Traditionally, an atmosphere of resolve to live better and more frugally follows the extravagance of Christmas. Repaying debts is one of the most popular of New Year resolutions of all time. With this in mind here is a rumination about the importance of setting a strict budget for home improvements. What a sobering topic - hopefully not too boring!
Recent TV series The Great Interior Design Challenge is a great place to start talking about money and decorating, as it didn’t give an especially accurate portrayal of the real costs involved. With designers being given a £4,000 budget in the finals, the contestants created attractive rooms without spending huge amounts of cash. However, these figures were only to cover the purchases of furniture, soft furnishings and other decorative materials used in the schemes. It wasn’t made explicit that the bill for the two builders and two decorators over the four days would have ran to several thousand pounds. With all the last minute, panicked voluntary assistance from friends and family that was vital to the timely completion of the competition, it is easy to imagine how ‘real’ project costs could spiral out of control.
Many interior design clients are initially hesitant about divulging (or even setting) their budget. Understandable, considering money is such a personal and often emotive subject! But it is essential, even if DIY-ing it, to set an amount that you can afford. Scrupulous designers ask in order specify budget-compliant solutions, and source appropriately priced products (not to be nosey or manipulate the project for their own gain). Buildings featured on Grand Designs typically go over budget by 10%, so factor that in as a contingency amount, and this time next year you could be saving instead of debt-paying!