't deny your surroundings and try to cover up industrial pipes or ventilation ducts. Leave them exposed and integrate them into part of the decor, alongside stainless steel surfaces and metal shelving.
Simple metal shelving cost a fraction of wooden ones, and will add to the appeal of your urban home.
Again, it's the wooden palettes that go a long way. Here they are used as a built-up sofa. They are also ideal to use as beds and for outdoor seating. If you love a challenge, then why not borrow a sewing machine and make your own cushion covers or sofa sleeve? You can use old curtains or old bed linen to sew into unique covers that will impress all of your friends!
When you can, recycle and re-use, and you will save many rands.
We hope these tips keep you on track with your home building/improvement budget, but if you need more ideas, take a look at these affordable and easy changes you can make to improve your home today.