Affordable Alternatives to High Cost Materials

An updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances.
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Making updates to your home is always exciting, but it can be quite costly. And when you’re making renovations, you want everything to look nice once the project is complete. But does that mean you have to pay top dollar?

While there are some materials that cannot be substituted for something less costly, there are other high-price materials that have affordable alternatives. These simple substitutions provide the beautiful finished product that you crave without the high price tag, so you get the best of both worlds. Keep reading to learn how, and where you can save some money without skimping on the aesthetic aspects of your next home improvement project.

Kitchen Cabinets

A kitchen with wood cabinets.

Switching out kitchen cabinets can be a costly venture, especially if you’re looking for cabinets with a painted finish. However, if you would like white or colored cabinets without the high expense, you can instead take advantage of cabinets with a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) finish. This is a resin that is available in both high gloss or matte finish, resembling paint. These cabinets are available in a multitude of colors and also boast the benefit of durability. Another affordable alternative is thermofoil, which is a plastic material heated and molded over engineered wood. This look replicates that of a run-of-the-mill wooden cabinet.

Gas Fireplaces

A grey and black fireplace.

Gas fireplaces create a serene atmosphere in any home, but they are a costly investment in your family room. To achieve the same goal but spend far less cash, opt instead for an electric model. This saves time, money, and effort researching and meeting code requirements, installing a gas line, and not having to worry about the chimney. This option is also better for the environment and can save you up to $5,000.


An updated kitchen with marble-looking counter tops.

Marble speaks of luxury, making it a highly desired material to use within your home even though it’s a very costly material. Instead of forking over a large amount of cash for this beautiful finish, save and achieve virtually the same look. Large-format porcelain tiles are slabs that look practically identical to expensive marble finishes. These come in multiple prints, giving you the versatility you crave when it comes to interior design. While this alternate material certainly isn’t cheap, it’s significantly more cost-effective than real marble.


Art hanging above a couch.

Everyone loves decorating their walls with beautiful pieces of art, but finding a piece you like and pairing it with framing can get expensive. Especially if you’re looking to fill in wall space. You may not want to spend a bundle on something to hang. To minimize the need for this expense, replace a piece of art with a piece of beautiful wallpaper. This is an inexpensive way to add an accent or statement to a room.

Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors in a family room with a fireplace.

Everyone loves the look of wood floors, but they’re certainly not cheap. However, there are other options that provide the same great look cheaper. For instance, vinyl and laminate floors are great options for something far less costly than wood. Many of these look so realistic that no one would ever know that they’re not wood. This is especially true if you find one of these materials with a texture that follows the look of the wood grain. These are also very durable options, which makes them a great choice for longevity in your home, even for rooms that receive the most foot traffic.


Tile floors in an updated bathroom.

Besides being a great replacement for wood flooring, vinyl and laminate flooring also can be used as a cheap alternative to tile. Because tile requires a great amount of labor to install, vinyl is a less costly option. Certain varieties of vinyl and laminate mimic the look of tile and are very durable, but be sure to consider whether you require the waterproof properties that tile possesses before you opt for this cost-saving material.

These home improvement material alternatives make your projects more affordable without having to sacrifice the updated look you’re going for.