How to Define a Budget for Your Interior Design Project

Designing a home is the furthest thing to easy. With so many things to think about and so many spaces to fill, doing it on your own can be quite overwhelming. However, setting a budget can make the bigger picture nice and clear. Additionally, setting a budget is critical to a successful project. That way, you know exactly what’s going to work and what isn’t.


But where do you start? Don’t worry that’s what I’m here for!

Step 1: Decide your budget

If you don’t have an exact number, give yourself a range. The last thing you want to do is pick all your pieces and fall in love with them just to conclude that you can’t afford them.

So, first things first, identify some numbers.

Side note: you’re probably going to have a set of additional unexpected costs such as tax, delivery, etc., so be mindful of this.

Step 2: Define your design style & color scheme

Know your vibe and have inspiration in hand. What is your design style? Minimalism, maximalism, mid-century, modern, rustic, etc.? What color schemes are you going for? Neutral, monochromatic?

Start with each individual space and figure out what structural things you’re going to want to change. For example, do you want to take down a certain wall? Do you want to install a wall?

Do you have an idea of what kind of flooring you want? Tile? Wood?

Take a look at your windows. What kind of curtains are you looking to add?

Step 3: Make a list of your needs and wants

Photo taken from High Definition Training's website

Identify your needs and wants prior to making any decisions. To quickly distinguish the two for you: your “needs” are the things that are required to make the space as functional as possible. Your “wants” are the things that complete a room, such as a throw blanket, throw pillow, décor, etc.

Some things to think about: Do you want a movie room? Do you want a playroom for you kids? What do you want and need personally? Do you want a giant bathroom with his and hers showers and sinks? Do you want a king size bed? Do you host dinner parties often? Do you need a dining room?

Listing your wants and needs will help you narrow down your costs & get you one step closer to building your dream home.

Step 4: Take your measurements and make a floor plan

Identify each room. Which one’s the living room? Which ones the bed room? Which ones the kitchen? What about the outdoor patio? Identifying each room is going to help narrow down what you need for each one.

For example, how many area rugs do you need? What size couch/bed can you fit? How much light do you need in each room? How many lamps? Where will they go? What will you be decorating with and do you need a sufficient amount of room for your décor?

What about side tables? Coffee tables? Dinner tables? Make sure you know the measurements of each room in order to adjust accordingly when filling your spaces with all the things you need and want!

Step 5: What is your home dynamic?

This one might sound funny but here’s why it’s important to think about: If you have kids and pets, you probably don’t want to pick certain colors or splurge on the most expensive rugs, couches, etc. because you know they’re going to get damaged quickly.

So, what you should consider looking into are performance materials/fabrics such as microfiber, pleather/leather, canvas, denim, wool, vinyl, etc. This way your when your pets shed and your children make messes and stains, it will be only a temporary problem.

Step 6: Let’s talk about your windows

Are you putting furniture near your windows? Is the fabric sun resistant or will it fade overtime? What kind of curtains did you have in mind? These are all things that matter and cost, so think wisely about these.

Step 7: Make a detailed list of all the products you want

Dining chairs, décor pieces, side tables, bed sheets, kitchen accessories, dining table centerpieces, art, the list is endless and I promise you’re going to forget stuff the first time around. My advice to you, make a spreadsheet on excel of every product that comes to mind and continue adding every day. Use Google to get a price estimate of each item and add the costs to the spreadsheet.

Step 8: Add it up & figure out the subtotal

Once you’ve taken a month, or two, or three, depending on how quickly you work and put things together, add it all up. As I mentioned above, remember that there are always unexpected costs. Whether it’s tax or delivery, or an error of any kind, you have to be mindful that there is potential for all of these things to happen.

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