I feel as though the title of this post is a bit misleading. Because rolling up your sleeves and building your own house puts you squarely in a save category and not a splurge one. That being said I do feel like there were areas where we allocated our budget more to one side than the other. No matter where you are in the building process (dreaming, saving, framing) you’ll come up against your budget. It’s just the way construction works.
I found a lot of ways to save on tile and still get the look I wanted, BUT I also went over budget to get high-quality tile in specific spots, as well. For instance, our laundry room tile we got for $3/sqft during Bedrosian’s Black Friday sale… only so I could purchase the $12/sqft hexagon tile in our bathroom.
Tile may be the highest costing finish, however, it is also likely the longest lasting finish. So don’t cheap out too much on something you will spend the next umpteen years looking at.
All of the different tiles in our home:
Hexagon floor tile
Marble herringbone tile
Kitchen backsplash tile
Large format tile
We allocated a lot of our budget to our kitchen. So much so that we actually took budget out of our laundry room and dumped it into our kitchen.
Our kitchen is really large so that alone was going to make the cost soar. But we figured that people buy homes based off kitchens and this wasn’t necessarily the best space to make a lot of cuts. There are still a couple of things I wish we would have done (I don’t love the end of our island and I wish we would have done a picture window over our sink), but ultimately it’s a room I adore walking into.
You can see all of the kitchen specs over here.
Before we even started building we looked at purchasing an old home. While we eventually went the building route, I never forgot about the master bedroom with the french doors in the home we loved and I asked my Dad – our architect – to work it into our design plan.
Ultimately, we added three sets of french doors to our plans. Exterior french doors are a costly add-on yet also a great way to add a traditional look to a new build. It was a planned splurge in my mind!
Since we designed our bathroom to have a focal point above our tub, we splurged and went with a cast-iron tub. A 600 lb 72″ cast-iron tub, mind you. If our layout wouldn’t have had the tub in such a focal point, I think I may gone with a mess costly acrylic tub.
Hear me out – rather than tiling over the step into our shower we used two quartz slabs to create the step. Maybe an odd spot to splurge on, but one that ultimately left our bathroom feeling even more spa-like. It also helped us save time on making difficult cuts with our tile saw.
*Pro tip – Check to see if your local stone seller has ‘stock quartz.’ This type is typically sold in half-slabs vs full slabs and at a much lower cost than other quartz options.*
With a $5000 budget on appliances that put us squarely in a ‘Save’ category. We ended up keeping our microwave and went with a more basic fridge, so we could allocate more money to our oven. This was also the only category we hit our budget.
I don’t want to understate the impact lighting can have on a room, but it can also be upgraded easily in time. If you are on the fence, I would say plan now and make do, while spending on your dream lighting later.
I even ended up creating a dupe of the infamous Serena and Lily sconce. Sometimes a little spray paint can go a long way.
There is a reason vertical shiplap and wainscoting have taken over walls and social media. It adds so much personality to otherwise blank walls. They are relatively simple and kind to your budget, though wall treatments can add up with time. Jenna’s bathroom was the big inspiration behind our guest bath and her DIY Board and Batten tutorial is a great place to see how a bit of time and effort can add up in a big way.
Enter my love of Costco. I know it’s hard to believe that Costco can have vanities that are high-quality and stylish but you can check out our vanities Don’t believe me here is our bathroom vanity and our guest bathroom vanity.
Truthfully, I’m always going to think hardwood floors are best. They add such a beautiful character to any home. But they are also the most expensive and most labor-intensive option. With our ever-growing list of items we were tackling ourselves and my insistence on no-carpet, laminate became the best option for us.
We did look into engineered hardwoods, but I was less than impressed with them and didn’t a big enough benefit for the cost. We still had to be extremely cautious about ever getting them wet and with how much snow we get in Bozeman it was a headache I didn’t want.
We did make sure that our laminate floors were rated for moisture and were embossed. Our exact laminate floors are TAS Equinox Brighton flooring.
Our hardware landed in both categories. I saved on hardware for things like curtains that are high up and you don’t physically touch. These curtain rods look great and hold our heavy-weight curtains up. A win-win.
We allotted for extra budget on hardware we would end up touching every day. You can read all about the vintage hardware we used around our home here.
If you are looking at your home budget and wondering where to even start are three things I would do:
- Write down how you want your home to feel (cozy, grand, modern, etc.)
- Write down how you want to feel in each room (for example: I wanted our bedroom to feel serene)
- Three non-negotiables
Having opinions and dreams is great! However, unless your pockets are bottomless you will more than likely come up against your budget and have to make hard decisions. Keeping focused on specific goals is a great way to help you decide where to save and where to splurge.
Where We Splurged & Where We Saved on Our Home
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