How to Determine the Cost of Furnishing a Home



How to Determine the Cost of Furnishing a Home

Most couples who hire me to remodel or redesign their home have no idea how much of their budget to allocate for new décor and furnishings. Because of this, I take them through several steps during our initial two hour, in-home consultation that allow me to discover what they and their home need. In the end, we determine what percentage of their overall budget needs to be set aside for the finishing touches, like sofas and dining sets.

Here is my step-by-step method for determining how much it will cost to furnish a home:

Step 1: Determine a reasonable financial limit for the entire project

In our process of getting to know our clients, we ask them how much they want to spend. If they have only $40,000 to spend, that is our hard number. Period.

During this step, I ask my clients to make a specific list of their needs and wants for their new space (e.g. subway tile, new cabinetry, wall paper, open floor plan) and rank them in order of importance. If their budget is on the small side, we remove the lower priority items first or find satisfying alternatives.

Step 2: Take inventory of current furnishings and scrutinize the potential new ones.

Most often, my clients have purged a majority of their belongings and are ready to start fresh. However, some clients want to keep and incorporate family heirlooms into their design. This is important for them and us to know up front.

Every so often, a client of mine will fall in love with “that cushy white sofa from Restoration Hardware,” but also share their home with kids, pets, or messy adults. In this situation, I steer them away from their first love and toward high-performance fabrics instead. This pivot can affect the cost (for the better) and timeline of the project, which is why we tackle it early in our creative process.

Pro Tip: If you have pets, choose polypropylene area rugs and avoid laminate wood floors (read here for the best flooring for homes with pets and small children). 


Step 3: Determine Sizes and Quantities of Each Needed Furniture Piece

We go hardcore with this one and help our clients answer the following questions:

“So you want a white sofa—cool. How much seating do you need in your living room? Will the family room or entertainment room need seating as well? Do you want a coffee table for each sofa? What about end tables? How is the lighting in each room? How many area rugs will you need?”

Again, it’s not the responsibility of our client to answer these questions on their own. We help them determine quantities and dimensions, as both of these factors will affect their investment. If you are having difficulty with this step, go here to get a perfect furniture layout

Pro Tip: You can download my free design eGuide to help you get perspective. 

A Step by Step Guide to Determine the Cost of Furnishing a Home-dinning-room

A Step by Step Guide to Determine the Cost of Furnishing a Home-dinning-room

Step 4: Get or Create a Scaled Drawing of the Space

Grab some graph paper and sketch out a scaled floor plan or request blueprints from the builder / listing agent.

I often receive calls from clients who say, “I just bought a new couch and it doesn’t fit in my room!” Scaling your space can prevent this and save you a lot of money in the end.

Pro Tip: Learn how to measure and draw a room, complete with graph paper to print and use. <span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Download “How to Measure and Draw a Room” here

Step 5: Figure Out What Things Cost with a Budget Breakdown

A Step by Step Guide to Determine the Cost of Furnishing a Home-living-room

A Step by Step Guide to Determine the Cost of Furnishing a Home-living-room

Download printable version of all three worksheets here

At this point, we ask our clients, “Have you just moved into your forever house or is this a stepping stone home?” This determines how much of the budget we can safely invest in furnishings. If our client plans to move in less than a decade, we opt for middle range furnishings (and can safely source trend-based items, if preferred). If they never want to move again, we suggest classic, high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time both aesthetically and structurally.

Feeling overwhelmed by the design process already? Schedule your complimentary 30 minute phone consultation and we can chat about your design dilemma and the best way to tackle it. 



Comments (2)
  • Jani Allen
    | 9 February 2018

    Thank you,Kathleen!I absorb your posts on line, and have learned SO much from you!
    Now, you have given me a method of scheduling the cost of this
    huge expense of furnishing my beautiful new home!
    I am moving into Kalea Bay, Naples, FL.

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