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The dreaded money talk. Often one of the most uncomfortable moments of any design project, it’s also one of the most crucial. Many clients hesitate to tell contractors how much they’re willing to spend on a project, because they’re afraid it will turn the job bidding process into something subjective. However, letting your interior designer in on the secret of your budget early in the conversation will help us to manage your expectations moving forward.

Nearly as anxiety-inducing as the budget talk, but just as important, we’ll also need to know your timeline before we get started. Always be sure to tell your designer early on if you’re hoping to have everything finished before a holiday or major event. Not only will we have a better idea of which of our contractors and suppliers will be right for your job, but we’ll also be able to let you know if your expectations are feasible you move into the bidding and purchasing phase.

In order to help you get started preparing your realistic budget and timeline, we’ve put together a list of average costs and timeframes for various areas of remodel and furnishing projects.


1. COUNTERTOPS: $700-1,500 per slab of quartz or granite + about $60/square foot for fabrication and installation

2. PLUMBING: around $5,000-7,000 for a master bath, $10,000 + for a kitchen, not including installation

3. APPLIANCES: minimum of $9,000-13,000, not including installation (can go up significantly with certain name brands)

4. CABINETS: for good quality cabinets, prices start at around $500 per linear foot, not including installation (Note: IKEA cabinets are less expensive to start, but they’re much more expensive to install – lots of labor time!)

5. WOOD FLOORS: $5-8 per square foot for the wood + $4-6/square foot for installation

6. PAINT: $800-1200 per room, depending on trim work

7. FURNITURE: minimum of $15,000 per room, not including shipping (Note: shipping will be about 20% of the cost of the items)

8. DESIGN FEES: $225/hour for design time; between $10,000-15,000 per project, depending on scope

9. CONTINGENCY: take 20% of your budget and prepare to set aside that amount for a contingency fund (in case things don’t go quite according to plan – contractors may find a leak or electrical issue along the way that needs fixing)


1. DESIGN PHASE: 6-8 weeks, depending on scope of work


3. PROCESSING: allow 1 week for processing orders on the manufacturer’s end

4. RETAIL/READY-MADE FURNITURE: 6-8 weeks for manufacture & delivery

5. WHOLESALE/CUSTOM FURNITURE: 8-12 weeks for manufacture & delivery

6. BIDDING: contractors often take about 2-3 weeks to get back to us with numbers

7. SMALLER RENOVATION TIMELINE: 8-12 weeks from start of construction to finish (renovating 1 or 2 rooms)

8. LARGER RENOVATION TIMELINE: 4-6 months from start of construction to finish (renovating 3 or more rooms)


Recently, we’ve found that home renovation shows on TV have been misleading client expectations. Make sure to keep in mind that those shows often fudge numbers and use cheap/lower quality materials to get things done quickly and inexpensively. Not to mention the fact that many of the shows are based in other states – California is EXPENSIVE!

In addition, contractors, furniture manufacturers, and other industry professionals on TV won’t usually charge as much because they’re benefitting from the publicity. As great as those shows are for style inspiration, they should never be the basis for your timeline or budget.

If your timeline or budget is too tight, and we feel that it may not be feasible to finish everything up before your deadline and within your means, we may recommend breaking the project into phases, or even postponing the project until after your big party or until you’ve saved up enough to get the job done well. In the end, it will be worth avoiding the heartache of a rushed job, and you’ll be happier in the long run!

If you’re ready to schedule your design consultation, click here! We can’t wait to meet you!