How much should you budget for your reno?

How much should you budget for your reno?

I can confidently say that the cost of any type of interior design or interior styling work is the most important question clients want an answer to. Clients want to know how much they need to realise their dream space. The problem is that there are literally so many variables that there is no one answer to how much you should budget for your renovation project. But I can share with you costs based on my clients’ experience.

Scope of Work

For an interior designer to accurately quote a project we need to understand the scope of work. Essentially this is how big or how small the project is.  The interior designer’s fee does not include the cost of furniture, furnishings, finishes, fittings, fixtures and other selections.

Cost of materials and labour are separate costs that vary considerably depending on the scope of work. The interior design fee usually includes some or all of the following design documents; mood boards, floor plans, specifications list, and 3D images. As well as sourcing samples and presenting a flat lay.

A flay lay is a ‘live’ mood board of the samples for your project arranged in such a way to help communicate the overall look and feel of the space.

Kitchens & Bathrooms

By far kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular type of renovation or refurbishment. I consider a renovation of either of these spaces to be a change in layout. Possibly moving a wall, so a structural element. A refurbishment is essentially keeping the existing layout but changing the style.

From my experience a refurbishment of a kitchen can cost between $30,000-$50,000. Clients who have spent $30,000 did some of the work themselves and coordinated the tradespeople. And got Ikea to do the cabinetry.

A kitchen renovation on a 3 bedroom house, can cost between $50,000-$100,000. This is because the layout is changing, and therefore the trade work is more complex and time consuming.

Of course a kitchen or bathroom refurb in a different sized space, with second hand cabinetry bought from Facebook Marketplace is cheaper but I’m relating my client’s experience.

Interior Styling

To update the look and feel of a space such as a living room or master bedroom has two cost considerations. The fee to engage an interior designer and the cost of furniture, furnishings and finishes. The cheapest I can do a living room, which is considered a show case space is $5,500.

That cost is broken down in two stages. Design and concept and design implementation. The cost for furniture, furnishings and wall or floor finishes varies but on average the cost ranges $5,000-$10,000. The big variable is the cost of trades. For example, one of my clients recently paid $3,000 for a painter for their large living/dining room. And $9,000 for window treatments so their budget was more than $10,000 for one space.

Extensions and Renovations

For extensions and renovations, I don’t recommend spending more than 10% of the value of your property. Primarily because you don’t want to over capitalise and lose money down the track when it comes time to sell.

There are other ways to budget for an extension or renovation such as an amount p/m2. And some architectural or building association websites have some good guides and advice on costings. Do your homework, speak to as many people as possible and above all be realistic about your budget.

There are a lot of misconceptions about how much to budget for your renovation project. But one thing remains true, you get what you pay for. You can’t expect amazing quality and great customer service on a budget. Having said that you can get a good result for your project by doing some of it yourself and making some astute decisions.


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