How to ensure your project stays within your budget and avoid the pitfalls

‘Passion and Common Sense’ don’t always go hand in hand, when it comes to designing and managing a home renovation project.

Being objective instead subjective can be a struggle.  You must have dreams and ambitions for your new interior, but balance it with an objective point of view.

Top Tip: Hard work saves you money

Money can sometimes be a topic of discord between partners, but teamwork can and does prove invaluable. Give ‘collective time’ to researching and proper resourcing items, based on the ideal image, but also at a price you can afford.

Tight Fit Space Planning

Space is always at a premium  and when your special bathroom with Jacuzzi and Steam room is too  large to fit through the doorway for installation and the room is too small to make it look good as well as operate, it’s very disappointing and could have been avoided.

These are simple planning details which should have been considered with the design of the building.  Unfortunately,’ interior design’ is considered separately, to the design of the build and generic space planning by the architect, does not accommodate unique items, unless they have been specified by you.  They are not important to the planners, but they may be very special to your new interior.


Changes to a window size, or alterations to a roof line may require re-submission to planning, which is costly and time consuming.  Therefore, include key interior requirements early on in the design phase and not after planning submission.   You live on the inside of a building not the outside.

Project Costs and a Plan

Costing out your Project can be difficult if you don’t know where to start, but with a well-worked space plan, plus a schedule of works and specifications, you will find a much tighter fit price, to work with.  Don’t ask your builder about essential design details, once you are on site.  He has a different agenda.

  • ease of installation
  • keeping to his time frame
  • working within his price

Many builders can advise on how to achieve your design, but they need this information in advance so they are prepared and most want to give you a great service.

Changing your Mind

Not everything goes to plan and sometimes you need to change your mind when you see things taking shape, and you realise this is not going to give you what you want.  Avoid cost by;

  • understanding the size and scale of space and items at the ‘design stage’
  • testing out your colours and finishes in advance
  • taking professional independent advice
  • limiting the amount of bespoke or ‘never been done before’ routes

What is First Fix and Why is it Important?

Once the ripping out stage, remedial and structural alterations have been completed ,then it is time for the pipework for heating and wet areas, cables for lighting and power, TV and AV etc and you need to know where things are going.  Once the plastering has started all ‘tails’ should be in place. This can be researched whilst waiting for your planning permission to come through, using your time wisely.

What you don’t need to know at this stage

You don’t need to know the exact colour of the outlet plates, the type of TV or the make of the washing machine, but you do need to know where they are going and size. Flexible solutions with lighting positions, optional TV points, blinds or curtains, the kitchen company or free-standing elements are not important yet.  Ironically floor finishes are, to obtain smooth levels. Radiators, deserve clever resourcing and positioning.

Paint colours can be decided at the last minute. If you follow the advice of Design Help there is a Master Plan giving a step by step process, of arriving at the right concept and final design. Building an extension has a logical sequence, so does interior design.


When you are refurbishing an old property this is generally considered more expensive and risky with uncertainty throughout, therefore contingency for the unexpected needs to be far more generous and delays expected.

Being in Control

This is your project, your home and it needs your special attention to detail to save money and time.  Design Help is a very unique and special resource for the design of your interior.

  • Don’t project manage yourself
  • Keep everything on a very professional level at all times
  • Use a main contractor that respects your designs
  • Never ask ‘Well what would you do? ‘

Back to my ‘Top Tip’ hard work and your time, will in the long term, save you money.