The B-Word. And Design

No – not THAT “B-word.”  Let’s keep this clean. BUDGET. That’s the B-word I’m talking about. BUDGET

I always approach the topic of BUDGET very delicately with a new client. People get very funny talking about money. They may have been taught that “it” is not discussed; they may fear that I am trying to judge them, size them up, look them over or worse – work them over!

Not so, not so, not so.

The thing of it is this: Budget drives design. And it’s as much a part of the process as paint chips and fabric swatches, and you wouldn’t be embarrassed to discuss those things. Budget must be viewed in the same way. Budget is king because it will direct and drive every single design decision made in a project.Always.

The scariest words I ever hear from a new client are “We Have No Budget.” Those are the clients that I know will be the 1st to have sticker shock and either panic, shut down, or run. They will waste design time and design dollars because they will be searching the wrong venues. They will be highly unfocused and will be unable to make decisions. They will drive up their design time, and drive down the prudent use of their time.

Why does a designer – and you – need to know your budget? Very simply:  So we can design TO your budget, not above it. By knowing budget, I know how to guide to best advantage to get the most power out of that budget. Furthermore, by knowing a client’s budget, I know what their expectation is regarding quality of goods. I will not suggest Raymour and Flanigan to the client who really is expecting a custom 8-way-hand-tied sofa in a fine fabric or upper end silhouette or color. I will not suggest a mid price point resource to the client who is looking for an entry level price point retailer. Making the wrong recommendation in any of these scenarios would have disastrous results, to include completely breaking down efficiency – and worse – destroying trust and faith – from client to designer.

My final words on budget can be borrowed with a bit of a twist from my favorite, Will Shakespeare:

“Budget” is neither good nor bad,
But thinking that makes it so.

Budget isn’t good. Budget isn’t bad. Budget is just a thing. Like a paint chip. Let it go. Breathe. Make a budget decision – don’t judge it nor expect anybody else to either. Just let it be. Do this, and watch your design wishes fall in line – Bingo. Another great B-word!