When you are going away on a holiday, what are the first two things that you plan on? First, of course, you need to know where you want to go. Secondly, how much are you willing to spend on your holiday?

Knowing how much you can spend is also vital when you are out to design or renovate your home. As you set out to improve your living space, it is important that you learn the true meaning of budget and that it should not be confused with the concept of life savings.

The budget that you set must be the amount that you are happy to pay out just so you can achieve the interior design that you want. Happy is the keyword when setting your budget; you must also remember that before you can even begin to search for your interior designer, this part of your project must have already been done. 

Added-value and permanent home improvements that are supervised by a licensed, fully-qualified interior designer always come with price tags. You are paying for the interior designer’s expertise; his experience; and his skills in negotiating with the best suppliers of fabrics, accessories, and furniture. Do not forget that he will also be in charge of supervising the painters, builders, joiners, and plumbers.

As soon as you have decided on the amount that you are going to spend in home improvements, the next thing to do is to check whether it can cover the improvements that you require. Do this by allocating amounts per area of the project. For instance, a simple refurbishment of your living room could have a budget for wallpaper, carpets, light fittings, furniture, accessories, plus the interior designer’s fee.

Instead of thinking in cash terms, try to cost the project by percentage. By the allocation of percentages to different elements of your project, you can have a bird’s eye view of what you can afford. So if you want to have elaborate curtains, then you might want to reduce your floor covering budget. This method can also help you realize the things that are most important to your interior design aspirations as well as help your interior designer appraise the overall project.

Check also that the interior designer you choose clearly defines his fee structure from the onset.

Five Billing Methods of Interior Designers

Through hourly fee: This is probably the most dreaded by most clients. Understandably, there is a huge difference between 20 and 30 hours. If you meet an interior designer that charges this way, ask if you can put a cap on the total dollar amount. Do this before you sign any agreement form. Ask also what the designer normally accomplishes with the number of hours that you are paying for.

Hourly fees become fair when used in consultations rather than the full design services.

Through commission-based agreement: This is done by asking for a percentage of the item costs specified or purchased. This is often billed for decorating projects or used together with one more fee structure.

Through percentage-based agreement: With this, the designer charges a certain percentage of the total project cost. The agreement must be clear regarding what will happen when you increase or decrease the budget.

Fixed-fee contract: This is most preferred by clients especially those who are opting to renovate their homes. With this, there is no guesswork as to how many hours are needed to finish the project. Also, this is based on the interior designer’s experienced estimate for the project.

Square footage-based fee: This is often used for commercial projects and is a pre-established, dollar per square foot rate. This type of billing is never used on residential projects. Different designers bill differently so ask for the project’s rough estimate before you sign anything. Remember that it is close to impossible to alter anything about the contract once the project has started so be very cautious.

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