If you’re planning a new project, it’s easy to get caught up in mood boards and Pinterest ideas and forget one crucial detail—the cost. Creating an interior design budget might not be the most exciting step in making your house a home, but it is one of the most important.
Even a few extra dollars here and there can add up to an unexpectedly costly project. How do you set an interior design budget, then?
Step One: Establish Your Interior Design Budget
Determine what your actual budget is and be specific. Avoid rough ranges like “a few hundred dollars,” and opt for a hard figure to set as the maximum budget for your project instead. You can spend less than this amount but not more.
Your interior design budget also needs to be realistic—be brutally honest with yourself and set a figure you can afford comfortably. Keep in mind that you don’t have to design your home’s entire interior in one go. You can take it room by room to make the best of your budget. Start with the areas you use the most or that bother you the most.
Step Two: Budget Your Goals
Once you know exactly how much you have for your project, make a list of your goals. Ideally, you should have two lists: “needs” and “wants.”
The need list should include things the space has to have. For example, if you are remodeling your kitchen and your sink needs replaced, that’s a need. Come up with estimates for your list of must-haves to create mini-budgets, and don’t forget labor costs! It can help to price-check actual items at this stage to avoid sticker shock. Many people underestimate how much simple household items cost.
After your needs list is complete, take your estimate for those improvements, add another 10 to 15% as a cushion, and subtract those costs from your total budget. Whatever is left is for your “want” list.
Step 3: Make a Plan and Stick to It
Armed with a firm budget and a list of what you want to achieve, the next step is to plan your project. Set a timeline for each improvement on your list and what you’ll need at each stage.
It’s also helpful to draft your design at this point. That way, you can visualize what needs to be done and when throughout the process. For instance, you don’t want to bring in new furniture before you paint.
If you’re undertaking a major overhaul and haven’t done much interior design in the past, it can pay to work with a design professional. An interior designer can offer insight and ideas that are incredibly helpful when it comes to taking your ideas from dream to reality. Plus, they often have insider knowledge to reduce your budget without impacting the quality of your results—you might even be able to score more items off your wants list!