How to make the most of your money when renovating your home, according to experts

  • Renovating your home can be costly, especially if you don't have a firm design plan.
  • Insider spoke with interior design experts Tamara Day and Jeremiah Brent about how to best use your money and resources when upgrading your home.
  • The experts recommend researching design styles and making a budget before you jump into renovations.
  • They also think superficial changes like fresh paint, new hardware, and upgraded decorative finishes can drastically change your home. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The point of taking on a renovation project is to create a space that makes you feel at home. 

But the actual process of a renovation can be stressful, particularly if you don't want to spend too much money or aren't sure how to start the project.

Insider spoke to two design experts — Tamara Day, an interior designer and the host of HGTV's "Bargain Mansions," and Jeremiah Brent, a designer and the host of TLC's "Nate and Jeremiah By Design" and Netflix's "Say I Do" — about the best way to approach a renovation. 

Creating a solid plan will lead to a more cohesive look — and will help make the most of your resources 

Day warns against jumping into home renovations without a firm plan. 

If you start adding individual elements to your home that you like rather than taking the time to plan a cohesive look, the space can look disjointed, she told Insider. 

"It can feel like you didn't know which direction you were going with your style, and it can look confused versus interesting," Day said.

Make a plan before you start renovating.
Tamara Day/"Bargain Mansions"

Day recommends gathering inspiring home photos as the first step of a home renovation plan.

"Spend some time on Instagram and Pinterest and find rooms that you like," she said. "Pull 100 or 200 images of rooms that you love, and see what the consistent thread in the look and the style is."

"There are elements of every style that we all love, but finding the right style for your home is huge," Day added.

In the same vein of creating a design plan, Brent said that he recommends owners outline their finances before the renovation.

"The biggest mistake with home renovations is the urge to swing a sledgehammer and ask questions later," Brent told Insider. "Get organized. Budget the items you need and only do one room at a time."

Before you start spending money, take a look at the items you already have

While you will likely have to spend money to renovate your home, it might not be as much as you think.

Before you start buying new decorative pieces, Brent suggests evaluating items you already own and reimagining their place in the house. Brent and his husband, Nate Berkus, who is also an interior design expert and the co-host of "Nate and Jeremiah By Design," often reimagine their living space with small changes. 

"My husband firmly believes in the idea of curating your home and changing your space," Brent said. "By simply moving art or repurposing different rooms in your home, you can instantly make your home feel fresh and new." 

For example, homeowners can create multi-purpose spaces to give rooms a new feeling without an entire renovation.

"You can easily rethink the way you're using traditional rooms in your home," Brent said. "The formal dining room doesn't need to be for dining if you aren't having people over to gather."

Likewise, Brent thinks you can make stylistic choices with your appliances, too.

"Appliances don't have to stick out like a sore thumb," he said. "I look for options that marry form and function."

For instance, Brent swears by the Saeco Xelsis coffee maker because he likes how he's able to adapt it to different spaces. "You can add it to a sitting room or bar area to actually make the space more curated and more useful," he said.

Paint can also drastically change a space

If you don't need to make any big structural changes to your home, simply painting a room can make it look brand-new.

"A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference," Day said. 

Brent agreed, calling paint a foolproof way to bring new life to a home. 

"There's a reason everyone says paint is the easiest and most inexpensive way to add personality," Brent said. "It's true."

Paint can be transformative.
Tamara Day/"Bargain Mansions"

Brent even uses the paint trick in his own home.

"We recently repainted the kitchen of our home from taupe to a dramatic green and it shifted the entire energy of the space," he said of his and Berkus' house. 

Flooring updates have the same effect, according to the experts. Refresh your hardwoods, carpet, or tile for a brand-new look.

Updating hardware or decorative finishes is crucial to a home's overall feel

You might think of hardware as a detail, but it actually plays a big role in interior design, according to Day and Brent.

Day pointed to light fixtures as decorative pieces that can work as statement pieces and aren't too expensive.

"I go over the top with my lighting," Day said. "I like it really bright, and I like to see every element that I've designed."

Lighting can dictate the mood of a space, and the fixtures themselves will elevate the look of a room. 

New hardware can transform a room.
Tamara Day/"Bargain Mansions"

Likewise, Brent recommended using decorative finishes to create a tonal shift in a room without spending too much money.

"Wood planks, plaster, or even shiplap are all fantastic ways to bring in a ton of texture and personality without breaking the bank," Brent said.

He also suggests swapping smaller decor pieces and accessories throughout the year. 

"I love a seasonal refresh," Brent said. "You can easily change your throw pillows or blanket so that they match the hues of the season." 

Hiring a professional designer might actually save you money

Many people who are renovating on a budget opt to tackle all projects themselves and may think of an interior designer as an additional expense — but Day pointed out that professional design expertise should be seen as a resource.

"Hiring somebody that knows the trends and knows the styles can help you save a lot of money," Day said. "If you pick the wrong granite — you put it in, and you hate it, and it's not adding value to your home — that was a huge cost that didn't have to be spent."

A designer can help you avoid those types of costs and ensure you're creating a cohesive look throughout the renovation process.

The new season of "Bargain Mansions" aired on HGTV on Monday. You can follow Day and Brent on Instagram. 

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