8 Easy Budget Friendly Material Swaps You May Not Have Thought Of

Design: Jesswan Interior

Renovating your dream abode does not have to cost an arm or a leg. In fact, here is how you can stretch your dollar by choosing easy, affordable alternatives while maintaining that “atas” look, with 8 easy material swaps.

#1: Swap out wallpaper with no frills matte wall paint

Design: Design NEU

Wallpaper treatment costs around a hundred onwards for a roll, depending on the country of its origin. Hence, using such wall treatment can easily set you back by a few thousand dollars, after factoring the wastage incurred during the installation process. In contrast, using no frills matte wall paint is the easiest and the most economical way to add personality or refresh a stale looking apartment. If you have a strict budget, steer clear of the premium paints that come with anti-mosquito, air-purifying, or odourless properties, which costs around 50% to 60% more than the no frills matte paint (that costs around $50 per 5 litre).

Do you know?
The Korean wallpaper typically provides ~13 square meters practical coverage per roll as compared to the European wallpaper, which provides ~4 square meters practical coverage per roll.

#2: Swap out marble with homogeneous tiles for flooring

Design: Team ID

Depending on the thickness, grade, size, colour, vein and country of origin, the cost of marble tiles is around $10 to $70 or more per square foot, without factoring in the additional charges for cutting the specific marble and installation. On the other hand, the marble look-alike homogeneous tiles, are available in a wide variety of hyper-realistic marble vein designs and colours, at a significantly lower cost of around $9 to $15 per square foot.

Do you know?
Cultured marble is a faux, man-made marble. It is made of pulverised natural marble dust, synthetic resins and color dye, coated with a clear, hard, glossy protective gel. Also known as cast polymer, cultured marble is a slightly cheaper alternative to natural marble.

#3: Swap out solid wood with plywood for wood works

Design: Escapade Studios

Solid wood is the strongest when compared to engineered wood. However, using solid wood requires greater skills to prevent expansion, contraction, warping and tearing during the wood works while it has been fabricated into furniture. Therefore, using solid wood is usually the most expensive, in terms of the material and the labour involved. Nevertheless, due to the cross-laminated construction, the multi-plywood can also be considered a strong alternative. Its strength is dependent on the number of odd layers used; the more odd layers used, the stronger it is.

Do you know?
An odd number of layers are normally used for plywood to reduce warping and increase strength.

#4: Swap out natural wood with composite wood for balcony decking

Design: M Squared Dezign

Although the composite wood lacks the natural look and colour, it is far more durable, has better weather and slip resistance and requires lesser maintenance. Although it costs far more than natural wood initially, when the time and the money saved in the long run is factored in, composite wood is actually cheaper. Therefore, composite wood decking is far more worthwhile an investment when compared to using natural wood.

Do you know?
Composite wood is fused with other materials, such as high density polyethylene, to make it even more durable and termite resistant. Unlike natural wood, it does not have splinters and will not rot or mould in humid climates. As UV stabiliser has been added during the manufacturing process, its color does not fade when exposed to direct sunlight.

#5: Swap out quartz with granite for kitchen countertop

Design: Neu Konceptz

Quartz, a form of engineered stone, is made from a mix of recycled crushed stone particles and plastic resin polymer which bind them together. Due to its durability, heat, scratch and stain-resistant properties, quartz is a popular choice as the kitchen countertop. In addition, it is also hardy which requires little maintenance. In terms of cost, a 20mm quartz countertop costs around $80-85 per foot run. Nonetheless, the material which has the closest profile as the quartz is granite. Depending on the colour and grain, the granite only costs around $75-80 per foot run.

Do you know?
Quartz is susceptible to discolouration as its epoxy break down in the sunlight. Therefore, quartz is not recommended if your kitchen countertop is constantly exposed to strong UV light due to the western sun. In addition, direct high heat will also leave unsightly markings on the quartz countertop and therefore, heat pads must be used at all times.

#6: Swap out ceramic tiles with aluminium for kitchen backsplash

Image from IKEA

Depending on the thickness, design and manufacturing country origin of the ceramic tiles cost around from $9 to $15 per square foot. However, using ceramic tiles as the kitchen backsplash will also mean that you need more effort to get rid of nasty food spills and grease, which are trapped in the tile grout lines. A better alternative will be using brushed aluminium, which costs around $7.5 per square foot.

Do you know?
Aside from being water and steam resistant, aluminium backsplash is also anti-bacterial and fire resistant, and is one of the easiest material to install. Also, the modern aluminium backsplash comes in many different finishes and a variety of colours, to match your interior space.

#7: Swap out glass with acrylic for sliding door

Design: Aestherior

Using the glass sliding door in the kitchen or bathroom is a very sought-after choice among homeowners since it is elegant, durable and very easy to maintain. It also comes in many types of material selection; tempered, tinted, wire mesh etched, and patterned glass. In terms of physical properties, acrylic has the most similar attributes, allowing just as much light to pass through. However, acrylic is available in a wide rainbow of colours, is generally more affordable, lighter and more durable.

Do you know?
A standard glass door costs from $700-$1000 onwards, depending on its thickness, dimensions, design and how many panels are needed.

#8: Swap out solid surface with acrylic for bathtub

Design: Ethereall

The material used for a solid surface bathtub resembles that of the engineered natural stone countertop, such as cultured marble, granite and onyx. Moreover, the solid surface bathtub is popular in the market due to lesser floor loading issues, since it is not as heavy as the bathtub made from natural stone. However, bathtubs made of acrylic are a more budget-friendly option, since acrylic can be easily moulded into a variety of modern shapes, sizes and also, much lighter than a typical solid surface bathtub.

Do you know?
Abrasive cleaning agents or tools may scratch the surface of the acrylic bathtub and over time, it will lose its glossy surface protective layer. Hence, be sure to check with the manufacturer on the correct cleaning agents and tools to use.


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