If you don’t have a solid budget for interior design projects, you could end up spending more money than you wanted. As an Interior Designer, one of the first questions I ask potential clients about is their budget.
I’m surprised at how many clients haven’t considered their budget at this point. Creating a budget is something I can help with, but your finances are private and personal, so I can only do so much. Here is how you can create your budget so you’re prepared to start the project!
Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do is determine the improvements you’ll be making per room. Write out all the improvements you’ll be making. You don’t need to get into specifics yet. After your list is made, you can organize things by room and category.
Now that we know the scope of the project, we can get into specifics. If you’re replacing the countertop, what type of material will you be using? How much will you need? Will you be doing the installation yourself, or paying someone? If the latter, be sure to factor in labor costs.
Know which projects you can save money on by doing it yourself. But know your limits. Hiring a professional can sometimes save time and money.
When looking for a contractor, ask friends and family for personal recommendations. Most Interior Designers also have a list of vendors they would recommended If you can, I recommend getting at least two estimates, and three is ideal. It’s also a good idea to find out what their schedule is like. Sometimes trades aren’t available for several weeks or even months.
If you’re doing work that requires a permit from the city, research how much that is. Sometimes contractors will apply for the permit and include the cost in their bid. Be sure to verify first though!
And don’t forget to factor in S&H and sales tax!
Establish Your Maximum
I find when your budget has a range, you’re more likely to stick to it. The minimum is usually what you think the project will cost. But that number could set you up for failure for several reasons:
- It might not be realistic. This is where extensive research comes in. Make sure when you’re looking at costs the information is specific to your region.
- There are unforeseen complications. It’s not uncommon to discover unpredictable issues during a remodel. You may find mold after you start your bathroom remodel. Or there’s water damage to the subfloor in your kitchen. Having a budget range will help you to be flexible.
- You get seduced by upgraded and high-end materials. When you have a maximum number you’re willing to spend on something, you’re more likely to stick to it. No matter how enticing the marble countertops are, you can remain strong!
I recommend having a separate checking account with a debit card. This will help you track incoming and outgoing expenses for your project. This is also a good way to save up before starting your project.
If you plan on saving up the cash before you start, you might want to consider a different bank. This will help with the temptation to dip into your savings.
If you don’t have the cash up front and the time to save up, meet with a mortgage broker. They can help with refinancing or a home improvement loan.
You could also apply for a no- or low-interest rate credit card for the project. Be sure you can pay off the balance each month, or by the end of the terms for a no-interest loan.
- DIY as much as possible
- Source cheap materials
- Refinish instead of replace
- Cruise the Free Section of Craigslist
- Borrow or Rent Tools
When it comes to Interior Design projects, I don’t like to use the word “budget.” Because any improvement you do to your home is actually an investment.
Comment below if this was helpful for you!