Congratulations! You made it til the very end. Don’t zip up those leather boots yet hun, we have one more thing to discuss… Making a realistic budget.
We all have given some thought to how much this is going to cost. But now, with this step we need to determine how much we are willing to spend. Without determining a budget you are driving down a dead end road. Your budget will guide you in the directions that you need to source your furniture and accessories. Your budget will determine what you can and cannot do at this point of your decorating project. It will end up answering a lot of questions, and help you make decisions. No matter the size of the budget, it is imperative that you put a number on this entire project.
Most people have absolutely no idea how much it costs to redesign and decorate. I have been told by people that they have about $1000, all the way up to 80 grand to design one room. While I can certainly design circles around what you may want in any room with $80,000, the $1000 may be very tough, to impossible, to pull off. I do realize how sensitive the subject about money is, so I don’t want to offend anyone. You can certainly refresh a room with $1000. I’m talking new paint, pillows, draperies and the right art and accessories can work wonders. However, if you think you can score new furnishings, and make build changes such as recessed lighting, you may need to think a little bit higher or accumulate more funds to make your decorating project a success.
So what’s the magic number for US? Well, that also depends. When I sit down with my clients I use varying factors to help them come up with their budget. It has a lot to do with their age, familial status, what they want to achieve, and financial abilities.
A few years back, I saw the need for a guide. A spending guide of sorts on how much furniture really cost. I realized that many people who are not in the profession of interior design, had no clue on how much furniture cost. A lot of homeowners became disenchanted by popular media, television, blogs, and the advanced do-it-yourselfers. I saw more and more people thinking that all design projects cost less than what they really cost. It was not rare for someone to bring me a magazine cover, and tell me firmly, that we can achieve the same look for no less than 75% of what I believed the cost would be. When I was younger in my design profession I would try very hard to pull this off. What I ended up with was hot glued art projects, 50% of the furniture from garage sales, lack of professional delivery for furniture, and weekend trips to IKEA and Target. Again, please do not take offense to that last sentence. I just believe that some of those projects that I designed back in the day are not how I left them. Some of those same homeowners may now even be looking for new furniture to replace what we placed in their houses back then.
With that information and experience under my belt, I felt the need to find an understandable and easily translatable furniture guide.
With much research, combined with other furniture cost guides I came up with this:
You can get the entire room by room guide by clicking this link: GET THE FURNITURE GUIDE/BUDGETING TOOL
This tool will help simplify the process while you’re building your own personal budget. While I do think that this tool is pretty handy, it is not the end-all be-all for helping you create that design budget and coming up with the magic number. There are other things to think about such as labor, installation costs, and other materials that you’ll need to pull this off.
So how do I come up with a budget number for my clients, you ask? I typically start with asking. I simply say:
“How much do you want to spend on your design project?” Then I usually get an answer of:
“How much do you think it will cost to make my house look like this?” Then I say:
“It totally depends on where we shop, and source products from. It also depends on how fast we need them in the quality of furnishings that you want.” Then, they stay:
“I have no idea how much something like this should cost.” Which is true, homeowners don’t redesign their living spaces every day, like us designers design space is for homeowners every day.
Then, I typically say that
“Most people have an idea of the neighborhood they want to be in.” I then throw out a number just to test the waters. I would say something like:
“Were you thinking of spending $100,000 on your project?” Then wait for reaction.
After I do that, then most people would say well maybe we were thinking something like $25,000 or $10,000, or whatever. Once I throw out a number that is either crazy expensive, it’s typically gets the budget ball moving.
I am telling you as a homeowner to play the same game with yourself and your significant other. Throw out some numbers, or write down some numbers on a piece of paper. Open up pick one up, and see how you react to it. This will tell you honestly what you may have been already thinking.
I realize that is lot easier to be honest with yourself than it is with a professional you may be working with for the first time. But, once the homeowner is forthcoming about their thoughts on a budget, the quicker the project will progress and the easier decisions will be to make. If you are way off with your numbers, don’t give up, just schedule and plan your project as your budget allows. One more note – labor costs are never what you think they should be. Projects are typically 40-60% higher than our initial assessments.
Using my shopping list from earlier, the above guide, and the below form, I allocate parts of the final number that I came up with as my final budgeting guide.
You can get your full copy of this sheet in the e-book 12 Steps In Designing Your Interiors.
Last Step…. EXECUTION.
Alright party people, we’ve beaten up the planning portion of this project to death, and we know we know what we’re ordering and we are ready to hit the streets. With all this buildup, you may feel like you have absolutely no idea what to do next! You execute silly!
Let’s talk about an execution time line. I have below outlined this list, so that you can come up with an execution plan that will help you progress flawlessly, or almost flawlessly. First, list the projects that are necessary to complete you design, then go back and number them in an order that makes sense.
My suggested project sequence:
1. Finalize CAD Drawings (if applicable)
2. Obtain permits (if applicable)
3. Shop/Order/Set Up Storage for your furnishings. (this is the FUN step)
5. Framing/Plumbing/Gas/Electrical Wiring
8. Trim Installation
11. Cabinet/Appliance Installation
12. Tile Walls/Backsplash
13. Hardware Installation
14. Install Plumbing Fixtures
15. Have Floors Finished
16. Install Light Fixtures
17. Area Rugs Installed
18. Window Treatments Installed
19. Large Furniture Pieces Installed
20. Art/Accessories Placed
21. Edit, touch up.
Once you have listed the necessary projects, set a completion date as a goal. This is one way to keep the project moving and on schedule.
Well that’s it! You have successfully made it through the series, 12 Steps to Designing Your Interiors! I admit, I am kinda sad to know that everyone is soon going to be embarking on their very own design journeys without me.
But before you leave I have some final tips to help you though the shopping process:
Your Interior Designer and HGTV Host