In this article, we help you understand how you feel about your budget, and explain how that relationship will inform your decisions. This is a companion article to “How to Manage Your Renovation Budget” and “How to Manage Your Renovation Costs


You will ease the stress of your budgeting decisions when you integrate how you prioritize and make decisions into the list of what you want, and how much you want to spend. 

At AKA, we have found that our clients fall into two types of budget personalities: “Budget-Oriented” and “Value-Oriented.” Both are valid and not mutually exclusive. Knowing which description fits you the best will help you enjoy a good, and delightful, gut renovation.

Pro tip: You may learn that your budget personality is not what you thought it would be, and that’s ok – make sure to tell your collaborators!

Are you Budget-Oriented?

At AKA, our budget-oriented clients have a defined dollar amount that they will stick to, and they will economize or make tradeoffs to stay within their construction budget. The budget is king. The client’s discipline is not aspirational; it is real.

Wood tabletop with a house plan, toy house, a pink piggy bank, and a magnifying glass.

Tradeoffs are real, too. Most frequently, these clients have a focused and limited area they want gut-renovated: they listen to our advice on how to get the most for their money. Often, these clients view their homes as an investment first, with an eye to changing markets, opportunities, needs, or an eventual sale. Even without these downstream considerations, many other budget-oriented clients have a saving strategy that allows only a finite amount of money for the renovation.

What does success look like for a budget-oriented client?

Success requires that budget-oriented clients clearly communicate their goals before the project begins. This allows AKA to transform their home within a defined budget.

We help our clients:

  • Define their goals and refine their preferences
  • Stay on budget
  • Stay on time
  • Limit options and additions
  • Avoid mission creep (the small additions that add up)

Are you Value-Oriented?

Our value-oriented clients have an open-ended budget or one with wiggle room. These clients know at the outset how much they want to spend. And they realize that they may decide to make some discretionary additions to their gut renovation along the way. They are okay with adjusting the project budget accordingly.

Magnifying glass

For the value-oriented, design is a learning experience, and they have the financial cushion to spend a little more if it will enhance their satisfaction. Most frequently, an extra feature is added to the plan – something that was supposed to be renovated later but is now included to take advantage of economies of scale. Or additional adjustments are envisaged to make light, views, or space improvements.

What does success look like for a value-oriented client?

Success requires that the value-oriented client first communicate what they want to accomplish and articulate how open they are to exploring options. This allows us to accompany them on a learning journey.

With these clients, AKA strives to:

  • Help clients articulate their goals
  • Establish and understand their preferences
  • Present options
  • Put a price on what they value
  • Help them understand scheduling implications
  • Encourage choices with regard to durability, resale value and pleasure

Gut-Renovation Budget Personality Quiz

You will not be graded! Just answer Yes or No.

  1. Do you have a set amount to spend?
  2. Do you want to spend a certain amount, but are willing to spend more if you come across something you want to splurge on?
  3. Are you willing to make hard choices with clarity and confidence?
  4. Do you want to learn more about your tastes in the run-up to your renovation project?
  5. Do you care about the ultimate value of your real estate?

If you answered Yes to 2, 4, 5, you favor a Value-Oriented option.

If you answered Yes to 1, 3, 5, you favor a Budget-Oriented option.

Moving Forward

  • Which type of budget-personality description suits you?
  • What has your experience been?
  • Have you identified any additional elements for success in renovation?

Read our companion articles “How to Manage Your Renovation Budget” and “How to Manage Your Renovation Costs

Are there construction-cost-management strategies you want to share? Add them in the comments below! Do you have other questions about how to manage your construction costs? Contact us, and we may include the answer in a future article!

At AKA, we specialize in transforming homes to increase light views and space; we focus on our clients’ delight!


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Allegra Kochman

Allegra Kochman

About the Author

Allegra has a BA with Honors from Dartmouth College and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University. She aims to write straightforward and practical content for those who want to gut renovate their homes.