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Room addition costs can add up quickly when you consider everything you need to pay for, from purchasing materials to labor costs. You might end up forking out more than you can afford if you do not estimate the cost of your project. 

However, it’s not impossible to execute a quality room addition while staying within budget. 

Here’s how you can save on your renovation budget. 

How much does a room addition cost? 

Room additions can cost anywhere from $20,000 to over $70,000, depending on factors such as:

  • Type of addition – bedroom, kitchen, sunroom, bathroom, family room, laundry room, etc
  • The size and scope of your addition
  • The materials used
  • Your house location
  • Building up vs building out
  • Site preparation, including excavation and demolition
  • Architectural services 
  • Contractor services
  • Clean up services

As such, you will need to have a general idea of what you want to do to get a ballpark figure for your renovations.  

Create a home renovation budget

It’s easy to overspend when it comes to renovations. Creating a home renovation budget will help you avoid breaking the bank. 

Prioritize needs

The simplest way to stay within budget during a room addition is to have in mind what you want even before the renovation starts. First, list down all you would like for the project. Then, separate the list of items into needs and wants. 

Prioritize items you need first and foremost. After that, add on things you would love to have but are not essential. Finally, ask yourself what items you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re ready to splurge on. 

Create a detailed plan with estimated costs

Once you’re clear on your needs, create a plan that includes all expected costs. Talk to your contractor about your budget. Include the following for your cost estimates:

  • Labor costs for architects, engineers, plumbers, and handypersons. 
  • Material costs including fixtures and finishings such as bricks, cement, glass, steel, wood planks, knobs, paint, tiles, flooring, faucets, etc. If you’re getting them delivered, remember to factor in shipping fees and taxes. 
  • Appliances that you will need. Don’t forget installation costs. 
  • Living expenses, if you have to find alternate accommodation during the renovations, or if you have to do without a kitchen for the time being. 
  • Small items such as tape, paintbrushes, drop cloths, small tools etc. While these items may not cost much individually, they do add up. 

estimated costs


Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Request quotations from several contractors

Now that you’ve estimated the costs, find a contractor that can complete your project according to your budget. Ask at least three local companies to put in their bids so that you can compare costs accurately. 

Remember the following when deciding on a contractor: 

  • Check for reviews and references. 
  • Be clear about your budget and project. 
  • Be sure that the contractor understands what you need and is clear on your priorities.
  • Talk about how unforeseen circumstances would affect the budget and how these situations would be approached. 

If your budget is exceptionally small, you may not be able to find an estimate that fits. As such, you might have to forgo some wants or eliminate less important things.

How to save on room addition costs?

If your budget is tiny, here are some ways in which you can save on room addition costs:

Do you own painting

Hiring a professional to paint your room can be tempting as it’s hard work, but it can cost you anywhere from $300 upwards. On the other hand, painting it yourself may take time and energy, but you’ll save quite a bit. 

Order finishings and fixtures yourself

Your contractor may charge to do your shopping and mark up the prices. 

Ordering fixtures and finishings yourself gives you the freedom to choose what you like. 

Additionally, you may find something on sale that you wanted but was out of your budget. Just communicate with your contractor that you’re doing this so that you don’t end up with double the materials.

Do the demolition work yourself

Consider doing demolition work such as pulling up tiles or removing cabinets if you have the knowledge and expertise. This is an excellent way to save on labor costs. 

Shop preloved

If you don’t mind having second-hand items, consider used or refurbished items to reduce the costs of furnishings and appliances. Just make sure that they’re still in good condition before you make the purchase. 

Go green

If you’re replacing appliances, consider energy efficiency. Look for appliances with EnergyStar or WaterSense, which will help you save on utility bills in the long run. 

Try renewable energy such as solar panels or home wind turbines if you’re really keen on cutting energy bills. While you may have to invest quite a bit upfront, it will save you money for years to come. 

Stay organized

Time delays can mean additional costs, so stay as organized as possible. If you’re purchasing materials, have them ready for your contractor. Clear your house of furniture before workers arrive so that you don’t end up paying extra for their time. 

If you have to arrange alternate accommodation during the renovation, booking in advance may help save money too. 

Consider size

Your project size determines how much you have to spend. The bigger the square footage, the more you will have to fork out. If you do not need a big space, cutting your project to a smaller size will help you stay within budget. 

For example, instead of a 12 x 12 feet room, consider cutting back to 10 x 10 feet – you’ll still have a good-sized room. Depending on your location, labor costs and materials used, you can save anywhere from $80 per square foot upwards. 

Build during offseason

Like many industries, construction too has slow and busy times each year. For example, winters tend to be a less popular time to fix the roof. Starting a project during the offseason may help you to stay within budget. 

However, there are, of course, reasons as to why there are off-seasons. Be prepared for unexpected situations and inconveniences with doing offseason construction. 

Pay cash

Paying cash means you’ll be using money that you already have, rather than using a credit card or taking out a loan. Thus, you’ll save on paying interest.

pay cash


Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash


Staying within budget for your room addition project is essential. However, sometimes saving now may cost you extra expenses in the future. For example, contractors who can provide lower costs per sq. ft. may seem like they’re offering you a bargain, but this can result in lower quality work and materials. 

As such, you’re not saving if you have to redo the work after a few years. Be aware of what you need and the areas of the project in which you can reduce costs. Additionally, research, read reviews and interview builders before making your final decision. 

If you’re worried about room addition costs, contact us at Style and Structure – we provide room addition and custom home builder services in Bay Area and San Diego. Read more about the general cost of adding a room to a house to find out what to expect. We can tailor to your needs if you want your room additions to fit a budget.

For inspiration, read 10 Room Addition Ideas for Small Homes.