Spending on interiors is relatively new to Indian lifestyle which leaves a lot of questions unanswered when it comes to decisions making on where to spend and where to save. We do enough reviews and research to buy a mobile phone which we use for a couple of years, but unfortunately not enough resources are available to review the materials and finishes we’re going to live with for a considerable amount of time in our life.
Hiring a consultant or interior designer can help you solve half the trouble. It is essential that you appoint a good interior designer first, before handing over the job to an interior contractor because both these agencies have to be independent of each other for the good of the project. In the other case, when a contractor is asked to appoint a designer, the design starts with cost-cutting methods but the benefits are generally not transferred to the client. Insist on 3d views to visualize the space before starting execution.
Once the design part is over, and you’re clear with the final proposal, insist on making a Bill of Quantities for which the interior contractor will quote. This saves a lot of trouble later, in terms of overshooting budgets and leaves less room for ambiguity.
Talking about design, one has to be clear about where to cut a line between function and aesthetics. The layout and functional ideas are more important that the materials that go under them. Tastes are always subjective and you might have opinion differences with your designer in certain aspects of design. Come to a common decision, equating the choices to its current cost implications and later maintenance costs.
There are quite a few items where you have to be budgets conscious, for they really don’t make a huge difference to the interiors at the end. Some of them are
- Floor Tiles / Marble (just make sure if its vitrified in case of tiles, or if they’re less porous in case of marbles)
- Toilet floor tiles and wall tiles (good combinations of modestly priced tiles can beat poor combination of expensive ones)
- Wall paper (how much ever you spend on it, end of the day, it’s just a wall paper!)
- Laminates (thickness and design matter more than their cost)
- Fabrics (stick to small shops when choosing these, big showrooms are expensive just for the sake of it)
There’re a few places where you have to spend, which your contractor might not advise you on. Some of them are
- Mechanism (hinges, door handles, locks, sliders, electricals)
- Lights (after all, they’re going to show things in the space, look better, when rightly planned)
- Custom made furniture (they’re more expensive than china imported bought out furniture, but worth the cost, since its tailor made for you and the space potentials / constraints)
- Paintings, artworks and crafts (They create a dramatic difference to the space when planned in advance)
- Skilled labour (carpenters, tile layers, marble layers can make a huge difference with their skill levels)
On a general note, budgets overshoot in interiors for a standard few reasons which you can avoid to an extent. Try to stick to the decisions taken, even during the execution phase of the design. Don’t try to emulate some space you recently visited, since it might not really fit you or your space that well. Also, don’t try to cut costs at every item, especially with the skilled labour, since what you get is generally what you pay for.