We often plan a budget for monthly groceries, vacations, and allowances, but did you know it is important to plan a budget for your next interior design project? It is just as important to know what to expect from your interior designer. Kate Hartman Interiors’ approach to the interior design budgeting process is unique. Keep reading to find out what sets us apart as we cultivate each client’s unique style.

How Much Will My Interior Design Cost?

That’s the million-dollar question, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The scope of every interior design project is different as well as a client’s quality expectations. 

Having a conversation with each client about individual budgets is the best way to begin each project. Kate Hartman Interiors supplies its clients with detailed Terms and Conditions that outline what we do, how we do it, and how we will work with you. Managing expectations at the beginning by being very upfront and transparent about our process eliminates as many surprises as possible down the road.

bathroom vanity and mirror
Bar styles by Kate Hartman Interiors

Avoiding Sticker Shock

The most common complaint we hear from potential clients about our industry is that designers failed to disclose costs until the end of the process. Kate Hartman Interiors believes it’s better to have this discussion on the front end. Being upfront on pricing is crucial so that you can plan and prepare your budget. Due to our extensive experience after an initial conversation with a potential client about their project as well as their quality and style expectations, we can typically provide the client with an idea on the expected range to furnish particular spaces.  And if you are nowhere near that number with your budget, there’s no reason to pay us for the initial consultation or to put together an itemized list and budget.

Although it is much easier for us to explain the number after we’ve do an itemized list and budget – vs. explaining a lump sum – we don’t believe that’s the right thing to do. We’d rather have a candid conversation in the beginning and avoid the possibility of prospective clients getting upset when they realize they cannot afford or are not willing to pay for the furnishings we selected. 

Our Philosophy: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

The overarching design of your entire home and the way the different rooms interact with one another becomes more successful when designed together than when each space is designed as an isolated project. Think of it like this: better together than apart.

Many times, clients hire interior designers to work on one or two spaces at a time. The choices the client or designer makes are different from what they would have made were they aware at some point they could also be designing the adjacent room(s). At Kate Hartman Interiors, we believe creating a vision for your home should not take place in a vacuum. Concepts created from a holistic and complete design always yield a much better result.

Understanding What You Are Paying For

Most people don’t realize the amount of time it takes to visualize the design, create a budget, select the items, make cut sheets, confirm pricing, enter it into the system, order samples, label samples, get everything ready for the client meetings, etc. All those details can be quite time-consuming!

Kate Hartman Interiors includes a consultation fee for the initial consultation, budgeting and follow up meeting. Once we move to the design phase, clients pay an hourly rate for our services (the time it takes to do the design and facilitate all the pieces from start to finish) in addition to paying for the furnishings. For each space, we also tell you how many hours we anticipate are needed to complete the design selections. This number also helps you plan your budget.

It’s All in the Details

For existing spaces, we meet you at your space, go through all the rooms and make a comprehensive list of the items we believe will be needed for the design to be complete. On renovation or new build projects, we work with the homeowner’s construction plans to develop a comprehensive list of fixtures and finish selections as well as the furnishings items to complete a project. We also inventory home decor and accessories that you already have that could be used in the design and what might need to be purchased.

For example, the list for a living room might look something like this: two sofas, two chairs, rug, two table lamps, console, floor lamp, accessories, artwork over the mantle, artwork collection over in this spot, new light fixture, two stools, drapes, and rods. This list turns into line items on a spreadsheet, and we assign a budget number for each item.

Next, we set up a follow-up meeting with you to review photos of our design inspiration, as well as the line items and budget. We go over what the line items mean in terms of quality and price. Let’s dig a little deeper into what that looks like:

  • Let’s say the budget for the sofa line item is $3,750. We tell you what kind of quality and brand we are looking at and the available options regarding style, fabrics, and any limitations. And, if you want something more custom, we’ll let you know that the line item will need to be increased to $4,500+.
  • Or, say you have indoor pets or small children and are not willing to invest over a certain amount of money on a rug because they know it is likely to get ruined, we will suggest alternatives. Instead of a wool rug for $4,000, we recommend swapping it for an indoor-outdoor rug from an online vendor for $1,500.
  • Another example would be if you have a certain price point that you would like to stay at or below for an item. We will let you know if we have a supplier that can meet that number and what you can expect for the quality of that item at that price point. 

This feedback helps us understand what’s most important to you so we can move things around and adjust accordingly. We continue this process until you sign off on the budget and approve our hours to complete the design and installation.

Owning Your Space

At this point, the design belongs to you and you can choose how to move forward. With Kate Hartman Interiors, you could decide to purchase items in stages or complete the rooms in different phases, buy it all at once, buy none of it, or do whatever you’d like to do. Because you purchased the complete design, you have everything needed to determine the best way to proceed. If a client would like to do the design in phases, we do always suggest completing one space completely before moving to the next space. We have found that spreading the budget around to too many spaces at one time without completing spaces will lead to a dissatisfied client.

Get Started On Your Interior Design Plan

Partnering with an interior designer is an investment in your home. The overall benefits Kate Hartman Interiors provides to our clients outweigh the costs. Remember to consider the big picture and the scope of what your project involves. Contact us today to learn more about your complete design consultation.