How to renovate on a budget

Focus on one project at a time

The master bathroom is a gold-plated 1990s nightmare, and the kitchen appliances have survived three presidential administrations.

You might find many outdated rooms in your home, but take a deep breath and follow this advice: Go slowly and focus on one project at a time.

To narrow down the options, create a list of all the projects you’d ideally carry out. Then spend some time online to gather cost estimates for each one.

For your first project, keep it small and simple so you can get a sense of how the process works. Try your hand at a midrange bathroom remodel, for instance, before finishing off an entire basement.

"Having a good idea of what each project might cost may help you prioritize which project to do this year versus holding off on a project for the following year," says John Bodrozic, co-founder of, a site that offers online home management software.