How To Manage Your design budget
Everybody has a different strategy when it comes to their finances, how to manage their budget, and what to spend where! Today I’m going to share my best advice for how to manage your design budget and get what you want! Where to splurge, where to save, and ultimately how to make the right choice!!
1. This is Cause for Celebration!!!
My first piece of advice when you’re embarking on any expensive home product or purchase is that this is time to celebrate!! I’ve sat in literally hundreds of meetings discussing large purchases with clients and everybody approaches these meetings with one of two attitudes. There is the client who comes in dragging their feet, clutching the check to their chest, truly unhappy to be paying. The other client understands of course that they’re saying bye to a large chunk of change, but focuses instead on what they are receiving!! The mindset of how you approach your spend will absolutely change your experience!!! We know this is a lot of money but frankly, that’s what you work hard for! To create the life and space and culture of your dreams! This is time to celebrate YOU and hey, as my dad always says about money “you can’t take it with you when you die!” Cheers to your big purchase!!!
2. Spend The Right Way
Studies have shown that individuals who spend their money on “Just for now” purchases are 10 times less likely to receive what they really want. EVER. TEN TIMES LESS LIKELY!!! Let me explain it further! If you, for example, dream of doing a full kitchen remodel, but while you’re waiting and saving your money, decide to let’s say, paint your cabinets and change out your cabinet hardware. You are then ten times less likely to ever remodel your kitchen.
This information is incredibly powerful! It can protect us in some says. If you never want to spend the money on an expensive new car, just buy a temporary vehicle for now! Then you’re ten times less likely to spend big money on an expensive new car! You’ve just statistically safe guarded yourself!! Unfortunately, this statistic can also really lead to frustration and we’ve seen it time and time again with our client’s. We’ve sat in dozens of meetings with frustrated new clients who’ve said “well I didn’t want to spend the money to get the appliances I love, but now I hate my appliances!!!” Or “I saved a lot of money by doing different countertops, but I hate my countertops!” This is something we ALWAYS advise our clients against. A BIG part of managing your design budget is making sure you’re actually getting what you love!! Why spend the money otherwise?!
We say never spend money on something you don’t want, just because it’s cheaper. In the end you don’t have what you want and you don’t have the money. That’s a lose-lose!
3. Where to Save
In a dream world, we get exactly what we want, no compromises!! In the real world, every single meeting we sit in includes compromise. And it should!! That shows wisdom. Now everyone’s “Save” category is going to be dependent on lifestyle and your own priorities, but here I’ll share my good starter points.
– Anything that you can (AND WILL) do later – For example, the wallpaper is a game changer. It’s a must. We’re obsessed!!! But can we accomplish it in 6 months? Or next year? For now, let’s get the mandatory items taken care of, THEN let’s take care of the extras! (If you will not follow through in the later months, then don’t save!! Get it one and done!)
– Kid’s Baths – in general we always advise saving here by using economical materials, minimal additional details adding to labor costs, and opt for a shower curtain over glass! We see thousands saved by making smart design decisions in kids baths!
– Investment Pieces – This sounds counterintuitive, but imagine spending $10,000 on a sectional, and keeping the sectional for 20 years. Instead of spending $5,000 on a sectional and replacing it every 5 years. You’ve just SAVED $10,000 in the long run! This long-term strategy yields HUGE results over time!
4. Where to splurge
-Labor- Trust me. I can’t say it enough! I’ll shout it from the roof tops!!!! SPLURGE ON LABOR!!! The most expensive silk fabric is of no value at all if the seamstress makes a poor product! The horror stories we hear day in and day out would turn your hair gray! We always recommend comparing multiple companies or subcontractors but NEVER to compare price! ONLY to compare who you think is more trustworthy.
-Cabinetry- From the custom layout adding functionality. The materials adding durability and longevity. To the construction details adding to the design aesthetic, Cabinetry is definitely a splurge category!
– The Things You Touch – This is a broad category! But let me explain it this way. You will spend 1/3 of your life in your bed. Your bedding MUST be luxurious. Bedding: splurge! Studies show adults now spend one entire month out of a year on the sofa watching Netflix. That month on your sofa MUST be comfortable, clean, supportive, etc. Seated Furniture: splurge! Rugs, faucets, cabinet hardware, these are each obscure items, but they’re things you touch constantly! Therefore, splurge!
-Window Treatments – There is no single item that elevates the experience, the visual, or the general aesthetic of any space like custom drapery. Not one single item. There have been countless studies done and articles released about this fact alone. The general experience in any space, no matter the rest of the design, is mostly dictated by the window treatments! Fascinating. (We’re convinced it has something to do with how human nature longs to be outside and one with nature, and windows are our primary viewpoint. Therefore how we dress those windows and call attention to those windows matters a lot!)
One of my favorite parts of my job is what I call “wrestling a bid into submission.” It’s the hard work of prioritization, compromise, commitment to excellence, and patience to get us to the right dollar amount for the right design! It’s worth the fight!!