Determining the budget for a design project takes time, research, knowledge and planning… but this part of the design process is CRITICAL. Proceeding without a budget is like navigating blindfolded!
So how do you determine your budget? What should you know going in? Let’s talk about it.
HOW DO WE TALK ABOUT MONEY?
There’s a common misconception that your “budget” is that magic number you’re comfortable spending on your project and you’ll get everything on your wishlist. In reality, quite a bit more goes into it!
Here’s a quick definition of the terms we use to talk about money:
• The Investment: What you are comfortable spending on the project
• The Scope: What we are doing in the project
• The Budget: Based on the scope and project factors below, what the project will actually cost
WHICH FACTORS PLAY A ROLE IN DETERMINING YOUR BUDGET?
The budget required to achieve the desired results in your home depends on…
• Scope of the project (more on how to define project scope here)
• Level of quality required by the existing architecture and the neighborhood
• Real estate valuations
• Taste level and personal aesthetic (know what your must-haves cost!)
• What you can afford
• Timing of the project & expected completion date
These are all factors we’ll discuss with you during our action-packed 2-hour initial design consultation.
TIPS FOR APPROACHING THE BUDGET CONVERSATION
1. BE HONEST
Be honest about how much you are comfortable spending. This will allow us to give you the proper direction regarding quality, sources, and appropriate scope.
2. BE AWARE OF PROJECT MINIMUMS
Whether it’s a large bathroom or a small one, labour costs tend to stay fairly consistent: the plumber still comes 3 times, the tile setter has to buy a full bag of thin set, not a half-bag, and so on.
3. RESEARCH YOUR MUST-HAVES
Most of our clients aren’t sure which elements are involved in a renovation, design, or décor project, let alone costs for things like cabinetry, furniture, appliances, window treatments, products, labour, and finishes.
While it’s completely normal to feel a bit in the dark, we recommend you do some pricing research for any must-haves on your list. Need a marble counter in the master bathroom? Or a floor-to-ceiling, envy-of-your-neighbors wine fridge? Research those items in advance.
4. REMEMBER THAT QUALITY SAVES
At LBI, we have project quality standards that allow us to confidently leave a project knowing we can stand behind the work. Yes, quality costs more, but it saves everyone in the long run.
HOW DOES LBI HELP YOU REFINE YOUR BUDGET?
In addition to discussing all the factors influencing your project, here are 3 other ways we help you refine your budget for your goals:
1. AN EYE ON VALUE
Value is that perfect marriage of quality and cost. We always promote value when considering decisions for your project. We’ll offer a splurge / save approach to finishes and products and point you in the direction of the best long-term value for your money.
2. QUOTES RECEIVED
Once we know the scope of your project and your aesthetic goals, we’ll be able to compile the necessary quotes. The budget is determined after quote requests are received and we’ve given careful consideration to the project and expenses as a whole.
At this point, informed decisions can be made on how we proceed.
3. CREATIVITY WHERE NEEDED
Occasionally, we do have to inform clients that their needs and expectations for a project exceed their available investment. In that case, there are a few ways we can get creative:
- The project can be deferred until the budget allows, or the budget can be increased to realize the project.
- The project scope can be revised or reduced to meet the functional and aesthetic needs of the space within the budget. This could mean addressing one room to completion instead of two or more incomplete spaces.
- We sometimes suggest staggering the phases of a project over time. This allows the budget and the bank account to recover after each phase, but this is ONLY recommended if the project can still be completed within 2 years. After this time, availability of specified product or finishes makes it difficult to continue on plan without reselection or with a lack of continuity.
You can see that creating a budget is pretty nuanced, but believe me when I say that it’s THE most important thing you need for a successful design project.
Remember, too — you’re not alone.
If you work with an interior design firm, they’ll be sure to help you refine your budget realistically. And knowing all this information going in is the best way to have a confident, realistic, and productive conversation… and get you closer to your dream home. 😉
Okay, I’ll wrap this up here, but as always, feel free to reach out with any questions. We’re here for you and we love what we do!