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4 Tips to Help You Stick To Your Interior Design Budget


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As interior design experts, we hear far too often of design projects getting out of control when there is no budget planning involved. Many start with a great idea that they get really excited about–and rightfully so–but neglect to put the time into doing the due diligence to set a budget and actually stick to it.

There are so many factors that can make up a project, so it’s important to take the necessary time to consider each piece of the design puzzle:  

  • Construction Costs (labor and install) and Material Costs (tile, lighting, etc.)

  • A contingency allowance for the miscellaneous items that always pop up

  • Soft Costs like design, architecture, engineering, permit fees, temp power poles, etc. 

  • Furniture and delivery costs

  • Storage fees for deliveries- furniture or construction materials 

  • Accessory costs- artwork, nick-nacks, coffee table books, misc. fillers

  • Installation, handymen, trash dump costs following furniture installation

  • Repairs- patching up drywall, paint, scratches on floor, etc. 

  • Cleaning service, dust/germs deep cleans 

When you have your next bright and shiny design idea, we suggest using the following as you develop your budget so that you can establish a framework that helps your finances not spiral out of control: 

Set Your Goals

The first step in the budget process is figuring out your why, which is established through goals. Goal setting will help you stick to your interior design budget and to avoid distractions, or accidentally starting another project that you didn’t plan on starting in the process.  

Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • Are you looking to do a major renovation project? 

  • Are you just wanting to give your home a fresh new look and feel?

  • Can you simply make a cosmetic update? 

  • Will you need to do some more heavy lifting to achieve what you aspire to do?

  • Can you achieve the look you want in the time you want?

  • Do you want to do this on your own or work with a professional? 

Specifying a budget for each part of your interior design project will make more sense once you have the main purpose and goal at the forefront. You’ll find that it actually makes the whole process more exciting as you start to envision your final result! To make this easier on yourself, break out your budget into categories and make sure the following areas are included: 

Construction

  • Design

  • Engineering

  • Architecture 

  • Permits

  • Labor

  • Supplies

Materials

  • Flooring

  • Lighting

  • Plumbing (finishes & rough) 

  • Tile 

  • Appliances

  • Furniture

  • Decor, Artwork & Accessories

If you are taking on a heavier project, leave room for an interior designer to help you do the heavy lifting. A designer may be an added cost, but totally worth it to save you on the headaches and confusion that often arise in this process, and can ultimately help you stay on track with your interior design budget. 

Know Your Style and Its Cost 

Are you more drawn to a farmhouse look and feel? Or is sleek minimalist modern more your style? Whatever your vibe may be, it’s one thing to have a great looking Pinterest board for inspiration, but it’s essential to understand the prices that are associated with bringing that style to life.

This can be an enormous task to take on, as it includes researching furniture, finishes, art, other construction costs, any custom work, built-ins, moulding, chrome v brass, specialty appliances, stonework, exterior details, etc.The end result of doing your research will be totally worth it as it will establish consistency, and a cohesive look throughout the house, and you’ll stay within your budget. 

Do your due diligence and compare the cost, durability, and availability of furniture and materials from multiple stores/sites. This way you can familiarize yourself with realistic costs during the planning process. 

Set Priorities 

Once you have a framework for your budget in place, decide what’s most important to you and set aside money for the things that are going to make the room come together. There are some items that are worth splurging on, as they are focal points of the home, also known as statement pieces such as kitchen countertops, chandeliers, master bath fixtures, appliances, sofas, beds, dining room tables, etc. and layer them in with more basics. Best trick in the biz! 

This process can be challenging as many pieces of your project might seem like priorities. We encourage our clients to take their time and determine what’s most important for them, focus on getting those areas done first, and then using the leftover budget to fill in the pieces. 

One of the biggest misconceptions people make in their interior design projects is thinking that everything needs to be name brand or the expensive pieces are better. That’s just not the case. There are so many beautiful, durable, and cost-effective options that won’t break the bank! These materials are those basics we are talking about that you layer in with your statement pieces. No one will know the difference– not even you! 

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Using a shelf as a desk, rather than buying an expensive one. 

  • Painting brick instead of replacing it

  • Restaining wood 

  • Using high-end materials sparingly (especially smart for backsplashes that don’t need to go all the way up to the ceiling) 

  • For secondary rooms, buy light and plumbing fixtures from discount stores

  • Buy the big, pretty, comfy sofa that stands out in the room that you really want and use a lot, and pick a reasonably priced rug that’s durable to go under it

Remember that, needs, should always outweigh, wants, when it comes to prioritization.  Decide which items are a priority, and what needs to be done first. It’s always a good idea to wrangle up all your costs before you start purchasing, so you’re able to see the whole picture before you jump in or open your wallet. 

Have an Emergency Fund 

Unfortunately, unforeseen costs can arise at any point during an interior design project. That’s why when setting up your interior design budget, it’s important to plan ahead for these costs just in case, to avoid any roadblocks or delays in your progress. 

Sometimes unforeseen costs can look like:

  • Shipping Costs 

  • Sub Contractor costs 

  • Construction Change orders (rotting wood, mold, or leaky pipes)

  • Flooding 

  • Warranties /insurance

  • Tariff changes (this happened in 2019) 

  • Changes in City codes

  • Time delays / Rental property 

Cushioning yourself is always the safest way to stick to your interior design budget. Are you with us, here?

Stay Organized 

If you aren’t well-informed, organized and in the weeds on project costs, your budget can easily start to spiral out of control. We know this can be tough, especially since there are so many different routes projects can go!  Remember that your interior design budget is one of the most important parts of the process, so take your time to set one!

Use a phased approach if you want to get more done, but don’t want to break your bank. Doing your research, planning, and being diligent about sticking to your budget will be worth it in the long run. 

As a boutique interior design firm, here at InHance Interiors, we structure our process to respect your budget and to be responsible stewards of your money. We help you through strategizing the priority items, flag unforeseen problems or costs that can arise during the process, before we ever start construction or purchasing materials, to minimize surprises. That’s also why we are transparent about our fees upfront, so you can plan out your budget and consult with experts to help you plan out the rest. 

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