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Hi, I'm Raluca, the Creative Director & Founder of Detail Movement. Feel free to have a look around and get in touch if you have any questions.

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How to set up your interior design budget (Part 2)

How to set up your interior design budget (Part 2)

Have you ever wanted to redesign your home but have no idea about the budget? How do you even start putting together such a budget? Stress not, I’ve got you covered! I've shared a couple of tips in my last blog post about interior design budget (you can have a look here for tips 1 - 3). 

So, I am going to assume that you've downloaded the free template I made for and you have started to think about what you'll need for your project. If not, fear not, you can download the template here.

Right, so now that you have gone through each room of your home and decided which things you are going to keep and which items will go, you can start determining the costs.

©Detail Movement - Interiors Budget

©Detail Movement - Interiors Budget


After you've pinned down what is essential and what is not, come up with an amount that you are feeling comfortable spending. Even if you don’t have an exact number, you most likely have a figure in mind.

In order to find this number, the easiest thing you could do would be to make a detailed list (another one? Yes another one) of all the things you wish to change, but this time include other things besides furniture. This is the best time to think about all the elements of your project (here are some examples to think about):

  • Furniture;

  • Decorative Lights;

  • Materials (wooden floors, tiles for floors, tiles for walls, wall paint, ceiling paint, windows and door frames, skirting boards etc.);

  • Window treatments (curtains);

  • Carpets (and rugs);

  • Wallpaper (Will you go for wallpaper on all the walls throughout your home or just in some rooms?);

  • Electrics (Are you planning to change the position of existing lamps or sockets that might require wires to be moved?);

  • Radiators (Do you need new ones or are you replacing existing ones, planning on moving their position?);

  • Re-designing the Bathroom layout (i.e moving the bathtub or the WC in a different position will potentially require moving the water pipes);

  • Re-designing the Kitchen layout (same as the bathroom example, moving the hob or extraction fan can require a re-position of air vents and other pipes. Also think about the cabinets/counter tops - do you plan on keeping them or change them?);

  • HVAC system and/or Boiler system;

  • Ironmongery and hardware (i.e replacing door knobs, socket plates, change positions of lights, add new sockets etc.);

  • Building fees/costs (labour costs and, if needed, demolition costs);

  • Inspection/Specialists/Consulting fees/costs (i.e. if you need a structural engineer on site to advice with a potential problem or if builders discover mould or asbestos in your home);

  • Repair services;

  • Installation fees (furniture, art, internet, electrics, plumbing etc);

  • Delivery fees (deliveries of materials, furniture, art, decorative lights etc);

  • Artwork;

  • Accessories;

  • Designers fees (creating the concept, time spent on the project, drawings, experience, expertise, connections, liaising with builders and managing site to make sure the design is correctly implemented);

  • Relocation (Where are you going to stay if you are redoing your flat/house all at once? Will you rent a place, stay in a hotel or stay with friends/family?);

  • Taxes (additional shipment/customs charges, VAT's or planning permissions);

  • Contingency (15% - 20% of your total budget for overruns and unexpected things).

©Detail Movement - Interiors Budget

©Detail Movement - Interiors Budget

Once you’ve listed every possible thing that comes to mind, try to attribute an estimated cost to them. For example, let's take the internet: BT charges a certain fee for a standard connection (if there is no BT line in the property); IKEA charges a custom delivery rate depending on where you live (your postcode) in London etc.

If you don’t have an idea of how much things would cost, you can always do a search online, ask builders, painters or even friends (who have gone through the process before), for a quote/estimation to get a rough idea. Alternatively, you can go on specific Facebook groups or on forums, where specialists hang out and ask for their idea of prices.

This way, it’s a bit easier to keep track of everything and see where you can tweak things. As the project progresses, it might be that the wooden floors that you’ve estimated for the Living Room at around £1200.00 might only cost £1000.00, which means you’ve gained an extra £200 to let’s spend in another area, i.e to buy those accessories you've really wanted for your bathroom.

To help you with this I made a list of furniture prices that you can download below for free and start using as soon as you want. The list has 3 categories: low range, mid range and high range. This way you can get an idea of how much certain pieces of furniture cost on the market. Click below to get your free copy!

©Detail Movement - How to set up your Interior Design Budget

©Detail Movement - How to set up your Interior Design Budget

Remember that when you undertake an interior design project, there will always be the following costs: labour, the teams that do the design and those that actually built the project, material costs, demolition costs (potentially), as well as extra costs that may arise throughout the project’s execution and furniture procurement.

Also, there are delivery and/or shipping costs (from products that come from different countries) and a difference in currency (which can sometimes cost you more or less). All these things need to be taken into consideration when putting together your budget. It’s never just the cost of the furniture.


Always add a contingency of 15% - 20% of that total sum you just put together. This is to account for the unexpected things or problems that may appear during the project (that couldn’t have been known before starting the works). For example, discovering mould or damp that needs to be treated right away or the state of a structural element that needs reinforcing before doing anything else; thus leading to the need of contacting/hiring a specialist to deal with the problem.

SIDE NOTE: This is another thing I want to touch base on. When you receive a specialist's or designer’s fee and you feel that it’s “outrageously high”, remember that you are not only paying for that designer’s skills and experience. You are also paying for her/his expertise, (years of study and experience), insights, connections, discounts and time.

A designer creates the concept, puts together the design, researches furniture and materials, selects the best possible combinations in terms of quality, material and price (that is within the budget) and puts everything together; coordinates with the builders, electricians, painters on site; arranges the furniture deliveries and the installation; makes sure that everything comes at the right time and that the end result is in line with the project brief. It’s not just picking cushions and curtains as some might think.


If you are finding this to be a bit too much to do (after all, it's a lot of research), you can always try costing a different way. Make a budget per room by dividing the number you have in mind into different proportions for the items inside. For example, let’s say that you are planning to redesign your Bedroom. You’ll want to relocate money into 7 areas: carpet, wallpaper (or paint), window treatments (curtains), furniture, accessories, light fixtures and the designer’s fee.

Instead of thinking with cash, try costing the elements listed above by using percentages. By doing so, you are able to see what you can afford and where. Better yet, this can be a good exercise to see how willing you are to invest in these parts. Perhaps a better bed is more important to you than the curtains. Or the carpet is more important than having wallpapered walls (in which case you could save money by having them painted instead).

Not only is this helpful for you to have a clear picture of what you are willing to spend money on but it will also help your designer as well. The more information we, as designers, have from you (the client) the better we can create your vision. This saves us both time, money and can result in a better design and service. Also, you are in the “loop” about your budget, you know where you are willing to overstep and where you are not. This way you limit a lot of surprises. It’s a win-win, I would say.

©Detail Movement - Interiors Budget

©Detail Movement - Interiors Budget

6. CONSIDER PHASING THE PROJECT (before starting the project).

If, after you’ve done all this work, you see that you actually cannot afford to redesign your home (although you really want too), consider doing it in phases. Nobody is forcing you to do it all at once or in one go. You don’t have to go into debt in order to have the home of your dreams. It may take longer that way, but it’s also more manageable (especially if you are worried about creating a big gap in your household income).

Again, it’s all about prioritizing, what is urgent and what is not, which room needs repairs and which room can wait for the next round of works. If there is no priority and you want to do the project in phases, start with the rooms you use the most, i.e. the bedrooms or bathrooms/kitchen. That way you have the necessities covered and up to the latest standards. If this is not as important to you, then start with any room that you want. It’s your home, after all, you can do it whichever way you like.

Redesigning a home can be a daunting and stressful process, especially when money is involved but remember that you are investing in a better quality of life for yourself. It doesn’t always have to feel this way, though. You can ask for help and go that extra mile for less stress (and some piece of mind) by reaching out to friends or by hiring an interior designer. You don't have to go through this process alone.

A specialist will always be able to help you and guide you through your project. That’s what we do as designers, we are here to help you make informed decisions and to create a special environment that represents you and only you.

If you need any help to determine your budget, I’ve put together some checklists to help you through this process. You can download it below for free. If you need help with your project/budget, you can always get in touch. I would be happy to help you.

Have you ever gone through this process before? Or have you put together a budget for your project in a different way? Let me know your thoughts below or on our Facebook Page; alternatively, you can always share your experience on Instagram. Just tap @detailmovement and leave your message there. Don't forget to join our tribe and stay up to date with everything (all you have to do is click the picture below).

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Raluca x

All images that are credited as '©Detail Movement', are done by Raluca Vaduva for Detail Movement. All rights reserved. All pictures that are not my own, I credit them to the best of my knowledge & research, to their online sources. I do not claim ownership over them in any way. If you see your picture on this site and do not wish for it to be displayed, please get in touch and I will remove it or add additional notes at your request.

Christmas Decor in the Living Room for only £65.50

Christmas Decor in the Living Room for only £65.50

How to set up your interior design budget (Part 1)

How to set up your interior design budget (Part 1)