How best to maximise the impact of your refurbishment on a low budget

Refurbishing your property doesn’t always have to be a costly endeavour. Many business owners assume that to give their premises a makeover, they’ll have to spend a lot of money and make drastic changes however, this isn’t always the case. There are countless tips and tricks that Interior Designers use to transform a space on a small budget, whether it’s a lick of paint or changing the lighting.

As Interior Designers, we’ve had a wide range of experience with refurbishments over the years from complete redesigns to helping to refresh a space with a few simple changes. We’ve also seen a lot of mistakes that have been made when people try to cut corners with their property refurbishment. Here are our tips for maximising the impact of your refurbishment even when on a low budget.

• Making changes to decorations, window dressings, and soft furnishings is the most cost-effective way to transform your space, and you’ll be surprised how much difference small details can make.

• If you’re on a tight budget, refurbishing and reusing existing furniture and fixtures is the perfect solution, breathing new life into old pieces and saving money as you go. New upholstery will transform seating and tables can be polished or painted to look fresh.

• Avoid renewing floors if possible. Timber and tile floors can easily be refurbished, and a clever designer will consider those existing features when specifying the rest of the scheme. Make them a feature of the property and base all design considerations around the aspects that are harder to change, this will help with inspiration for your refurbishment and will avoid the cost and mess of a new floor!

• Reuse existing light fittings. Although it’s tempting to get rid of light fittings and buy in new ones, a lot can be achieved by simply changing the bulbs to a different tone or wattage as well as changing the lamp shades. If you want to go a step further, have the light fittings sprayed with a different colour or finish to completely transform their appearance and leave them looking as good as new.

• Avoid structural works where ever possible. Aside from the cost of lintels and structural beams, there are structural engineers’ fees and building regulation application fees to take into consideration which can add up quickly. When undergoing structural works there is always the possible need to alter existing services such as plumbing or electrical wiring which again, can become costly.

• Avoid works that will require planning permission, for example, any alterations to the exterior or changing the use of the premises. This will result in the need to pay planning fees and other potential fees for specialist advice and statements. This is especially relevant if your site is listed or in a conservation area as you will need to submit for listed building consent, which will require a heritage statement from a professional heritage expert.

• Don’t be tempted to cut corners by not hiring specialists. Although it’s tempting to think you can save money by taking on the roles of project manager, quantity surveyor, principal designer, and client this will backfire more often than not. You will likely find both your budget and programme of works spiralling out of control. A solid design team will always maximise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a project as they are professionals that do this day in, day out. The cost of their fees will almost always pay for itself as opposed to “going it alone”. Any construction or refurbishment work to commercial premises is plagued with pitfalls to the inexperienced, so don’t take the risk!

• Don’t be tempted to save money by using domestic-grade products over commercial grade. Although domestic is cheaper, it is not manufactured to the same level and will likely suffer breakages or failures more easily, resulting in additional costs to replace or repair the items. This is especially relevant in the case of soft furnishings and window dressings as they do not have the correct fire rating or surface spread rating for use in commercial premises. If a fire were to break out, you might find yourself facing legal issues as well as problems with your insurance if you`re fixtures and fittings are not up to a commercial standard.

Take a look at the before and after shots of Mist Bar, a project we have recently completed on a small budget.



If you’re refurbishing your commercial property and would like the help of our experienced Interior Design team email, or call 0161 228 0558.