Where to spend and where to save

Young couple planning together their new kitchen in a home diy store

For the majority of home buyers, not just first-time buyers, the deposit can take up a huge chunk of your savings. With the Bank of Scotland recording an average deposit for a first-time buyer in Scotland in 2020 at £31,257, this doesn’t leave too much room for home improvements. With the new 5% mortgage scheme announced by the Government this year, you could find yourself not having to save as much for a deposit as you originally expected. Although, if you’re buying a property that requires some TLC, you may still need to weigh up which areas you can focus your remaining savings on.

That’s where s1homes can help. As the biggest property site in Scotland, we’ve got some great advice when it comes to where to spend and where to save when planning your home improvements. These are things you can consider when you’re searching for, and even after you’ve purchased your new home.

Where you focus your savings and which areas you decide to prioritise is ultimately a personal choice, but hopefully, we can give you some food for thought.

Where to spend

This can mean different things for different people. It doesn’t necessarily mean spending the most money in terms of overall price, it could mean spending a little bit extra on something small which will add an extra element of luxury to your home. For example, if you’re planning on redoing the flooring throughout your home, you could consider adding some underfloor heating to areas such as the kitchen and bathroom, or even the entire ground floor. You could also upgrade your kitchen appliances to smarter, more energy efficient ones that may cost more initially but will save you money in the long run.

It could also mean spending a lot of money on things you may not see but are needed, like repairs or maintenance such as making sure your home is properly insulated.

When you’re working with a limited budget it’s important to decide whether you want to split that budget across the entire home, doing little improvements in each room, or deciding to focus on one or two rooms, doing them right and to a spec you like and then saving for the rest.

If you opt to focus on one room first and intend for the majority of your budget to be used here, rooms to consider investing in are the kitchen and bathroom. Two of the most expensive rooms in any home to upgrade, but ones that you’ll get the most use out of. The kitchen is the heart of the home and is an area that is worth spending a little extra on. Depending on the space you have, it doesn’t just need to be where you cook your meals. You could add additional seating for dining or even an area to chill out in – making it more of a social area.

If your budget is tight and you’re looking for a relatively basic kitchen and layout, why not treat yourself to some luxury tiles for a statement splashback or even some higher end plumbing fixtures that will not only look good but make life a little easier like an instant boiling water tap.

The bathroom is a room that you’ll use constantly, so it can be worth investing your time and money in here. Either through functionality by redoing the layout to add both a shower and a bath, or through luxury finishes like the fixtures and tiling here too. If this is the room where you find yourself retreating to after a long day at work or simply for 5 minutes of peace, spending a little more money here will be worth it. Also, investing in these two rooms could potentially help sell your home quickly in the future.

Other areas of investment that could add value to your property are things like adding extensions, structural changes to add more rooms or renovating loft space.

Where to save

No matter what your budget, you can refresh any room with some creative thinking. When it comes to the bedrooms you can work wonders with some paint, wallpaper and some new soft furnishings. As a rule, focus on bedrooms that you actually use first, and if you have kids, you may need to turn your attention here before starting on your own bedroom. Even a DIY novice can handle painting a room, and if you’re feeling adventurous why not add a statement wall in a bold colour or patterned wallpaper? Furnishing a room can be expensive, but why not try your hand at upcycling some pieces? Furniture paint is really popular and comes in a variety of colours and can be pretty easy to use. Don’t forget the walls too, add some framed artwork or even photographs to make it feel more personal.

Your garden is another place that you can transform on a budget. Adding a new seating area, painting any decking or fencing and adding some colour with plants. This is also an area you can put off until a later date, such as the lead up to summer when you can really benefit from it. If you move home in winter, your priority should be inside the home rather than outside.

We have some great advice on refreshing your rooms on a budget at s1homes.com/blog so check it out for more ideas.


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