Oh we all know, the kitchen is the one room in the house where you can really drop some big money! And you rarely have a client who just tells you to go for it without a single thought of what the costs are. Even my highest-income clients want to rein in spending, but it can be tough to get it right in the kitchen. So try these 4 tips to get that budget balanced!
Be Clear About the Costs
When I’m talking to a prospective client – yes, before they’ve even signed on with me – I start talking about how much things costs. I’ll show them photos of kitchens I’ve designed and I’ll tell them what the budget was. I’m careful to show them a range, too, so they can see what the budget will buy them. This starts setting an expectation for them! Be sure to also show them a full-gut kitchen and a kitchen that was just slightly updated. And honestly tell them which one they have, so they can start to see what their budget will need to be.
Get a Clear Budget from the Client
One of the hardest things for an interior designer to do is get a client to actually tell them EXACTLY what their budget is. It’s like they think they’re dealing with used car salesmen and they don’t want to get burned. So I always tell my clients that I’m going to be a good steward of their money and I want them to be happy with their kitchen. The ONLY way that can happen is if I know what their budget is. Down to the penny. I’ll ask a lot of questions at this point, like “do you think $8,000 is about right for a dishwasher?” Their answer will give you a lot of cues about what they REALLY want to spend.
Talk About Where to Splurge and Save
Another thing I do is determine what they most want in their kitchen. If they want it to look gorgeous, but they don’t really cook very often, that tells me a lot. They may want to spend more on cabinetry and light fixtures than on appliances. If they cook every night and love to entertain, then the appliances may be super-important, and they may even want a wine refrigerator. Understanding what’s important to them will help you know what needs to get more of the budget, and where you can spend less to make it fit the budget.
Plan for a Cushion
So you knock out a wall and find a major plumbing problem. Or there’s a joist where you weren’t expecting one. We’ve ALL had it happen. But if you plan ahead, hitting those challenges won’t completely ruin the project’s budget. I like to plan for a contingency of about 20% of the budget – and I’m upfront with my clients about that! I even prefer 30% with a remodel. And from the start of the project, I have a backup plan of where we could cut if we had to.
Budgeting perfectly is never easy – download my FREE 10 Tips to Help You Stay on Budget for even more ideas! Good luck!