In my experience as an interior designer doing mostly consultations and as a DIY-er and friends with DIY-ers I’ve had many conversations about home remodeling. People have asked me questions ranging from paint color to tile texture to furniture placement. Whenever we’re talking about a remodeling project or home staging I almost always start with the same question…..”What is your budget?”. Sometimes I get blank stares. Sometimes people hem and haw because they’re uncomfortable talking about money. But the answer I get the most is “as little as possible”. And my response to that is an emphatic and insistent “AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE IS NOT A BUDGET!!!!”. And yes, I even speak it in all caps. I feel strongly about this.
And here is why….if you don’t have a budget, then how can you decide how to spend the money? If there’s no budget, how do you know if you went over budget? Or came in under budget? Unless your actual goal is to do your project absolutely free, there is no way of knowing if you succeeded in staying within your budget. And if your goal is to remodel your home for free, I can’t really help you there. But good luck to you.
Setting a budget doesn’t mean you have to spend large amounts of money. We remodeled the kitchen in our last home for under $4,000 and that included two new appliances. It wasn’t a professional chefs kitchen and a big reason behind us being able to do it is because I designed the kitchen myself, but it can be done.
When we decided to sell our last home, we set a fairly standard staging budget of 1% of our hoped for selling price as our budget. Happily we came in under budget. But the only reason I can say that is because WE ESTABLISHED A BUDGET!!! Otherwise, we would know how much we spent but be unsure of our success.
When it comes to setting a budget for a house project, I have two recommendations. First, set a monetary budget that you are comfortable with. Make it large enough that it’s a reasonable amount to complete your project without stressing out about every microscopic detail to the point that it compromises the integrity of the project. You want to be happy with the final results! Second, have what I call a “buffer budget”. This is a little cash set aside in case of emergencies. Because you will have at least one unexpected expense come up during your project. You may be lucky and money savvy enough to address that emergency with your regular budget, but it won’t hurt you at all to have a little extra money set aside in case you need it.
Whether you are remodeling a kitchen, refreshing a family room or staging your house, the first step is always, always, always deciding on a budget. Then as you make your plans and search for deals, you can tackle your project knowing exactly how much money you have to spend so you can decide how you want to spend it. Spend your money on the details that will make a difference to you and choose less expensive options for the items that aren’t as big of a deal. Then you’ll be happy and so will your bank account.
Happy Designing!AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE IS NOT A BUDGET!!!! Click To Tweet