Realistic Budgets

Let’s be real, once most people get excited about a project, the LAST thing they think about is providing a budget for the project. Can you believe that? Most people will schedule a consultation, pay for it, and have “no idea” what their budget is for the project.


Most people go into meeting with a carpenter, decorator, or designer and expect them to “give a free estimate.” I can understand this for basic construction, but it can be dangerous for complete remodel, or new build projects.


Why isn’t this spoken of more often? We see clients paying construction companies hundreds of thousands of dollars, who never provide a bullet point list of what is actually included in those costs, so as we move throughout the project, we see so many added costs for our clients that “weren’t included in the original proposal.” The allowances for some of the most important things, like flooring, tile, lighting, backsplash, countertops, are unrealistic ...pathetic, really. I can seriously go off on a tangent here, but I won’t. I’ll save a story for our WTF Pixie blog. I have hundreds. So, let’s focus on the budget.



You get what you pay for. If someone submits a proposed estimate for you, especially smaller businesses, I guarantee that this is the fairest they can do it for. Know your market. If a detailed list isn’t provided, you should ask, or reconsider who your hiring. Most larger companies have several middlemen, that each specializes in a field, and every one of them has their own mark.


I suggest setting out to make a master list of what you want to achieve within your project, and then go through it and prioritize. Set a realistic budget of what you can spend at this time, and think about what you can spend in 6 months, a year, and every 6 months after that. Being honest with yourself and the company that you inquire with, will only benefit you in the long run. Knowing what your priorities are in each project and communicating that with the person you hire is important.


Having a budget for a design job will help any designer narrow down what products they are using in your space. From Walmart to Restoration Hardware… depending on the company. That is exactly what we do for our clients at Pixie Living Solutions. I have formulated a master plan that benefits our clients getting the most for their dollar. The first thing we do is require a budget to begin estimating and designing a project. We shop everything from used, local, Hobby Lobby, to custom-made items, up cycled, reused, revamped, antiques, vintage materials, to unique vendors all over the world.


What’s your budget? Start there. Be honest. Be real.




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