The importance of having a budget is a topic I’ve been considering writing about for a long time because it's something that comes up quite a bit, but can be sensitive to approach. Frequently, one of the most challenging obstacles I find my design process isn’t architectural, or selecting the right finishes. It happens to be when a client tells me, “We don’t have a budget”, as if it means there is a bottomless pool of bitcoin someplace to make all of our interior dreams come true. Everyone has a budget, and honing in on yours is requisite to ensure that hiring an interior designer goes smoothly and meets your expectations.
Having a budget is synonymous with knowing what you value, and distilling your values along with your taste is the cornerstone of my role in our partnership. For instance, you might be comfortable optioning a $10,000 dining table, but you would not invest in the same $10,000 for wall coverings. Some of our clients couldn’t imagine spending $10,000 on a whole project, some of our clients would easily spend it on a single work of art. You might have a home that is valued at X, and spending X+ on renovations does not make sense in terms of equity, resale value and increased property taxes. In every scenario, the designer really isn’t the one who should define what you will spend on your home.
Not everyone who “doesn’t have a budget” is being boastful, or just excited to finally unburden their savings on the home they’ve been waiting for; some people just genuinely don’t know what things should cost. That’s another reason deciding to work with a professional can be helpful. Someone experienced in sourcing materials and furnishings, or fabricating custom options when appropriate, can really help provide insight into the costs involved with décor and renovations. We can make suggestions that are in keeping with the level of style and quality throughout your home, or make sure that upgrading your dwelling is consistent with your needs and what you can finance.
For those client’s who want to be presented with few ideas at different price points to get the ball rolling, I would say that that’s a shot in the dark and a waste of billable hours. It’s much more efficient to have these conversations before we set out to explore the millions of ideas and pieces out there in the world we may eventually incorporate into your space. I get a sense of what the project requires and what you’re comfortable within our first consultation, which I conduct gratis over the phone for about thirty minutes.
So before we delve into the inspiring, creative, and sometimes expensive world of design and build, remember that having a budget is not about admitting what you can afford. Setting a target makes you savvy, practical, and sets realistic goals for the scope of work. Give your budget some thought, do a little research, and let your interior designer guide you the rest of the way!