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3 tips to match your design ideas to your budget

Posted on 29 April 2017

You have a Pinterest board (or quite possibly a few!) full of inspiration images of your dream home. You have so many ideas swirling around, but now comes the tricky part – editing those ideas into a concise and clear design that is in line with your budget.


The first step in any design journey is determining your budget. Understanding your overall budget is crucial, as you can then decide with advice, what is possible from that Pinterest board.

Tip 1: Make sure you are clear on why you are renovating

The reasons why you are embarking on a renovation are also important. For example, are you renovating to sell and therefore maximise return? Are you renovating to make more room for your expanding family? Of course, you may be anywhere in-between. If your sole purpose is return on investment, it is wise to invite a real estate agent to your property and explain your ideas and plans. They will quickly be able to offer a valuable insight into the likely return of your home improvement investment. This article offers more advice on this

Tip 2: Communicate with your team (this includes your partner, you don't want any surprises down the line)

Once you have decided you are going ahead with improvement works or a new build, it is vital that you communicate your budget to your architect, interior designer and/or builder from the outset. Believe me, this will eliminate much angst down the line!


Now that your architect and/or builder understands the scope of your project and your budget, you can work together editing your ideas into a flowing design.

Your builder will then present you with a cost estimate based on the scope of the project. This is essentially a quote that takes all the construction works into account to arrive at the estimated cost to build your house, undertake renovations or perform any structural works. The estimate will often contain itemised allowances. Allowances are costs associated with each item that makes up your project. For example; kitchen benchtops, tapware, flooring, bathroom tiles, skirting boards, cornices etc. will all have a cost assigned to them.

There is often a little back and forth during this stage whilst both sides agree on what can be achieved with your available funds. As an interior designer, I really try and be present during this stage as I know what to really spend money on and what areas can be negotiated.

The allowance for each item is important because it helps you understand how much you have to spend on your different finishes and keeps you financially on track. Many people have a Caesarstone appetite on a laminate budget! Your builder will generally give you a square meter price on tiles, timber flooring. I.e $100/sqm, and they may very well present you with options themselves. If you are keen to see what’s out there for yourself, you can take these allowances with you when visiting showrooms and the sales assistants will steer you in the right direction.


‘Caesarstone is a popular choice for kitchen bench tops' 

Tip 3: Work your furnishings into your floorplan

At this stage, also keep in mind that the build of the house is only a portion of the overall cost of your project. If you are renovating or embarking on a new build, you must factor in furnishing costs (furniture, lighting, curtains, blinds, rugs, art etc) and landscaping costs, which are significant and can run into the tens of thousands depending on the size of your home.


Adding furniture to floor plans can help you understanding what furniture is needed in order to budget.

Nearly anyone you speak to will offer their experiences (good and bad!) on renovating and subsequently their advice. Listen and take on-board advice as you see fit. There is no denying it can be a challenging journey, but nearly all of the time, 100% worth it.

Good luck


Katie Sargent is a Melbourne based Interior Designer who's  approach focuses on beauty, timeless style and of course functionality -

If you haven't already read katie's last article on The design team + What questions to ask to get the right interior designer!


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