Unless you have an unlimited budget, renovating a house is always a going to be a balancing act between splurging and saving. Of course it would be nice to have it all – designer fittings and fixtures, top of the range appliances, bespoke cabinetry, stone benchtops – the list goes on. However, more often than not, if we stick to our wish list when renovating we will likely blow the budget entirely and potentially over capitalise. The secret to a successful renovation is all about knowing where to spend your hard earned dollars and where you should cut back to ensure you achieve the house you desire along with the maximum return on your investment. Let’s take a look at two main areas of the house, the kitchen and bathroom, and see where you should splurge and where you can save.


A Kitchen is one part of the house where it’s easy to get carried away, construction costs can run into the high thousands so it’s important to know when to stop. Whilst the kitchen is generally considered the heart of the home, and scrimping on costs here is something that you will probably regret later on, not everything has to cost the earth.

Prioritise what is important to you. If you love to cook or spend a lot of time entertaining, then spend your money on a high quality oven and cooktop and save your money on other areas such as a tiled splash back. If you aren’t concerned about appliances with all the bells and whistles then stick to standard options and shop around at discount outlets, clearance centres or auction houses.

When it comes to benchtops, rather than splurging on Calcutta marble, go for manmade alternatives such as Caesarstone, there are even great acrylic options on the market that will still give a modern feel at a fraction of the price.

When planning custom built cabinetry, don’t underestimate the cost of little extra inclusions such as soft-close drawers, an integrated fridge or pull out pantry. If it won’t make a real difference to you, save your money.

The kitchen is used every day and needs good quality fixtures, appliances and finishes to withstand the test of time, but if you take your time to consider what’s important to you it will make it easier to see where you should spend and where you can save.


The bathroom is the other room in the house where you shouldn’t scrimp, but there’s many ways to make your dollar stretch a bit further.

Start by choosing a hero piece of the room, such as an impressive vanity or a freestanding bath. You don’t need to have multiple feature pieces to achieve a luxurious designer feel. Once you’ve chosen your hero piece, be smart choosing affordable pieces for the rest of the room. Consider cheaper options for fittings such basins, shower mixers or towel racks. These are all items where cheaper options can look just as good as the expensive ones, and are easy to upgrade down the track if needed.

When choosing bathroom tiles, remember tiles do not need to be expensive to look good. Tile retailers often have great sales on where you may be able to pick up premium quality tiles at a cheaper rate. Shop around, do your research and seek advice from a tile company or interior designer, as they should be able to assist you to select a design, pattern and colour to match your style, without costing a fortune. Also consider if you really need floor to ceiling tiles. Although this is very on trend at the moment, it’s usually unnecessary for the function of the room. Tiling only the wet areas such as the shower and behind the vanity will save you money but won’t sacrifice on functionality. Alternatively, opt for a combination of cheaper tiles mixed with more expensive feature tiles as this will also give a designer look but will be significantly more affordable than splashing designer tiles throughout the entire room.

Whilst the kitchen and bathroom (or bathrooms) are generally considered the most important and most expensive rooms when renovating, when preparing your budget, it’s important to look at every room in the house and break down each room into 2 parts – splurge and save. In a bedroom your splurge might be a bespoke built in wardrobe and your saves might be a cheaper carpet option or off the shelf window furnishings. By looking at each room individually and prioritising what’s important, you will easily be able to identify where you can save and where you should spend.

Duncan Thompson Extensions is premium home extension company specialising in the eastern, south eastern and bayside suburbs of Melbourne. Contact us today and let us help you plan an extension that will fit in with your style, budget and timeframe.