Money Matters

How Much Should You Spend On A Renovation Project?

Determine the extent of work and allocate your budget wisely

Original Article: Katherine Lopez Photography: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions Pictorial Direction: Nat Clave Styling: Tala Singson

When homeowners decide to renovate their spaces, the reasons and allotted budget vary. Some want to expand the house to add more rooms, others want to update the style and design of the space, and there are a few who simply want to work on a few minor improvement projects.

According to architect Love de Leon, the extent of the renovation depends on the homeowner. Whether you’re thinking of replacing the roof, tearing down walls, or building an extra bathroom, it all boils down to the money you have on hand and the extra amount you’re willing to spend to see the project through. To help you spend wisely and prepare for a renovation, Love gives the following tips:

1. Carefully plan the project.

It’s important that you identify the area you wish to renovate. Love says that a home renovation creates a “domino effect” where the other areas eventually get renovated as well. Prioritize an area that’s in dire need of a new look or a new set of fixtures. Doing so can greatly improve how you use and maximize your space.

If you’re revamping the whole house, consider the possibility of moving out and staying in a temporary home during construction.

2. Coordinate with a designer.

He or she can help you finalize a theme as well as make the most of the budget you have. It’s also important that you have an open communication to avoid errors and to achieve transparency. For her client presentations, Love prepares 2D and 3D drawings, as well as swatches. She also makes sure that the homeowners sign off on the chosen material to be used.

3. Set aside a budget and inform the design professional about it.

Yung designer, kailangang magbigay din ng options to fit the homeowner’s budget,” shares Love. As much as possible, prepare a contingency fund to cover for unexpected costs and extra materials. Keep in mind that the cost will depend on the extent of the renovation.

In one of Love’s projects, a 100sqm house, the owners spent P1.2 million pesos in total. It’s a multi-storey property that has three bedrooms and four toilet and baths. Given the budget, they were able to replace all existing finishes, flooring, and ceiling; rewire the electricity, and update the sanitary fittings, to name a few. If you are working on a 30sqm studio, it’s best to prepare P360,000 for the replacement of all existing finishes

4. Allocate your budget accordingly with the help of your designer.

Keep in mind that your budget covers the flooring, paint jobs, ceiling, and other works. “Unless may itatayong structure, most of the budget goes to architectural works: ceiling, flooring, painting, cabinetry, and lighting fixtures. Plumbing is usually 10 percent of the total cost, and electrical is usually 15 percent,” says Love.

Depending on the extent of work that needs to be done, here’s how you can properly allocate your budget according to Love:

Finishing Works—70%

  • Doors—3%
  • Windows—4%
  • Steel Works—3.5%
  • Wall Finishes—20%
  • Floor Finishes—5%
  • Ceiling Finishes—20%
  • Roof and Gutters—6.5%
  • Kitchen—8%


  • Ground Floor Toilet & Bath—5%
  • Second Floor Master’s T&B—5%
  • Second Floor Toilet & Bath—5%
  • Fixtures and Accessories—2%
  • Toilet & Bath Waterproofing—3%


  • Electrical Rough-ins—4%
  • Switches and Outlets—2%
  • Lighting Fixtures—4%

Total Accomplishment: 100%

5. Take note of labor.

This usually depends on the setup agreed upon by the homeowner and designer. “If cost plus, ang homeowner ang magbabayad, pero supervised ng designer. Pag may contractor, arawan yun, and it’s 35 to 38 percent of the total project cost,” says Love.

Read the original article in the September 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. You can also download a digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

More on

5 Reasons Why Renovating Costs Go Up

Renovation 101: Increase your Home's Property Value

Renovation 101: Helpful Reminders and Tips


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