10 Spending Mistakes To Avoid When Updating Your Primary Bedroom

An asian chinese teenage boy painting his bedroom, apartment renovation during sunset.

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Perhaps you’ve been living with the same bedroom design and decor for years and you need a refresh. Or maybe your new work-from-home situation has you wanting a more private space than the kitchen table. Whatever the reason for updating your primary bedroom, it’s important to keep your project from turning into a money pit. 

Here are 10 spending mistakes to avoid — straight from interior design and building experts. 

Related: 4 Expensive Home-Remodeling Mistakes To Avoid
Also See: 7 Spending Mistakes To Avoid When Updating Your Living Room

Not Researching and Setting a Realistic Budget

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for a bedroom remodel — including labor, design, construction and inspection — is $20,000.

Buying Windows or Doors Without Considering Energy Efficiency

“When budgeting for a bedroom renovation, it’s important to factor in all of the associated costs, such as materials, labo , and design fees,” said Dan Wiener, founder and lead interior designer for Homedude. “Skimping on any of these can lead to a costly mistake. The best way to avoid any surprises is to create a realistic budget and then stick to it.”

According to HomeAdvisor, a window can cost from $100 to $1,500 and a door can cost from $500 to $5,000.

If you’re buying new windows or doors, make sure they’re energy-efficient,” said David Mason, an interior designer and the owner of The Knobs Company. “This will help you save money on your energy bills in the long run.”

More Advice: 10 Spending Mistakes To Avoid When Updating Your Home Office

DIY Vaulted Ceilings

“Although vaulted ceilings can make a room feel bright and open when done properly, it can also lead to temperature and moisture problems, depending on your environment,” advised Dayna Tooman, designer for Studio Z Architecture. “Most people don’t know that you need ample space in the ceiling for insulation. Skimping on this can lead to a too cold or hot room and potential costly moisture issues down the line. Also, you should consult an architect or structural engineer before removing any framing members.”

Installing a vaulted ceiling in your bedroom is a huge expense. It costs about $60 per square foot, on average, to install a 300-square-foot vaulted ceiling, according to HomeAdvisor. While you likely can cut costs by doing the project yourself, it’s not advisable. Afterward, if you decide to make your DIY vaulted ceiling flat due to moisture and temperature issues, typical costs are $1,030 to $2,290, according to HomeAdvisor.

Not Planning for Furniture Placement

Furnishing a bedroom can cost you from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of pieces you choose.

“It’s hard to tell visually when you’re in the space, but measuring will save you from a headache when the king-sized bed won’t fit with two nightstands,” Tooman said. “You also want to account for the locations of any existing windows in the room. If you’re adding windows to your primary bedroom to provide more natural light, make sure you have planned out your furniture placement before doing so.”

Wiener added, “One of the most common mistakes people make is not measuring their space before buying furniture. This can lead to all sorts of problems, from having to order new furniture because the old furniture doesn’t fit to having to completely redo the renovation because it doesn’t look how you wanted it to.”

Buying Cheap, Low-Quality Furniture 

“Just because something is affordable doesn’t mean it’s a good value,” Wiener said. “Cheap, low-quality furniture is often made from materials that are not very durable and will not last long.

“This can be a costly mistake, as you may end up having to replace the furniture sooner than you anticipated. When it comes to bedroom furniture, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for so invest in pieces that will last for years.”  

You can potentially spend less than $1,000 when furnishing your bedroom, but it’s a waste of money if you have to replace your furniture within a few years instead of a decade or more. 

Buying Expensive Furniture on a Whim

“Some homeowners are so excited to start buying furniture and decorating their bedroom that they end up purchasing the first piece they fall in love with,” said Ana R., co-founder and chief editor of Design Ideas Guide. “Most people generally start with large pieces like bed frames, dressers and the like. The problem with this approach is that you are now anchored to this style and color. If you find other pieces that complement each other but not this original purchase, they will automatically be excluded from consideration.

Extra Tips: 10 Spending Mistakes To Avoid When Updating Your Kitchen

“Before making any major investments, you’ll want to consider your preferred interior design styles, start shopping around and laying out the pieces that catch your eye. By planning your bedroom layout and furniture ahead of time, you can potentially save yourself thousands of dollars, hours of frustration and the terrible feeling of buyer’s remorse.”

Overspending on Accessories

“It can be tempting to buy lots of fancy bedding, pillows and other accessories; but, in most cases, these aren’t necessary,” Wiener said. “Focus on investing in the essentials first, then add on extras later if needed.”

Luxury bedding sets can cost hundreds of dollars, while high-quality pillows can cost $40 to over $300 each. If you buy additional accessories, such as accent pillows or curtains, you can easily spend hundreds more. 

Geometric Accent Walls

You can expect to pay between $80 and $200 to paint an accent wall in your bedroom and between $35 and $150 per square foot if you hire someone to paint a mural on a wall in your bedroom. 

“People love to add a pop of color or pattern with a geometric accent wall,” Tooman said. “We suggest using removable wallpaper rather than breaking out the painter’s tape. When you’re ready to paint over it in the future, it will be hard to cover the lines that you painted and can become costly to fix.”

Not Getting Recommendations for Custom Millwork Designers

The cost of custom millwork is hard to estimate because it depends on the designer, the materials and the pricing. 

“Any custom millwork is another component that can get pricey,” said Dylan Murray of Murray Craft Builders. “Getting personal recommendations for designers/millworkers/contractors is important. Make sure you are involved in the design process and that you are giving the final approval on the shop drawings of what will be built. Once the shop drawings are approved, the millwork goes into production and it’s too late to make changes.”

Not Seriously Considering Electrical Components

The average cost to install a single electrical outlet is $210, according to HomeAdvisor. Opening walls and running wires can cost $3,500 to $8,000.

“We have been redoing a lot of bedrooms during the pandemic to add outlets and lighting to make bedrooms more flex space for offices,” Murray said. “When you are renovating a bedroom, you need to put serious thought into the electrical components. The wires need to be snaked in the walls, so it can be costly to do this (or redo this) once the walls are closed.

“Do you have enough outlets for charging your phone and plugging your computer in? Is the TV in the correct location? Is the office nook a long-term decision or should it be designed as a flex space? Mistakes happen when you move too quickly and make decisions without thinking them through. Adding outlets and redoing electrical work can cost thousands.”

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, Aol, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

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