Why Budget is not the priority in renovation

When starting this #GetReadyForYourProject month, I knew I would have to speak about budget. Of course, Budget in home renovation is usually one of the biggest concern. But what to write then ? Coming up with the same sentence full of desperation « it’s impossible to say exactly how much it will cost as so many factors are coming into account. Ask several quotations to several companies » ? No, thank you. I don’t think you need to read this once again. Instead, I can share my experience and do what I’m meant to do in my job. Meaning, helping you make this experience of home renovation as smooth as possible. And it starts with getting rid off the incredible amount of stress you’re putting on the definition of your budget. Let’s give you another perspective on this.

Budget is not the center of the world

First, let’s take down a myth here. Starting a home renovation or hiring an interior architect doesn’t mean you have to be able to rip out your all home to be legitimate in your project.

You’re probably tempted to insist on the fact that it is a « small project »… only because you’re planning to change only one room. Maybe you keep saying you don’t have a « big budget »... just because you have one. And, in the funniest case, you even think your project is not serious because...you have some furniture you want to keep ! (true story)

I’ll tell you something : it’s not the amount of the budget or how many pieces of furniture you want to keep that is important. In my point of view, the most important is that, at least, you have informations to share about your goal.

Budget is a frame, not the picture itself.

Budget is important, yes. It’s a decision-making tool as it put limits and can even be too tight for what you want. But budget is a frame, not the picture itself.

It’s the most common confusion to think budget is the starting point. But your project won’t start with your budget. It will start with what you desire.

Carte blanche : freedom or trap ?

Let’s take an obvious example. Who’ve never dream to tell someone « go for it, you have carte blanche ». Maybe you’ve already done that. Or not, it doesn’t matter. The thing is, everybody thinks it’s the best option when starting a project. After all, it means no limit on the budget, it means all your dreams will come true, it means all this beautiful, original design is for you. You even probably think that’s the only dream of an interior architect as it’s the one way to express his/her full creativity.

But this is not the all truth.

 Indeed carte blanche means financial freedom in a home renovation. Yes, it means no limit on exclusive brands of design. Indeed it gives a guarantee that the project will be a unique piece of art. And I will not lie, yes, it’s fun to unleash creativity and not worry too much about the costs.

But it can also become a crazy nightmare. For both of us.

Why ? Because all this freedom without any limits settled will become like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning : going all around, moving from one present to the other without having any idea of what present he likes the most.

Conclusion : money doesn’t solve everything. First step first : define what you want. Your budget will decide what is the best way to reach it, that’s all.

Create 3 budgets

« But I still have to define a budget to know what I can do. A Home renovation is not for free, I have to plan it. » I hear you and don’t worry, I certainly don't want to lead you into bankruptcy. That’s why I would recommend to identify not one but 3 different budgets. Yes, 3. No matter how many digits they contain.

First one will be the easiest. Let’s call it the « security budget ». You will define the amount of money you have available for you project right now, as part of your savings maybe. Without thinking too hard and without doing any complicated maths, write down the budget you feel completely safe with. It’s your starting point and it will give you a first glimpse at what’s possible to do with it.

The second budget, we will call it the « optimal budget ». This one is based on the security budget but adding some more ressources you can balance by planning your economy. You are in a mindset of investing but still feel comfortable and in control. This is usually the one people chose first.

The third one, let’s call it the « extra budget ». After defining your optimal budget, ask yourself to which level you are ready to stretch it if it was to afford a smarter solution or a piece of furniture you’re falling in love with. This budget is not to be considered as freely available money but more as a flexible tool in case of need. Having this budget in mind will give you more freedom and will take off some stress when decisions will have to be made during your renovation.

Behind these 3 numbers lie 3 differents quality of finishes, 3 different building solutions, 3 different designs.

For only one goal.

If it’s not defined, all the budgets in the world are useless.


It’s a bit difficult to go against the common idea and dare to say « no, budget is not so important » but I hope you get what I mean. I like all kind of projects because they all reveal a specific challenge. But when people contacts me by giving me no other informations than their budget, I must say I feel a bit desperate for few minutes. Of course, I quickly take my all list of questions out of my pocket and start my interview to get clearer on the needs but, if you are on your own, you will have difficulties to know where to start.

My idea of getting ready for a project of home renovation is to plan as much as possible in advance to create some freedom and flexibility for later. It’s about getting an outline which will prevent being completely lost later. It’s about stretching the comfort zone right at the beginning to feel more comfortable afterwards. It’s about going through lot of informations and select them from the start instead of waiting and having them all mixed up with all the data you will have to face throughout the all process until you get your new home.

« Creativity needs space to flourish ». If you use your budget as the key element of your project, lot of possibilities will be invisible to your eyes and mind.

What you want, what you desire, the core of your ambition opens a wide range of possibilities.

Your budget put limits.

Just organize your reflection in the right order.


Have a nice day!


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