How to figure out your interior design budget

Before I go to a new client’s home for a consultation I send them a design questionnaire to complete before we meet.   In it, I ask questions like “what areas do you want to work on”, “what are your color preferences”,  and “what feeling or mood do you want to evoke in the space.”  

But there is one question that I ask that is left blank 90% of the time.  Or “not sure” is the response written.  Do you have a guess what the question is?  

That question is “what’s your budget for the project?”  

Why your design budget is important

Having a budget is an important part of your design project and you can read my blog post about the importance of talking with your interior designer about budget here.  Your budget dictates your entire design and what we can and can’t do for your project. If I know your budget we can figure out what you realistically can get for your money. Sometimes things need to happen in phases or I can try to find reasonable substitutes so you can get everything you want. If you know your budget you can look for the perfect pieces for your home that are WITHIN your budget.

Easy steps to figure out your budget

We know that figuring out your budget is important, but the big question is how do you do it? Luckily, there are actually a few simple steps to figure out your budget and you don’t need more than a pad of paper to do it. 

So, let’s break it down into 5 easy steps.

  1. Get out a pad of paper or open up a Google doc.
  2. Write down everything you need for the room you’re working on. So for example, if you’re updating your family room you might list things like: a sofa, an ottoman, accent chairs, media cabinet, end tables, rug, chandelier, lamps,  and accessories.  
  3. Next to each item above that you listed, write down how much you’re willing to spend on each item.  So if you have a lamp on your list, ask how much you’re willing to spend on that lamp.  Is it $50, $200, $400?  Write that number down.  Do that for every item on your list.  
  4. Add up every number that you wrote down next to those items. 
  5. That number is your ballpark budget.

That final number is just an estimate but it gives you an important starting point for your project.  You can tweak those numbers of course, but having a number going in is important.  

Depending on the scope of your project, you may have different needs such as carpet,  moldings, window treatments, paint, etc. and you’ll also have to factor those into your budget.  You might have to gather additional estimates from contractors to determine a final budget and if that’s the case give yourself time to do so. 

Conclusion-Final thoughts...

Talking about money and budgets may not be the most exciting topic, but it’s definitely an important one.  

I’d love to hear what you think about this simple plan to figure out your design project budget.  Will you try it the next time you start a new project?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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Sally Soricelli