Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Most people walk into a room and see what is, and decorate around it. A designer walks into a room and sees what can be, and immediately starts designing with a purpose to see their vision through (Decorators decorate off Pinterest boards, designers create those boards).
Being invited into such an intimate part of a person's life is such an honor. To create a design plan that benefits them and their life style is such an amazing feeling! With that said, it can be difficult when a client has a limited budget, and you know your vision can only be completed in stages. Ever had a client that was ready to change from one design into a totally different genre of design style, but can only start with new paint, or changing light fixtures, etc? If small steps gets us to the completion for our design, it's okay. Remember, even though that blue center island doesn't look so great in the current room with the current lighting etc, it will look amazing once all the rest is done. As much as I truly hate having to leave a project feeling like it isn't complete, I love it when the client calls a few months down the road and says "Hey are you up to the next step we discussed in your design plan?"
In an initial consultation one of the last questions we ask is one of the most important..."Do you have a budget in mind for this project?" Unfortunately, even though most clients do actually have a number in mind that they have budgeted in to spend they will say "no, not really." If they come back with a number, I usually say that we will design within their budget number, but we will offer some suggestions that may be outside of the given number. If they say "No, not really." I have found it better to just reassure them that is very common. I assure the client/clients that I will have a spending quote ready for them within that week with a design plan for them to look at and approve.
Once they have a look at the design plan and spending quote, if they look at it and express how much they love it, but just can't afford to do it all. After we establish that they truly love the design, just not in their budget...That is when I know to assure them the plan can be implemented in stages. First stage might be to change the paint color of the walls. Second stage put in the new floors. Third stage replace the old furniture. This helps take the pressure off of them, and gives them a plan that they know has an achievable goal.