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We Love It, We Can Afford It, But Should We?

Interior Design Client MeetingLast month, we discussed why you need to allow your interior designer to do what they do best. Now the topic of budget is an integral part of the design conversation, even before the first line is drawn. We feel it’s our responsibility to steward our client’s budget well. We want to design and specify appropriately. If your expectations don’t match your budget, we also want to have an open and honest conversation about that. We aim to give you (our clients) a thoughtful design that is achievable within your budget. 

At some point in the budget conversation, whether early in the design process or when the final proposal is presented, I get the question, “We love the design, the cost is in range, but does it make sense for us to put this much into our home?” This is a question of Return on Investment or ROI. If I were a high-pressure salesman, I would say “YES!” But that’s not always the answer. Let’s look at some factors that drive the answer to the question, “Should we?” 

Financial Considerations When Redesigning Your Home

The last thing we want for our clients is for the project cost to stretch beyond their financial limits. When you say yes, be sure there is plenty of headroom in the budget for contingencies and unknown issues. We usually recommend at least 10%. You will also want funds to personalize your new space with artwork or other decorative elements. 

Clients’ biggest financial question is, “Will we recover our investment when we sell our home?”  Market conditions, location, or how long you stay in the home before you sell are some factors that drive that answer. However, if you look at a renovation project strictly as a financial decision, you will most likely be disappointed. Yes, most renovation projects will add value to your home but rarely is it 1 for 1. 

Intrinsic Considerations When Redesigning Your Home

These next items to consider when answering the question, “Should we?” are more intrinsic. But knowing what we just discussed about the financial equation, these factors should play a bigger role in helping you decide. 

Our clients engage us because they have a problem to solve. Most of the time it is an issue with function. This can be anything from lighting to the kitchen layout to how the whole home functions for your family. Depending on your season of life, it can mean many different things. You might be adding or reconfiguring space for a nursery, a place for your teenagers to crash, a space for entertainment, or multigenerational setups. I think this is the biggest factor in answering this question. When your space functions well, living in your home gets much better! 

Beyond function, a good design creates an environment dialed into your preferences. For many, a home is a place of refuge after a day at work or school. For others, it is a place to host and entertain. Whether you are raising a family or are empty nesters, you can use your home to provide an environment that speaks to you. Make your home uniquely yours. 

Guiding You Through Your Options

Yes, there have been times when we have recommended that a client not do a project, change the project scope, or even sell the home and do something different. It’s rare, but it has happened. 

Don’t make design decisions based on what you think the next owner might want. I’ve seen this play out many times and the outcome falls flat and is never what the client really wants. If you’re going to spend the money, do it for you, not the next owner. 

 “Should We Redesign Our Home?”

You can only answer the question of “Should we?” The mix of tangible and intangible factors can make the decision process complicated for some. Our job as your interior designer is to equip you with a compelling design, a meaningful budget, and the information you need to make your decision a no-brainer.

Ready to get started? Fill out our design project form, and let’s chat.

author avatar
Jeff Owner/Principal
Jeff Kaper is the owner/principal of Spectrum Design Group LLC. For over 30 years, he has helped his clients navigate the tension of form, function, budget, and disruption to create uniquely personal, enduring spaces to do life. He is a raving fan of the intrinsic joy good design brings to our daily lives. He also finds joy leading the SDG family and its story still being written.

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