First off, if you client's budget seems low, you should make this clear from the start. By recognizing a low budget early-on, you can tie in savings as part of your client's requirements and prime their expectations.
There are a number of strategies you can use to create a cost-effective space, and still get fairly paid.
Here’s our 7 tips to give your budget legs to go the distance:
1. Get a deeper understanding of the space's functional needs
With a low budget, each decision you make with have a larger overall impact. While collecting requirements, don't forget to spend time on functional expectations. While you cannot control all style concerns, the operation of the space can be heavily influenced regardless of price level.
The lower the budget is, the more your execution will stand out.
For more on this check out our complete guide to managing an interior decorating or design project.
2. Use paint to your advantage
Arguably the most cost-effective way to change or update a space is a fresh lick of paint. You can also get great value from styled paint or a fresco in nurseries, powder rooms, guest bathrooms, and other “jewel box” rooms.
3. Be creative with unused space
Small spaces go hand-in-hand with small budgets, and it’s important to be strategic with both. Your use of light and space becomes even more precious, and mirrors, window treatments, or light fixtures can go a long way.
Don’t forget key furnishings like storage ottomans and other multi-functional furniture which can leave plenty of space and avoid clutter.
4. Laser-focused statement pieces
It can be tempting to try and rein in spending on every single item you buy, but statement pieces can make an outsized impact on a small budget.
Instead, save on filler and anything less important to your client, and laser-focus on their priorities when choosing a statement piece.
5. Shop around
It might seem obvious, but there are tons of affordable alternatives to discount stores and retailers. Consider:
- Thrift stores
- Online marketplaces
- Estate sales
These are great ways to find unique, irreplaceable pieces that your clients will love, and also make huge savings. But remember to consider the time to browse and the potential cost to deliver items when scheduling your project.
6. Accept mixing and matching
Adopting an eclectic style can bring a lot of breathing room into the type of space you’ve planned. On a low budget, it can also help to draw attention when you have fewer options.
7. Get your hands dirty
There are plenty of ways DIY can bridge the gap in a tight budget. It can also be extremely risky if it is your first attempt. Finishing a small wood surface, cutting small curtains, or painting frescos could be a good place to start.
Like many other ways to save money, consider the amount of your time it will consume when budgeting and scheduling.
A matter of time
All in all, small projects and budgets present a challenge to your time as well as your standards. It’s important to be flexible with the places you source products, the styles you choose, and where you spend your time.
Just remember that while you might feel squeezed by a budget, each decision you make will be all the more important.