Budgeting Your Design

There are two crucial factors that should be considered before even scheduling that initial consultation. Time and Money. They absolutely do matter in planning a design project. 

Let's talk about money

  • In the 12 years that I have been designing, I have only once had a client come to me prepared with an overall budget. You are not alone in feeling unsure!
  • Common situation, "I have a budget, but if I tell you- you'll use it all!" Yes... I will. You see, I can design a living room with trade only furnishings, storage in my warehouse, and white glove delivery, or I can put together a retail shopping list for you to purchase from independently. I use the money you have planned to give you the best possible services. So, I absolutely need to know your budget before I can provide my pricing. Without it, I will give you the largest possible scope, and you'll run for the hills.

So, how do you develop a design budget without knowing typical costs? After all, you don't do this every day. First, ask a trusted contractor for average price ranges in your area. Next, take a peek below at what I've found through my own research and experience:

Mid-Range, Major Kitchen Remodel

  • Pacific average pricing is approximately $65,000-85,000. 
  • A good rule of thumb for the design fee is to set aside 10-12% of your overall budget for the design fee.
  • A design fee of $6,500-10,200 is a very realistic start!

Mid-Range, Major Bathroom Remodel

  • Pacific average pricing is approximately $23,000-65,000
  • A design fee of $2,300-7,800

New Construction/Full Home Renovation

  • Pacific average pricing is approximately $150-275/square foot
  • Based on a 3000 square foot home, a design fee of $45,000-99,000 is realistic

Finish/Fixture Selection

  • Plan on $2/square foot for a full home
  • A 3000 square foot home could be expected to be $6,000
  • Kitchen and bath only projects can divide the above number by 3, for $2,000/space

Furnishing Project

  • Do some research- take a look at online retailers for average pricing. Don't forget to figure in decor, shipping, and tax!
  • Designer goods? No problem- run over to the Seattle Design Center. Several showrooms list retail prices on their products, even if they are only available to the trade. Consider that shipping, crating, etc. will total to about 20% of the order cost. ($5,000 sofa + $1,000 freight = $6,000 sofa). 
  • Not up for the research? No problem- I will provide you with generic furniture pricing for a small fee. 

Now For the Timeline

  • Design takes time- plan for a minimum of 4-6 weeks for a single space project.
  • Designing your full home? Set aside at least 6 months for the design time.
  • Consider designer and contractor availability- we book out several months in advance
  • Expect a rush fee if you'd like your design time line sped up.

Looking again at past experiences, every single project.... every one wants to start NOW. Every project is ready ASAP. Many times people come to me with their homes under construction and they don't know what to do. Moral of the story? It pays to plan your project ahead. We all make mistakes and often times it is thought that no designer is needed, but decisions come up that suddenly show that a designer is, in fact, needed. That's okay! Keep in mind that time is needed and the best designs are not rushed.

Still reading? I have a story for you. 

Once upon a time, there was a sweet and wonderful woman, we'll call her Jill. Jill came to me and said, my house is completely gutted and there are too many decisions for me to make on my own! Jill and I began working together, with the constant calls from the contractor with "I need x NOW". Jill did not want the project to be put on hold, so she urged me to help her make those decisions. However, Jill was very indecisive and was not easy to reach. Nearly a year went by and as each urgent decision came up, it was a sudden rush. Come installation time there were issues left and right. Despite the project lagging, rush decisions meant a lack of research time. Had we halted the project upfront, completed the design in full, then started construction back up- we would have had a well thought out, functional design, saving Jill oodles in restocking fees and contractor fees.