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Redecorating? 8 money-savvy tips for small spaces to big areas


We chatted to the experts to learn about their favourite financial tips for anyone updating their home decor.

Sponsored by humm, the bigger buy now pay later. humm offers limits of up to $30,000 and a big time to pay down purchases, from 5 fortnights to 5 years, always interest free. Learn more.

We've all spent a lot of time inside over the past 18 months so I don't blame you if you're feeling ready for a change of scenery. You deserve it.

But before you start tearing down walls and picking out paint samples, there are a few things every financially-conscious redecorator should think about first. Let's take a look.

Don't rush

"Once you've settled on your renovation or redecoration vision, it can be tempting to get everything finished as fast as possible," said property stylist Ali Broinowski.

However, rushing to the finish line is't always good for finances. According to Ali, moving too quickly often leads to a project coming in over-budget but under-expectations.

"Remember that it's not a race, and by taking the time to search for furniture or fittings that fit your vision, you'll create your dream home without compromising on your bottom line."

A woman looks at colour samples as she thinks how to decorate a room.

Don't scrimp on key pieces

Seasoned house-flipper Kylieanne Simpson renovates and redecorates homes for a second-source of income. Since every dollar impacts her net profit, she's picked up plenty of money-savvy tips. However, there are a few things she won't scrimp on, including versatile pieces of furniture.

"Only spend big on items that look fabulous in every home so when the house is sold it can go with you," she told Finder. "One of my go to pieces is a large white comfortable lounge. It goes in any house and the cost of changing new cushions and throws is minimal to buying a whole new lounge."

While this works perfectly for flipping houses, the same ethos would make it easy to update your decor down the track, without investing in another new piece.

Kylieanne also pointed to buy now pay later providers as a potential option for anyone looking to invest in a new item but reluctant to clean out their savings.

"[You can] purchase new fashionable décor with pay later schemes," she said. "Doing it this way means I can still save money while purchasing some key pieces for the new renovation."

Many prominent furniture and home decor stores allow for buy now pay later, letting customers pay for their purchases in interest-free instalments. For example, over 350 homeware stores accept finance from humm, including IKEA, Myer, and Temple & Webster.

With humm, shoppers can spend up to $30,000 and then spread that cost over a longer time period. Spend $2,000 or less and you'll get 10 weeks to repay, spend more and you could spread your repayments over as many as 60 months.

Buy now pay later at more than 20,000 stores with humm. Spend from $1 to $30,000 - always interest-free.

Go treasure-hunting

One man's trash is another man's (or woman's) treasure. That's the age-old saying that Claire Thrifty, founder of frugal family blog ThrifyParent, reminds herself of when redecorating.

"Keep your eyes out for local jumble sales or house clearances, check out Facebook Marketplace for things for sale locally and find your nearest free-cycling or up-cycling places where you can pick up a bargain," she told Finder.

"Some folks throw away things which, for them, are old but for you would be new. Sometimes they need a bit of TLC but often not even that."

Other hot spots for second-hand treasures include vintage stores, antique shops, auctions, and even online community groups.

An antique store.

Look for value-add

If you're a home-owner, you should always ask yourself whether the additions you're making could potentially add value to your home.

Of course, it's your home and you can do what you like with it, but making permanent changes that don't appeal to the masses might come back to bite you if you ever decide to sell.

According to Finder's property guru Sarah Megginson, kitchens, bathrooms, and extra bedrooms can add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of a property, if they're done well.

"If you own your home and are planning on redecorating or renovating, I'd recommend doing some research into what adds value. Or, equally important, what can harm its value," she said.

"Changing the floorplan to add another bathroom or bedroom will likely add value. Investing in landscaping like retaining walls and concreting will make the home look neater and more presentable, but won't necessarily add any value."

Try DIY, but know when to hire a tradie

Some DIY jobs are easy, effective, and don't need much equipment. In cases like that, Bowens builder Matthew Menichelli said he would happily encourage the average Aussie to give it a go.

"Sometimes a simple upgrade to furniture, like replacing handles or a lick of paint can make all the difference in a space," said Matthew. "Older timber furniture can be easily updated with a quick sand and application of a new stain to bring it back to life."

However, Matthew also says redecorators should be careful not to bite off more than they can chew. Attempting tasks that require formal training is not only dangerous but can also end up more costly as you may have to pay for professionals to repair your handiwork.

"With any project that requires changes to structural features, plumbing or electrical works, always hire a qualified professional," he said. "This ensures the job is done the right way, quickly and most importantly, safely."

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Look for energy efficiencies

If you find yourself upgrading any electricals or other appliances, always take its energy efficiency rating into consideration. Yes, a high-rating may make the item more expensive, but it could pay off in the long-run. Not only with cheaper bills, but with a kinder environmental impact.

"Given appliances can account for up to 30% of your home energy use, spending time and money on energy-efficient electricals will likely lead to financial gains in the long run," said Mariam Gabaji, Finder's in-house energy expert.

Let's look at a one-door, 300 litre fridge as an example. According to the government's energy rating calculator, if the fridge was rated with one star, it would cost approximately $122 to run every year. If it had a ten-star rating, its annual running costs would be closer to $12.

Look for deals

Keep your eyes peeled for deals and promotions that could lower your overall outgoings. You can shop through cashback sites to claim cash back on your purchases, sign up to newsletters for introductory offers, or install a browser extension that automatically scans for discounts.

These tips apply to any online shopping but with redecorating and renovating typically leading to higher-dollar purchases, a 10% discount can easily lead to savings of hundreds of dollars.

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Always compare

You didn't think you were going to make it through this article without me banging on comparisons, did you? Come on, that's our bread and butter!

Seriously though, comparisons can save you heaps of money and score you a better quality product or service too. Compare everything. Compare quotes from your tradies, compare your finance providers, compare your paint suppliers, compare everything!

Name Product Interest rate (p.a.) Min. loan amount Max. loan amount Establishment Fee Credit Check Required?
humm  ($1 - $1,999)
$0 (Up to $90 on bigger purchases)
humm ($2,000 - $30,000)
$90 ($35 to $90 only applicable when applying for over $2,000.)

Compare other Buy Now Pay Later providers here

Disclaimer: This is general advice only. Consider the product information (including its terms and conditions) and your own circumstances before you make any decision about the topics or products discussed. Compare your options and get advice if you are uncertain. Hive Empire Pty Ltd ACL 385509; CAR 432664.
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