How To Figure Out What Your Interior Design Budget Should Be


Okay, don't panic, but the holiday season is coming. And you've probably got a room or two that you wish worked better for your family. That living room? Pretty embarrassing to have people over when toys are scattered everywhere. And your bedroom? Not working for you or your partner. No bueno. It's time for a freshen up! 

Great! What's first? Erm....budget, probably? But where do you even start? How do you know what a "reasonable" budget will be? We're not millionaires; we have to make money count. Well, there are a couple of approaches. Here are a few ways to create a (realistic) design budget.

Interior Design Budget: the whole picture:

Keep in mind your budget will be greatly influenced by:

The size of the room (or size of space). Let's face it, you aren't going to furnish an entire unfinished basement with the same budget you'd use for a nursery.

The type of furniture and furnishings you're looking for. Just throw pillows, curtains and a rug? Waay different than sofa, love seat, coffee table.....

Your desired timeline. If you're looking for a super custom piece, you're not likely to get it by the next weekend. Similarly, if you're in a rush, you may have to be flexible in what works.

Your personal style. If you're a fan of original mid-century modern, you'll need a bigger budget than if you're okay with IKEA modern. The same applies for custom made versus store-bought.

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Interior Design Budget Method 1: work with whatcha got—

If you know what you have to spend. A “funnel” model

Okay. You've got a firm number in mind for what you have to spend. Straight off the top, put aside 15% of that as "hands off" for snafus. They'll happen! And if they don't? Bonus unexpected spending money!

Prioritize the pieces you need versus those that would be nice. It doesn't make a ton of sense to fall in love with preposterously expensive bedding if you don't have the money to buy the bed under it first.

It's pretty boring, but don’t forget to budget in basics like paint and window coverings if you're using them. I know, I go straight for the fun stuff first, too, but you don't want to be stuck without them.

Okay. You've got the basics down. Now put some money aside for the biggest ticket items first (Usually large furniture or rugs). Continue down your prioritized list until you're done or you run out of money.

Now. Happy with how things stand? Terrific! Not so much? Where can you spend less to give more somewhere else? Give it some massaging until you're happy. 

Interior Design Budget Method 2: shop around—if you have no idea of a budget.

The savvy shopper model. For those who like to shop and have time on their hands

Just like in method 1, prioritize the pieces you need versus those that would be nice.

Now jump on the internet and comparison shop. Find the piece you want at a couple of different stores. And try to make them different ends of the price spectrum. For example, if you find a price for a sofa at Target and a similar one at Anthropologie (it could happen?!?) you will know that the average price is somewhere in between. This is a made up scenario, but you get my drift. Continue with the rest of your list.


Got an estimated cost for each item? Add 'em up! Add 15% for snafus. Don’t forget tax and shipping!

Is that number something you’re comfortable with?

If not, the good part is you've done your homework! You know where to find less expensive versions of the stuff you've just added up. Decide what you can swap out for something cheaper and what needs to stay.

Interior Design Budget Method 3: lay away plan

Sometimes it just isn't possible to work on an entire room at once. I'd say a lot of us are in this boat. But that doesn't mean you can't have your dream bedroom! Not at all!

The good news? You're in no rush. You have time to put your project together at leisure. You can wait until the perfect dresser goes on sale and snap it up!

Get a good idea of what your pieces will cost using method 2 or grab my cheat sheet here. (Do. It.)

Okay. So you know what you've got to spend. You know approximately what the things you want to buy cost. And you know when you have more money to put towards your room (hello, tax refund!!). You are the boss!

Buy your first piece of the puzzle. Either make a big impact right away or pick up a steal at a President's day Sale! 

Enjoy the journey! Maybe something will pop up that was even better than you originally planned for! On the other hand, keep in mind products may go out of production/stock.

Interior Design Budget Method 4: Save your time, money and sanity. Let's tackle this together!

I know what you're thinking. This is a long blog. With a lot of details. And maybe that gets you all excited about project managing this baby.

But maybe it's making your palms sweat a little bit. Do NOT back out of this project! Your room is obviously not working they way it should for your family and you deserve one that does! Let me help.

This whole process? Something I do every day. I know where the pitfalls are and the ins and outs of the system.

When you hire me you invest in your home because I know the quickest, most cost-effective way to navigate room projects. I can tell when to skip that rug (even though it's on sale!) because it will cost more down the road when you have to replace it because it's ill-made.

But it goes beyond numbers and figures. Because I give you peace of mind, too. When we work together, you can save your energy for more pressing battles ("Trust me, you can't bring your sword to school on Halloween. IT'S THE RULES") knowing that you have the tools and steps to put together your dream home.

Let's get this party started! Click here to work together.