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Darren Palmer on Where to Spend your Money

Darren Palmer on Where to Spend your Money

By Sarah Lefebvre on Oct 19 2016

What to Spend your Budget on

Everyone has different ideas of what is important to them. Some value brand names above all else, others worship at the bargain bin looking for deals and discounts wherever they can find them. So what is the right way to spend money on your home? Well of course that question will change from home to home but my approach is always to spend money where it will add value to your home and your lifestyle.

If your whole home has seen better days and you have $100,000 I'd say the best way to spend it is to invest in the kitchen and bathroom and with any money you have left try to paint your place yourself and upgrade your flooring. If you can fit all of that into your budget you'll have a major improvement. I wouldn't recommend splashing your cash on expensive treatments like wall coverings or lighting if your home uniformly needs improvement but if you have a great house already putting in a major impact piece, like a fireplace, pool or landscaping can really lift a home's luxury appeal.

If you have $50,000 you'll need to work out which of your kitchen or bathroom need the most work and which can get a cosmetic improvement to bring it up to speed. Generally speaking kitchens are the first focus due to that old adage "kitchens sell houses". A well functioning kitchen can really improve the quality of life for the occupants too so investing in good design, good quality appliances and storage solutions as well as specifying the highest quality benchtops appropriate to your location and budget.

If your bathroom needs the work though look first if you can gain anything more from playing with the layout. You might be able to add in a bathtub or even split your bathroom into 2 by being clever with wasted areas of the floor plan. It might be that your bathroom is improved by removing a bath tub or merging the separate toilet, or indeed separating the toilet off to have its own space. It's horses for courses but time spent thinking about ideal configuration for your home and lifestyle is worth it before spending up big on a bathroom.

$50,000 would also allow you to hire a painter to paint most homes internally and some depending on the size of the home perhaps even externally with the transformative power of a good repaint not to be underestimated.

Depending on your location and council approvals you may be able to open up areas of the indoors to the outdoors for a $50,000 budget. Think new bifold or French doors leading to a deck of verandah. Externally cladding a home instead might be something to consider if you have around $50k to kick around. Obviously ideas are ideas but you'll need to consult a builder for quotes to get competitive pricing for your plans.

If your home is sound and doesn't need any work then you can replace a lot of a home's furniture for $50,000. You'll want to look for mid priced furniture rather than designer models to make your budget go further but sofas under $5000-$7000, occasional chairs under $1200 and a new coffee table would eat up around $10,000 allowing you to find some of those other pieces you need. the further you need your money to stretch the more moderate you need to be with your per item cost.

Say you have $20,000 for your improvements and your home has seen better days. You don't have to rule out a bathroom or kitchen improvement completely as you can upgrade both with some simple tricks like leaving your cabinets in their location but replacing benchtops, cupboard fronts and appliances. A new splash back can also give a huge lift to the kitchen's look as well as aligning it to more current trends making it more appealing and mover valuable. Bathrooms can benefit from improving things like Tapware, toilets, basins or baths, replacing the shower curtain with a shower screen or even upgrading the old worn framed shower with a more modern frameless version. You can re enamel things like your bath or basin and even give your tiles a new look simply by hiring someone to professionally spray them. New lighting and extraction can give your bathroom a more contemporary look and feel too.

$20,000 would also allow you to upgrade the look of all of your bedrooms if you do it wisely. New window treatments that are ready made, a coat of paint or some wallpaper, new linen and soft furnishings and maybe a statement chair for the master and you should get small change across three bedrooms.

Artwork is something that can add a lot of joy and luxury appeal to a home too so if you have $10,000 to spend maybe look for a statement piece to take pride of place or even look at a few lower cost items like photographic framed prints or framed sculptural items like corals, tribal necklaces or prints of flora or fauna.
$10,000 can be spent very easily on layering in all of the decor and soft furnishings a home needs to look finished. Lamps, vases, decor items, plants, books, cushions and throws add that extra layer of finish that will really give your home the designer wow factor. It sounds like a lot of money for those small items but when you look at a professional level of decoration it's moderate.

$5000 will help you to replace your feature lighting in your house so look at your pendants and sconces and see what looks a bit out of step. You'll need to factor in tradesmen so don't spend your whole budget on fittings. leave maybe $1500 aside for trades and touch ups if you're doing a straight replace so you don't get bill shock and be sure to quote ahead of time.

$2000 can buy you a great new rug or replace one item of furniture that have seen better days, like a storage unit, coffee table or dining table. Depending on your tastes you can DIY wallpaper a room for $2000 and get more bang for your buck. Paint is cheap compared to the transformation a new DIY paint job and a weekend of hard work can deliver and you should be able to make a change to a few spaces in your home for a $2000 investment.

$1000 will get you new bed linen to change up your look. You can buy one or 2 low cost artworks to jazz up your wall or buy yourself a comfy new chair or ottoman for your bedroom.

Investing $1000 in your lounge room on new low cost lamps, cushions, a tray, a few stacks of books and some flowers or an orchid will give you a big improvement.

when you're looking at improving for $500 look at low cost retailers and see what in their range can solve your problems, whether it be some new dining chairs or a slip cover for your existing ones. Perhaps you have an old appliance that needs replacing, like your toaster and kettle if you want some change left over or your dryer if you want to stretch a few hundred dollars more. Small home appliances are a good way to spend a few hundred bucks if you need it.

If you have $100 to spend, head to the flower markets and buy a lot of one type of flower and drop them in a large vase. this will give you up to a week of colour and interest in your lounge room. A new candle or two will last longer and help with the ambience of a flickering flame and the associated scent or invest in a beautiful coffee table book or 2. If you need your money to stretch further you can head to low cost department stores as they have lamps and decor at $5-$20 a pop allowing you to add a few missing items where needed.

No matter what spare funds you have you can make a change to your home, the most important thing is to work out what you need, what will make the biggest change for you and what you're able to spend. making an improvement to your home, no matter how small makes your space that much better than it was before.

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