Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a design budget – whether you’re hiring a designer or DIY.
What’s in a budget?
Designing around a budget (regardless of its size and scope), is a fine art. At times we feel the impulse to splurge in what caught our eye in the designer furniture showroom. Then there are times when sticking to a bottom line comes with the cost of being dissatisfied because the finished project doesn’t quite look like the inspiration photos.
In between these two extremes is a happy medium. It involves a bit of both of the two above scenarios. In reality, it is possible to shop with your heart and your brain. A designer may help because there isn’t an emotional attachment to your home or to the individual items they purchase on your behalf. They will also build in some flexibility spending-wise just in case you come across that “must-have” piece.
While figuring out how to create a design budget start by asking yourself how are you going to use the purchased item. Is it a functional piece? Or is it an antique or an artwork? If it’s one of the latter two, is it something that fits style-wise as well as color and size into your master plan? Or is it that you just love the piece for itself and don’t quite know whether it might fit in the house? If it’s the latter, think again.
FYI artwork is tricky. Anything that’s under $200,000 is not technically an “investment ” in the art world. However, there are art investment funds that you can get into with a minimum of $2000. Aside from that, just because you like the piece may not be a sound enough reason to bring it home. Not if you’re unsure whether it will work with the style, colors, and mood of your home. Art is subjective. Nevertheless, it’s worth getting the input of a trained interior designer about which pieces might work or otherwise.
When it comes to allocating your design dollars where should you let loose and where should you tighten? A rule of thumb is – movable vs permanent items. For example, it is a good idea to splurge on a really gorgeous flooring in your foyer. It’s a small space so you can keep the cost of materials and labor down. Create a customized pattern with dark wood and inlaid marble tile. Or lay light wood flooring in a Herringbone or Chevron pattern. Since it’s a small area you won’t break the bank when it comes to installation and it will make for a luxe entrance thus adding value to the home.
Kitchens and bathrooms are also spaces you might want to put in the extras. Start with the flooring and work your way up to cabinets, countertops and backsplash. Use the same flooring materials that are in your foyer – for your kitchen and bathroom – it helps maintain continuity throughout the home and makes the space look well finished and opulent.
Whether a trendsetter or a follower be?
When decorating – with the help of a designer or without – the question is whether to follow what is trending or set a new trend of your own by following your gut. You could be just re-decorating with furniture and accessories. Or you could be planning a remodel by stripping down to the studs. The thing to remember is that trends are useful only as a guide. Also, all trends are not created equal.
Your designer should be helpful in advising which trends are worth the ROI (return on investment) and which ones are not. A good designer may – and should – open your eyes to fresh ideas, new styles, unusual patterns, interesting textures, colors, and materials that different and unique however at the end of the day, all of those must be distilled into creating a home that reflects a style that is you. Your travels, your personality, and your culture – your peeps – just in a new way that layers all of the above harmoniously.
Now that you understand some of the basics of how to create a design budget you can get the help of a designer to help you to pull your style together, but be sure to hire someone you understands and believes that your space should reflect you – through a celebration of things, people, and moments that are valuable and meaningful – but a more put together, efficient, distinctive you!
Image credits – Artwork photo credit Neiman Marcus – Monopoly artwork image credit Etsy – White and Gold Modern Kitchen with Obsidian Phillip Jeffries Wallpaper – pic courtesy Verandah – Trends – Multi-functional space photo courtesy Lonny – Image of designer-created home courtesy Harper’s Bazaar