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How to Stick to a Budget: Interior Design

Developing an interior budget on your own isn’t an easy task. Without a budget, an interior design project can easily spiral out of control. There is so much that goes into each one, from products to labor to shipping, taxes, fees, and beyond.

A well-thought-out, planned budget is critical to a successful interior design project. You’ll need to plan carefully and make tough choices to meet your bottom line.

While some assume budgeting is bad news, budgeting isn’t about being cheap, it’s about being smart while making informed decisions and getting the best value for your money.

In this blog, we are going to walk you through how to develop a design budget and build a good foundation for your next interior design project.

How to Stay Within an Interior Design Budget

1. Create a Design Concept

A design budget starts with your vision of the space. As part of the design process, gather inspiration images that represent what you’d like to see. Making a Pinterest scrapbook is a good way to pull together ideas and plan a look.

Write down everything you’d like to do and buy. Be specific on what you want to buy, but don’t forget to include practical things that need to be fixed, upgraded, and purchased.

Do you need to install a wall of built-ins? Are you looking for subway tiles or a laser-cut mosaic on your backsplash? Are you drawn to minimalistic, contemporary, modern, minimalist, or somewhere in between? Do you want to replace cabinets and kitchen counters?

These questions are important, and all need to be factored into the budget.

2. Develop a Detailed Space Plan

The next step is to develop a detailed space plan to determine how many pieces you need in the space. A plan, a detailed vision of what you want to accomplish with your decorating project is the best tool you can have.

Consider details such as interior color schemes, patterned rugs, side tables, items that go on surfaces, and plants. All these design decisions should be on the list.

While developing a plan, break down each element: list the work to be done, the items to be purchased, and other practical projects, as well as the amount you plan to spend on each. Using an Excel spreadsheet makes it easy to keep everything in order and organized. It also shows you what you’ve budgeted for each item, what you’ve spent, and how that affects your progress.

To help you stay organized and on track, order each item chronologically and set a timeline for getting it done.

3. Set Budget Limits

One of the most important things you can do at the start of any interior design project is set a budget. A proper budget is a detailed list of every element involved in your project.

This includes furniture, raw materials, build costs, repair services, installation fees, wall finishing, flooring, artwork, accessories, and consulting fees. List all the elements of the project, with each line item correlated with a given dollar estimate based on the desired outcome.

Take the sum of all items to determine a rough estimate for that job, then add a 10 percent contingency reserve to cover unexpected expenses. Revise individual line items, as necessary, until you meet your total available funding.

There are other costs you need to consider:

  • Tax
  • Shipping/freight costs assume an average of 10%-12%.
  • Installation charges for wallpaper, window treatments, etc.
  • Accessories. On average, estimate 10%-20% of the subtotal cost
  • Built-Ins or millwork needed

If you are working through a design firm, there is also a receiving warehouse and delivery fee.

4. Make Trade-Offs to Juggle Your Expenses

Budgeting and decorating is a process that includes calling for a review, rethinking, reevaluating, and adjusting until the final product. For instance, if the tile you choose for the kitchen eats up a more significant chunk of the budget than you planned for, downsize the amount you allotted for an area rug, so you still hit your overall number.

Or, when furnishing your home, you may find a to-die-for dining table and opt for cut-rate chairs to free up funds for the table. You can still stay under the overall budget cap if you juggle your spending wisely.

Consider alternatives before purchasing to maximize every dollar you spend and keep your budget on track.

5. Start Your Interior Design Project with Johnston Casuals

If you’re on a tight budget, you may not be able to do everything right away. But, you can spread out the expense by making a long-range plan and implementing your design in phases, as time and money allow.

Pro-tip, designers tend to tackle jobs in this order: background and surface, buildable, furniture, fabrics, lighting, and accessories.

Johnston Casuals is a valuable resource in starting your project on the right foot. Being one of the last remaining furniture manufacturing companies in America, our professional welders use custom material and design to craft any piece you desire. Contact us today for more information or visit our website.

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