DIY Project: Things to Think About When Pricing Them Out

A great question I’m often asked at the end of a DIY project is how much did that cost? Anyone planning to DIY a room should set a renovation budget otherwise things can get out of hand rather quickly – even if you are doing it yourself. This is a do what I say not as I do moment. Understanding the full cost of a DIY project before I start is something I definitely need to get better at. My main goal is always to complete  a space for as inexpensively as possible without compromising the quality – that still doesn’t necessarily help for budgeting purposes. So, to help you (and perhaps my future self), Here are some tips as to how to go about creating your DIY project budgets – plus I’m giving the  full cost breakdown of Sloane’s room.

If you’re not here for a breakdown but want to see the actual room reveal and sources – head on over here.

things to consider when costing a DIY project - A big girl room with floral wallpaper, chair rail, box moulding, a white bed frame, blue duvet cover, end tables, and a pouf on the ground plus signed samantha sitting on the bed and her daughter in front of her with her arms up

Room Renovation Costing Step 1

The first step I suggest starting is with is creating your inspiration and mood board. Getting a full game plan in place for your DIY project and kick start your creativity. This also allows you to see a full picture. Because, hey, you might be renovating a whole room, but without a plan your existing furniture may no longer suit the space and that’s an expensive new add on.

Overall, you want to make sure everything will work together and feel cohesive with your DIY project. Some of DIY includes a design component and this is the hardest part for me and often the biggest delay. Of course there will be small changes as you troubleshoot along the way but if you have a general sense of your space and plan you’ll be in a much better position.

I use InDesign for my mood boards but canva is a great free option as well.

Sloane's nursery revamp - the mood board for her big girl bedroom which includes a white bedframe, white end tables, a wallpaper wall with panel moulding and a chair rail

Room Renovation Costing Step 2

Once you have your plan in place, you can start to assess what needs to be done for your DIY project and what needs to be purchased to tackle them.
In the case of Sloane’s room I had:
  • Wallpaper
  • Chair rail
  • Panel moulding
  • Crown moulding
  • New bed
  • End tables
  • Decor
In order for me to price 1-3, I needed to also have the measurements in place. To help visualize what my plan is for all of my DIY projects, I tend to use painters tape and then measure from there. Once your measurements are in place, you’re good to go to the last step.
Sloane sitting in her big girl room with wallpaper on the walls, chair railing, velvet ivory curtains, a blue comforter

Room Renovation Costing Step 3

Once you have your measurements and an identified purchase list for your DIY project, you can start to create a budget using the exact costs you have (decor and wallpaper in the case of Sloane’s room) and some cost estimates (moulding).

  • For Sloane’s room, I had the cost of the wallpaper given I knew the pattern I wanted and the amount I needed and the decor.
  • For the moulding, I know that the typical moulding I purchase is anywhere from $1.50-$3.00 per foot (in Canada). To be on the safe side I typically budget closer to the $3.00 mark.
  • For Sloane’s new bed, I had a budget of under $500 in my head – not sure where it came from but that was it.
  • For her end tables, I had a sense of what I wanted to create and assumed it would be ~$125 for them (the price of the ikea boxes and legs alone came to $75 and the rest was a moulding and top estimate)

As with any renovation, I like to budget a little extra as a buffer – I have no magic formula but I typically set aside an extra $200 depending on the scale of my project.

In this phase I would also include any new tools you might need to complete the project. My unexpected cost was a router – which I am obsessed with and will come in handy on future projects.

costing a DIY project and using this A big girl room with floral wallpaper, chair rail, box moulding, a white bed frame, blue duvet cover, end tables

The Total Cost of Sloane’s Room

This is the part I’m awful at, while I have a general sense of how much the DIY project should cost I never cross check how I did in my budgeting and tally up the cost of everything which I think is equally as important to the budgeting process because this is where I would learn and understand how I could improve my budgeting for next time. I’m in the midst of my next DIY project, yet, I have still gone over the abstract budget I had in my head. For the next next one, I plan to write this down and track it carefully!

Anyways, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: here’s how much Sloane’s DIY room update ended up costing.

  • Wallpaper: $705 (mine was gifted, but for the purposes of this cost-breakdown, I am including it)
  • Chair Rail: $141
  • Panel Moulding: $135
  • Crown Moulding (bought the thinnest, least expensive by far): $94
  • End Tables: $185
  • Paint and Misc. Supplies: $92
  • Router and bits: $200

TOTAL:  $1,552

Here’s how much the additional items cost (decor, etc.)

  • Bed + Frame: $1,100
  • Bed sheets + duvet + duvet insert: $550
  • Decor (drapes, lamps, books, etc.): $650

TOTAL: $2,300

Grand Total: $3852

I hope this helps with planning out your next project!

things to consider when costing a DIY project - A big girl room with floral wallpaper, chair rail, box moulding, a white bed frame, blue duvet cover, end tables, and a pouf on the ground