You’re getting ready to embark on a renovation or new build. You’re creating boards on Pinterest, doing some in-store research, dreaming of colour palettes and designs. This is the most exciting part for many homeowners. Most of us aren’t overly enthusiastic about diving into the budgeting process but it’s a necessary step to make things flow. My experience in design has revealed to me that usually one partner is cautiously monitoring the finances while the other is fully focused on the creative process. There are some good reasons to become a number nerd. Let’s explore the importance of creating a budget and how that can benefit you in the long run.
WHY YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON BUDGET FIRST
1/ PLAN FOR THE THINGS YOU LOVE
Without a budget at the onset of a project it’s difficult to know where to splurge. Design is always a compromise but if there are things you absolutely feel you must have, then plan for them. After that we’ll focus on being budget conscious. Without early budgeting in place, everything seems possible, and it can feel exhilarating to have so many options. The reality is this is how people end up finishing their project with a massive overage that could have been avoided.
As a designer, my job is to create a design that will give you everything you want, even when it’s a combination of high- and low-priced items.
So, what does all of this really look like in practical terms? Let’s say you have your eye on a very expensive hardwood flooring for your renovation (Hardwood vs Engineered flooring). You’ve done your research, you know what’s out there and you can’t stop thinking about this one. It’s expensive though. With a budget created early in the process we can make sure this flooring is included without compromising the design. We know that the materials budget is X so once we deduct the cost of the floor, we know exactly what’s left. Now we can bring the design to life and stay on budget through smart selections for the rest of the space.
2/ CREATE AN ALIGNED VISION
The benefit to early planning is that the contractor and the designer can meet with you to go over how the money should be assigned. Without a budget or a budget meeting, the contractor will advocate for spending more money on construction. The designer will advocate for spending the money on design materials. This can create an environment of hostility that lacks consideration for you, the client.
Hopefully everyone on your team is looking out for your best interests and advocating for how they can do the best job possible. The chance of harmony in a team is much higher if we can meet early on and agree on how best to allocate resources.
3/ EVERY PENNY COUNTS
When you’re talking about $100k or $200k for a major renovation that money will need to be carefully budgeted to make it stretch. It sounds shocking and for a lot of people that’s an unpleasant reality. Don’t let yourself be caught off guard, thinking you have an endless budget. Do you research, find out what things cost and know exactly what it takes to build a dream kitchen.
Allocate dollars to materials early in the reno and it becomes clear that you’ll need to be a good decision maker with regards to every material. Between construction costs and design materials, even the best budgets go quickly.
As a designer, my job is to be creative and provide solutions to overcome budget constraints. I can help you by showing you that not everything has to have a big price tag. And yes, it IS possible to stay on budget and still get the home you desire.
4/ BE FLEXIBLE
Sourcing materials is a game of timing. There will always be products that are out of stock with long delays or even worse, discontinued. These delays in products could stall a project. If your flooring, cabinetry, lighting or plumbing fixtures are delayed, these could cause an interruption in your trades’ ability to move ahead. You can’t go any further with a kitchen renovation when there’s no cabinetry.
Being fully aware of your budget early on means you can be more flexible. You’ll know whether you can afford to substitute with available materials that are slightly more expensive. If you haven’t created an accurate budget, you could be saying yes to everything and be setting yourself up for a massive overage in the end. Or you could be afraid to move ahead with a more expensive item because you have no clear sense of where the budget is.
5/ LESS STRESS, MORE TRUST
There are clients who hide the real numbers from their designer and construction team. They don’t want to reveal everything in case they end up over budget. There will be a little cushion for them in the end. In trusting that your team has your best interests at heart you can relax into the project. Be honest about what you have to spend and trust the people you have hired.
With a budget, it’s much more likely the project can hit the budget target because everyone works towards the same goal. As the homeowners you are always the final say on any purchases. Your team will never spend your money without your approval.
There’s also a lot less stress because you don’t need to approve the cost of every item. If you’re on budget, the price of individual items is irrelevant.
Most homeowners don’t realize how carefully a designer attends to your money. One of my main priorities when working with clients is helping them understand how to make every dollar stretch to get everything on the wish list. The timing of budget creation is just as important as the amount of the budget. Planning early can save you a lot of heartache in your design project.
Ready to get started? Reach out and let me know the details of your project and how I can help.
Thanks for being here,