One of the first questions I ask prospective clients is what their budget is. And what is the most common response? “I do not know.”
Everyone’s got a budget- it might be $300, $3,000 or $300,000. But you’ve got to decide at the beginning to give yourself a frame of reference in which to make decisions.
Here are my top 5 things to think about when thinking about your budget:
1. Pick one item you don’t want to compromise on. Values are different for everyone and you have to decide yours. Pick something special- like an amazing wallpaper, or fantastic piece of art, and slot that into your budget as a non-negotiable.
2. Be realistic. Things cost money, and if you want quality / custom, it’s going to be more of an investment. You may not be able to afford everything on your wish list, so be ready to compromise.
3. Be patient. It might be that this year is not the year to tackle a major renovation, and you’d be happier in the long run to wait and accumulate more funds so that finishes can be higher quality, or the scope can be larger. I’m not one to spread out a budget too thinly- I love an element of luxury in a space and would rather have a client wait until they can afford a project robustly, than be worrying about every dollar.
4. Don’t be a snob. This is going to sound like a complete contradiction to my point above, but while I love luxury, good design doesn’t have to break the bank. An expert mix of high and low products is so my philosophy.
5. Allow for contingency. This is so important. When I build a budget for a client I begin with a 10% contingency buffer. This is helpful for anticipating overages / unplanned occurrences that inevitably come up and really help to set a project up for success.
Photo by Larry Arnal, interior design & inforgraphic by Lisa Canning Interiors.