Hiring a luxury interior designer to makeover your living space can seem out of reach to many homeowners, but even the most exclusive of projects have strict budgets which need to be adhered to. Laura Hammett and her eponymous firm specialize in detail driven luxury residential projects and are experts at sticking to their clients’ budgets. Laura shares her key tips for implementing chic interior design on a budget, which is full of essential ideas for planning your next revamp whether your budget is large or small…
No matter what size budget we are working to, we always need to manage it and make sure the most is being made of it. This can be furnishing a small apartment in London or building and furnishing an entire 25,000 square foot house in India, there is always a budget, so thought and planning needs to go into making sure it is used in the most effective way.
1. Determine the ‘Principle’ Rooms
We always start by establishing how the house is going to be used by our clients and what their priorities are. Our clients usually like to have some rooms that feel more relaxed and informal for family use and others used for entertainment. As with anything when designing someone’s home, which rooms they deem as “principle rooms” are very personal to them, but they are where the majority of the budget is directed.
In one of our typical large projects these would include the entrance hall and staircase, a guest powder room, main living /dining rooms, the kitchen and the master suite. Second to them in priority would be the study/library, main guest suite and in some cases a cinema/pool/leisure area. Then there would be further bedrooms/kids bedrooms and bathrooms, and then utility rooms and staff accommodation.
2. Make Sure the Design Flows from Principle to Secondary Rooms
For us it’s very important that the whole of a home flows and that the secondary areas don’t feel forgotten about. The key is to create a strong design thread that is consistent throughout the whole property but adapted to suit the budget in each area. A design thread is much more than just a style, it’s often a series of design details, finishes, shapes and forms and a color palette that is consistent throughout, for example a wall paneling or joinery detail.
3. Save Money by Switching Materials in Different Spaces
One of our most effective ways of balancing a budget is changing the materials that are used for different areas, without changing much of the design detailing. For example in the master dressing room the joinery detail might be a hand painted silk wallpaper panel framed by a specialist veneer and antique brass inlay, but the exact same design can then be translated into the guest bedroom by using a vinyl wallpaper with a lacquered frame and an applied bead that is painted in a metallic paint to give a similar effect. This can then be further simplified for the kids bedrooms with a simple routed detail in a plain lacquered door to continue the proportions and paneling effect.
4. Keep the Costs Down in Expensive Rooms
Another way to use this technique is with bathroom design which can often be a large portion of the budget. You can use a prime grade marble in slab formation in the master bathroom but then use large format tiles in a less expensive marble in the guest, while keeping the color palette similar. For example Calacatta Oro in the master and then Cararra in the guest. You can also limit the marble to just the wet areas with a complementary paint color on the remaining walls in the secondary bathrooms. Nowadays you can get some amazing printed faux marble tiles which are very cost effective and are great to use in a third or fourth bathrooms while keeping a consistent aesthetic.
5. Prioritize the Furnishing Budget Too
When furnishing it’s also very important to prioritize where the budget is spent, again working out which are the principle rooms but also the principle pieces of furniture within those rooms. The key pieces for me are the main upholstery items and lighting. I would then keep the upholstery fabrics quite conservative because such a large quantity is needed and you can get amazing value plain fabrics these days, but spend more on some bespoke cushions in some special fabrics. Lighting, cushions and accessories for me are a bit like jewelery is to an outfit, in that you can wear something quite simple but dress it up with the finishing touches.
Are you an interior designer or stylist that works on large design projects? You may be eligible for an Amara trade account which will give you access to exclusive discounts on all Amara products. Please visit our trade account hub to find out more and quote ‘The LuxPad’ when applying for an account.