Monday, May 31, 2010

Setting A Budget...The Hard Reality Of Any Project

Last week I showcased two homes that have undergone stunning transformations, a client's home in the House Tour...

...and Kristin's home in Inspiration and Friendship in Blogland - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Viewing all the projects done in these homes reminded me of a post I wrote in April 2009, Setting A Budget, a post I wrote after completing my Kitchen and Family Room Redesign.

I thought this would be a great time to post it again, as a very important step in approaching any decorating project is to get up close and personal with the issue of money!! Here it is:

So you have decided to renovate or decorate, you know what you want, have collected photos of rooms that have inspired you and may have even started shopping for materials or furniture...STOP! Before you go any further, grab a pen and paper (or open a spread sheet) and put together a budget. It is very tempting to skip this step, but having a budget is an indispensable guideline that will help you move through your project, with hopes and a chance of making it to the end with enough money to buy light bulbs for that fabulous new chandelier!

Prior to moving forward with the Kitchen & Family Room Redesign, it was important to understand the cost of everything I hoped to accomplish. I made a list of all the projects and their associated material costs, in addition to furniture and accessory cost estimates. Afterwards, I met with the contractors I was considering hiring and secured quotes. With these quotes and estimated costs for everything else, I had an initial budget in hand. Numbers add up fast and it was necessary to cross out a few lines on the wish list. But after all this planning I was finally ready to move forward with confidence, knowing I wouldn't find myself in a situation where I had torn something up only to find there was no money to put it back together!!

During these past three months I have tracked every expense associated with the project. There have been happy moments when costs came in under budget, and others when costs inched up past expectations. To keep the budget on track adjustments were made along the way. For example, if I wanted to have money left over for new sofas I needed to cut corners elsewhere. I chose to save substantially on the window treatments, making the roman shades and drapes myself rather than have the pleasure of having them made for me. In addition, I passed by the gorgeous Liam sofas I had my eye on, (well over the allowed budget even with my Mitchell Gold discount) and found a less expensive source for a similar style.

Happily this project ended up slightly under budget. This is partly due to finding it unnecessary to replace the cabinetry hardware and pendant lighting (until I stumble across something irresistible!) but mostly due to not encountering any major surprises along the way.

So, dream away but don't forget to add up the numbers...


  1. Yes, I remember this post! I try to think back to it whenever I start a project, but for some reason I always spend more! Mainly because I change my mind so much which leads to very costly mistakes! But, after seeing your friends home the other day and even yours, I've realized that to get what I want I must tighten up!

    Oh, and the Liam sofa! Yes that is a great sofa! Obviously Carrie thought so too! That was their sofa in Sex and the City 2!!! Beautiful!

    Hey have you seen the first SATC? If not, I'm mailing a DVD to you tomorrow!!!

  2. I know when doing projects around the house extra costs always come up that you aren't always prepared for. When we put in pergo flooring at our old house (we got a great deal on it on clearance), we didn't figure in all the extra costs of the molding / trim pieces.
    This house, we bought it with most of the big things done already - like granite in the kitchen. So most of the changes around the house are easy like paint - these costs still add up fast too, so I try to do a little at a time.
    Looking at the those kitchen pictures reminds me I would love to change out some of the recessed lighting we have in our kitchen for those pendant type fixtures.

  3. Great Post! I haven't done any big projects but I have a few on my list of things to do. This will come in handy when I finally decide to tackle one of the bigger projects! Thanks!

  4. Your renovations are stunning, and what a fabulous reminder to be sure to add up all the costs. There are always ways to adjust along the way, but mostly it seems we always just increase instead of decrease. You did a fabulous job with your projects and to come in under budget is amazing. Hugs, Marty

  5. Such great points! Especially the one about flexibility -- I'm constantly moving money around within my budgets to accomodate things that I thought would be slightly more or less expensive.

    Hope you're enjoying the long weekend!


  6. exellent post, Janell. We are planning a masterbath re-do and I have little idea of the cost. I plan to follow your suggestions so we won't be surprised and broke in the end!

  7. great post - yes, budgets! As much as we try to set an amount, things always evolve as we go along and sometimes we just find it necessary to splurge a little on a very permanent piece that will be difficult to replace later on. It may be painful at first but the smile it puts on your face at the end of it all makes it worth the extra. : )

  8. Ooops, the blog is: myuncommonsliceofsuburbia. You had it incorrect in your post :)

  9. WOnderful post, your tips are right on!!! Hope you and your family are having a wonderful weekend!

  10. Another example of how hiring a designer can save your reno. We are able to keep a budget on track because we can anticipate all the extras. It's the "might as well" costs that add up and ruin a budget.
    Great post.

  11. lots to learn from this post and apply to my next project! thanks for sharing!

  12. I have visited your blog several times & it's just so great! Thanks for all the inspiration you give me! I love your taste & creative ideas. I'm hooked!

    Warmly, Michelle

  13. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specially the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.
    Warning led lights


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