Designing to a Budget
Recently we were asked to describe what our typical commercial interior designs end up costing our customer for finishes and lighting. We reached out to a general contractor customer asking them if our work with them over the years resulted in any useable budget averages that we could share with this inquiring new customer. Their response was very helpful:
“In our work with r.o.i. Design, no two projects look the same and seldom use the same finishes or details so it would be hard to quote ‘an average’ square foot cost. We have seen r.o.i. Design respond to very budget-driven projects, but they can also deliver competitive grade interior design.”
They went further to describe budgeting of an interior in a very understandable way, “When a customer asks about average square foot interior costs, we ask them what they think a typical bag of groceries cost. The response is the realization that a bag of groceries can range widely in cost depending on what is in the bag.”
And while that vague response doesn’t satisfy the question of what an interior may cost, it does help put a disclaimer to any budget number given before a qualified scope of the interior is created.
The ideal process to budgeting an interior:
- Confirm the square footage being built or remodeled. Confirm the type of space and it’s intended use.
- Confirm the “scope of the interior finishes”. What will be carpet, what will be resilient flooring, what will be tile flooring, what will be painted, what will be wallcovering, etc?
- Determine the quality level of finish expected, ask what other spaces that are already built describe the desired outcome.
- Using square footage numbers and consulting with the General Contractor, multiply typical costs (by the level of finish) by area.
This process results in scope and a budget that can be used for the basis of design. In many cases, the first calculations require revisions for a variety of reasons.
r.o.i. Design’s by-line is “Budget, Brand, and Beauty”. We aim to deliver them all, and in that order.
The benefit of starting with the budget and scope is that interior design decisions are less likely to need changes, creating less disappointment and fewer fees.
r.o.i. Design respects the team approach in the design-build process where the architect, general contractor and interior designer work together to agree on the scope of the work and related budgets.