How to control your renovation budget

If you’re dreaming of a bigger home that better suits your lifestyle, take a look at this list of renovation dos and don'ts, plus a simple breakdown of costs

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  • Shop around to get the best prices
  • Measure twice and cut once
  • Invest in design work and detailed drawings
  • Finalise decisions before starting
  • Agree labour rates and hours in writing
  • Find sales and offers, and stockpile
  • Use public tips for waste where you can
  • Allow for wastage on materials
  • Take on DIY tasks that you are confident in
  • Schedule work so that it happens in the right sequence
  • Buy last year’s appliance models
  • Salvage and recycle, and buy reclaimed materials
  • Keep a close eye on work rate
  • Keep a tidy and efficient site
  • Live on site (ideally not in the house)
  • Ensure your design is space-efficient
  • Keep the design simple
  • Use standard off-the-shelf materials
  • Avoid unnecessary changes, such as altering the plumbing layout
  • Work to standard material sizes to reduce wastage
  • Mix and match expensive quality pieces with bargain items
  • Buy seconds and end-of-line products


  • Change your mind — it almost always adds cost and delay
  • Make key decisions and choices as you go
  • Leave the kitchen design until it’s plastered out
  • Over-order materials
  • Hold up the project for any reason
  • Run out of an end-of-line product
  • Agree to variations without a written price
  • Lose materials on an untidy site
  • Borrow on expensive credit cards (unless you have no choice)
  • Repair when replacement is more cost-effective
  • Renovate where demolition and new build is cheaper
  • Skimp on cheap finishes that are a false economy
  • Send away excavated earth that you could use elsewhere
  • Use lots of individual bespoke materials
  • Over-specify electrical fittings
  • Buy ‘bargains’ that may never be used

Working out your budget

Use this quick guide to costs (based on estimates correct at time of print) to assess what you’ll need to spend — all based on a main contractor and include VAT.

Kitchen fittings

From £17 per m² for standard units and work surfaces to £144 per m², and more, for a bespoke design


Total from around £4,200 to £10,500 per m² for fittings, plumbing and finishes

Single-storey extension

From around £1,380 to £2,160 per m²

Two-storey extension

From around £1,320 to £2,100 per m²

Loft conversion

£1,200 to £1,500 per m² for a simple rooflight conversion

£1,440 to £1,680 per m² for a dormer conversion

£1,680 to £2,400 per m² for a hip-to-gable or mansard conversion

Garage conversion

From around £1,200 to £2,100 per m²

Bi-fold doors

From £1,400 to £2,100 per linear metre opening


From around £1,440 to £2,160 per m²