Being in lockdown is the perfect time to plan the interior design project on your home that you have been thinking about for a while but have been too busy to ‘get the ball rolling’.

There are construction sites still operating but the problem has been sourcing materials. Many suppliers have closed or are working on reduced hours, but it is manufacturing or the lack of it that has made progressing any project almost impossible.

When everything comes back online, the backlog on getting orders fulfilled is going to be very long indeed.

What we at Koubou have been doing is specifying for our clients and getting the orders in the supply chain queue for when things start moving again. What this has also shown is that supply and demand also creates issues with the contract budget. Having a contingency available for when the unexpected happens is good planning anyway, so how do you budget for a project, so that the unexpected does not cause a real headache and a nasty hole in your finances?

In my blog ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ I talk about planning a project properly. This is fundamental to making sure you stay on budget.

Tips for helping you stay on budget for an interior design project

Start with a good Architect and or Interior Architect/Designer. Give them your preferred budget, they will then be able to manage expectations. This is very important. A lot of residential clients don’t take into consideration that the internal finishing can sometimes cost as much as the build itself.  Consideration is often not given to the cost of installation as well as the cost of the goods themselves. You may be able to pick a kitchen up on the internet for very little, but the cost of fitting, plumbing, and electrics can cost much more than the kitchen itself. Is it then good money management to install a cheap kitchen and then have to do it again in two years? The cost to install will be similar and you are doing it twice in a very short period of time because you didn’t consider the bigger picture. An interior designer will be able to help you with finding the manufacturers and builders that can support you and your project, as well as your interior project budget.

Spend money upfront – paying for a decent set of drawings and specifications is going to save you money in the long run. You can then obtain a few proper quotes from a builder, making sure that you compare the quotes carefully. Remember to compare ‘apples for apples’, check everything off against each quote. You want to know what is included, don’t just accept a lump sum. This is dangerous – a lot of quotes are just to ‘plastered shell’ stage. This is what I mean by the internal finishing costing the same as the build. Just for starters – bathrooms, kitchen, flooring. You can see where I am going. You should have at least 10% of the overall budget as a contingency fund, this isn’t just a good idea, it is imperative. Building is not an exact science and nasty problems such as faulty wiring, drainage etc can become apparent once the demolition starts. This can become very expensive. Don’t ignore these problems and try to cover them back up because you want to save the money for that lovely chandelier you have your heart set on. You run the risk of not getting the work signed off and not obtaining certificates to show that the electrical work is up to code. This can easily come back to haunt you when you want to sell the property.

Use professionals, you will make the cost of fees back many times over. They will stop mistakes, also, you can tap into the buying power and contacts these people have.

It has always amazed me that people think that it is easy to design and project manage a major project themselves. You would never consider operating on yourself or doing your own dentistry, why consider designing and managing your own build? It can be ruinous to your budget and your mental health. Your budget may never recover!

A project on your home which is, after all, likely to be your most expensive asset, should be an exciting time and with careful planning and management of your budget, it will be.