The first step to decorating your home is determining your decorating budget. Follow this easy step-by-step process to figure out your decorating budget and stick to it!Deciding to decorate your home is a fun, exciting experience. Every step in the process has its own magic to it, from putting together your ideas and inspiration, to implementing them, to finally enjoying the results. One of the most important parts of a successful decorating project is to establish your budget. A decorating budget will help you set realistic goals and comfortably decorate your home without over-extending yourself financially. Here are our tips for setting a decorating budget that will allow you to create a space you’ll love.

Tips for Setting a Decorating Budget

Make a Wish List

First, make a list of everything you would like to do to your home. This includes furniture, accessories, painting the walls, and renovations like changing the floors or cabinets. For this first list, hold nothing back. Put down absolutely everything you would like to do decorating-wise as if money was no object. Then, divide everything up into two lists: Wants and Needs. For example, if your sofa is falling apart or if you don’t even have one yet, then that would go on the Needs list. New floors, however, may only be a Want if your current floors are in good condition but simply aren’t your first choice.

Estimate the Investment

The next step is to find out what everything on both lists really costs. You may be surprised once you start pricing things out and writing the numbers down. Some things on your Need list may get moved to the Want list (at least for now) once you’ve seen what the investment will be and realize it’s not as important as you thought, and some things may end up migrating from the Wants to Needs if you can fit it in later. This is a good time to comparison shop, too. There is a wide range of potential investment for most furniture and accessories, so check both the high and low-end options and write them down, too.

Price Out Labor and Materials

Besides just the décor, you’ll need to consider the price of materials and labor. Painting the walls, for example, requires more than just the paint. You’ll want to consider not only how many gallons you’ll need (determined by the size of the space and how many coats will be required), but also supplies like brushes, rollers, trays, and drop cloths. Labor can also get costly. Determine which projects you are willing to take on yourself (do your research first to get a realistic idea of what is involved) and which ones you will be better off hiring professionals to do. Then, do some research on what those projects typically cost from resources like HomeAdvisor.com before you start collecting quotes from local contractors.

Define Your Priorities

It’s important to define your priorities. Your budget may not allow for you to get everything at once, so figure out what you most urgently need and go from there. Larger pieces should generally be purchased first because it’s easier to decorate around them than to try to find things like a sofa or bed frame that matches the rest of your décor. Also, if there is anything you need to do to make the house more functional or get it ready for another element, such as electrical wiring for lighting, make sure that is prioritized, too.

Build in a Cushion

There are always unexpected costs that pop up when you are working on a decorating project, especially if any renovations are included. It’s also easy to go over budget on shopping if you see something you just have to have or end up needing you hadn’t included in your original list. We recommend building in 10%-15% cushion into your budget to make up for anything unexpected.

Make a Decorating Plan

With all of this information, it’s time to put together a decorating plan. Use a physical planner, notebook, or Excel sheet to keep track of your budget and what you actually spend, as well as a timeline for all of your projects and purchases. This will help you stay organized and top of everything, as well as make it easy to adjust accordingly if anything changes. Want help putting together a decorating plan that will work within your budget? Check out our Virtual Decorating service! >>