New homeowners are generally stunned by the real costs involved in furnishing and filling that new home. Why shouldn’t they be? How many rooms does the average, “normal person” (aka a non-designer) actually have experience furnishing and designing? 5? Maybe 9? To put that into perspective and by contrast, as a quick count on my fingers and toes – we’ve had our hand in over 27 “rooms” in the first 11 months of this year alone…not counting commercial spaces. And I run a small, boutique design company. The point is, professional designers see a lot of full room and house budgets each year. I see room “facelift” budgets, too. Like my designing brethren, I provide smelling salts when necessary as the “b” word…budget…comes up in furniture purchasing discussions.
Ready for those smelling salts? Better yet, grab a chair and a vodka tonic. Let’s do some interior design number crunching and furnish a fictitious house together.
Some real numbers:
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median size of newly constructed homes in the US today is 2,100 square feet. That same new home has an average purchase price of $232,000. Bear in mind, these are averages. If you just purchased a 3,400 square foot home in a prime neighborhood in Houston, Boston, NY or Chicago, you can pump up that purchase figure substantially. But for our example let’s stick with the purchase price given of $232,000. Go get your calculator.
In today’s thinking in the interior design industry, it will take between 12% and 35% of a home’s purchase price to furnish and fill that new home down to the last lamp. If you need very little, you will be closer to that 12% mark. If you need to purchase a lot, then you will easily slide closer to that higher end. If you just decided you will land on the very little side, do yourself a favor and split the difference and calculate something in the 22% range because most people need more than they think and like better than their budget dictates.
So, on our example house with a purchase price of $232,000, the above guidelines equate to a required furnishings budget of $27,840 on the low range, and $82,000 on the higher range. This does not include costs to paint, renovate in any way (like revamping the guest bath or redoing the kitchen), nor does it calculate things like replacing flooring. That figure is for furnishings and covering all 20 windows. If you like custom window treatments, jack those figures up again, please. Have a penchant for Kravet or Hickory Chair? Cha-ching. Up you go.
Furnishing and “decorating” is a much bigger discussion than people realize. It’s also a much bigger part of a new home purchase budget than most new home buyers want to think about. Tread carefully on that daydream about that new home you’re thinking about. Yes, it’s going to be great…but it’s also going to cost you. Know what you’re looking at before you jump in to spare yourself that sticker shock panic on the other side.
Next week: Is Your Design Budget Too Small?
Click here to download our special free report, “The Top Ten Ways Design Consumers Waste Big Money.”
About Donna Hoffman, The Interior Design Advocate™
Donna is a former top QVC Show Host and now one of the country’s foremost consumer advocates in interior design in addition to being an award winning designer herself. “I help people avoid wasting big dollars and unnecessary frustration when furnishing and decorating their home by offering clear strategies for finding the right products, professionals, contractors and services.” The results are that people get what they want, spend smart, eliminate the stress and get that beautiful home of their dreams. Known as The Interior Design Advocate™, Donna is here as your advocate, making sure you get wise in design so you can get what you want.