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The Dirty Truth About Interior Design Budgets

January 27, 2011

Good afternoon, design loving friends!

It’s cold and snowy in NYC (again!) so today, while we sit and sip our fave hot cocoa (from Aroma -have you tried it? It’s sinfully delish!) we’ve decided to share our thoughts on that nerve-wracking, tension building, bite your nails conversation we just have to have with our clients…BUDGETS! And whether you’re a client of ours or someone else, or you just love design and are a DIYer, it’s good to be in the budget know (and if you’re a designer feel free to add your comments and/or budget gripes!).
While it can be a sensitive subject, it really doesn’t have to be! We swear! Clients often hesitate to give their true budgets for various reasons…
  1. They think we’ll spend it all. (We will if given the chance! We want to get you the best you can afford, so why wouldn’t we spend it???)
  2. They think our design fees will be determined by how much they spend on furnishings. (It won’t, our fees are based on how much work and time and effort are required!)
  3. They think we’re going to go over-budget so they are keeping their real budget a secret from us. (True, we’re sometimes guilty of going over budget, but that’s only because YOU decide to splurge on that PERFECT piece!)
If you ask us what the budget should be to furnish a particular room, we might tell you that we can do it for $10,000 or we can do it for $100,000. Really. We can. When given the chance, we go nuts with all of the many luxury and custom items available to us. Because guess what? That higher price tag means higher quality! You pay for what you get. It will not only look better, but it will last longer, it will be more comfortable, and it will be more unique.
Two round, dark wood tables at very different price points.
On the left, perfectly simple. On the right, jaw droppingly stunning.

But, that being said, not everyone is Daddy Warbucks out there, so we’ve been known to mix it up with a few high end items here and there to balance out and give new life to your budget friendlier items.
While we fancy ourselves many things, mind readers doesn’t happen to be one of them. We don’t know what’s in your bank account, and even if we did, we don’t know what you’re willing to dish out. It’s your money and your home, not ours!

Mixing low- mid- and high- end items to come together flawlessly and budget friendly.

Coffee Table, Chandelier, MirrorRugTable LampFrame, Pillow, Sofa

But our job IS to advise you about what’s realistic and what you can do with your hard earned dough to get the most bang for your buck. We will tell you what pieces are more important to invest in and where you can afford to cut corners.

Truth be told, if you’ve never worked with a designer before or furnished a complete room, you will most likely suffer from major sticker shock. (We mean may-jor. Prepare yourselves!) The good news is designers are more trained than ever to be creative with budgets (well, at least these designers are – we’ve been faux paneling and using decals as wallpaper all over the place!)

And with that, we hope we’ve de-mystified some common misconceptions and nerves surrounding the not-to-be-dreaded budget conversation.

Signing off with xox, the girls

PS More questions about hiring a designer? Check out Bunny Williams’ words of advice, this post on how much it really costs, and why you should go to the pros.

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