First up, it pays to do the numbers
A new kitchen or bathroom can mean a hefty outlay, writes Carolyn Boyd.
The cost of a new bathroom or kitchen can vary widely, depending on the level of finishes you choose, the size of the space and how much you want to splash out on luxuries.
But if you are planning a full renovation of your main bathroom, you'll need to budget between $9588 and $24,990 - and generally less for an ensuite. A kitchen - without the appliances - is likely to set you back $10,608 to $31,722, according to the 2013 Cost Guide for architectural advisory service Archicentre.
Prices include plastering, painting, wiring, plumbing, moving or replacing windows, renewing fittings and fixtures, cabinetry and tiling, or installing other splashbacks and surfaces.
However, the estimate doesn't include carpets, drapes, building or removing internal walls to modify the layout of rooms, fixing stormwater drainage, and adding or relaying external paving after plumbing works.
David Crane, chief executive of Winning Appliances, says customers generally spend between $5000 and $15,000 on kitchen appliances - although prices can stretch into six figures for top-of-the-range choices.
In demand are induction cooktops - liked because they are easy to clean, generate less heat in the kitchen and, when not in use, their flat glass surface can double as extra bench space.
Homeowners are also continuing to show an interest in combination steam ovens, which start from about $2300.
When Scott Walker and his young family were renovating their inner-west home, built in 1900, they saved money by ordering a flatpack Italian kitchen through Miton in Alexandria, and Blanco appliances from GraysOnline. Walker and his wife, Kate, designed the kitchen themselves, then worked with the kitchen supplier to finesse the measurements.
The cabinets - including soft-closing drawers - cost about $12,000 unassembled. As Walker runs his own handyman business, he had the know-how to put them together.
The Carrara marble island benchtop, which houses the dishwasher, was about $5000 installed, the mirrored splashback another $1500. The oven and dishwasher were about $3000 together - roughly half their retail price.
Walker says it took a while for the right appliances to become available on the auction website, but as they had plenty of time they were able to wait. The family is pleased with the finishes they have achieved for the price.
"I'd say that's pretty cheap for the quality of kitchen," says Walker.
As the kitchen is on the upper level of the Stanmore home, the couple added in a large bi-fold picture window in the adjoining dining room to bring in light and achieve a connection with the outdoors. They also chose a mirrored splashback to make the area feel more spacious.
The Walkers are considering a move overseas, so are now auctioning their four-bedroom, two-bathroom home through Rob Clarke and Michael Field of Belle Property Annandale.
Ian Agnew, state manager for Archicentre, says now is the time to act for people ready to undertake major renovations.
"Things are picking up, and once the market is flying, to find a good builder is basically impossible," he says. "Pretty soon, all of the good builders, you won't get near them."
WHAT IT WILL COST
Full bathroom (including tiling,
fittings and fixtures):
$9588 - $24,990
Kitchen (excluding appliances): $7650 - $28,662
TRADE LABOUR RATES
Bricklayer $39 - $57 (per hour)
Carpenter $39 - $55
Plumber and gas fitter $46-$61
Based on continuous work over
several days. Add up to 50 per cent extra for smaller jobs.
Source: Archicentre Cost Guide,