Interior Design Plan

Design Budgets


Budget Setting; or why does everything I like cost so much??

There are many types of jobs which we as designers attempt to tackle. Some customers start with a completely empty room and “builder white” walls. They have no furniture, rugs or art work. Usually this is a younger person or couple entering a new house. They may have a vision or a photo from a magazine which inspires them, but often not. They do not know how much anything will cost or how to proceed. What should be their first purchase?

The second customer has been in his or her home for years and now wishes to update. This could take the form of replacing old, tired furniture and outdated styles with a fresh look. They may want to upgrade on finishes, draperies or go for a complete renovation. They also have no idea how much to allocate for this project. Everything is more expensive this time around.

Customer number three is downsizing. This is often the hardest of all. They have accumulated years of memorabilia, furnishings, art and rugs. Now they are moving to a new location, possible out of state and nothing works anymore. Its all too big, heavy and dark. They can become the most frustrated of all because they have to spend more money to have less.

Decorating is like buying a car. You can buy an old used Chevy or a new custom Bentley. Then there is something wonderful in the middle. Decorating often involves compromises. We may spend more on one spectacular piece and cheat in a less important spot. But it is still important to start somewhere. When I ask the question, “how much are you comfortable spending on this project?”; the response can be “I don’t know, how much will it cost?” I prefer the response to be “how much can we reasonably get done for “X” dollars?” What are the priorities? There are always choices. Obviously painted walls will
cost much less than silk wallpaper. Can we allocate certain amounts of money over time? Budgeting is an important part of any design or decorating project and it is very easy to exceed the projected amount. The designer is responsible for keeping budgets on track, and advising the client of any impending up charges or overages that will ultimately affect the bottom line.

The goal should be to keep costs under control with careful planning, education and open dialog between the client, designer and contractor.