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WMI: Champagne Tastes & Lemonade Budgets

Many homeowners start contracting design agencies and immediately set themselves up for frustration and disappointment. In this article, we share some real-world suggestions on the realities of designing the interior of a new build or face-lifting your existing residential property BEFORE you approach a design firm.

Economic, Middle-Market or Luxury?

Your budget affects the flamboyance of your interior finishes and décor quality; it has an enormous effect on how involved you become from a project management perspective and how you procure products from ‘Architrave’ to ‘Zen gardens’.

Post-Covid Contractor Syndrome

Contracting professional, reputable suppliers who deliver quality services is a more difficult task than it used to be before the pandemic. Sadly, with the extensions of lock-down, many were forced to lay off skilled staff, cut back on the quality of materials, or go under, all due to financial pressures. Hence, the need for professional services, quality control and expert management is more critical than ever.

Easy Reference Price Segment Guide

Below is a reference grid that will help you avoid expectations vs delivery pitfalls. Albeit not a complete categorisation of components, Wanda-Michelle Interiors will be happy to advise you further.





Design services Very hands on, identifying contractors, contracting and controlling deliverables Combination of interior designers recommending suppliers & yourself managing quality control Hands off, being presented design updates, progress reports, recommendations, finish & fitout options
Flooring Screeds, vinyl, standard size budget tiles, possibly 2nd grade. DIY laying or budget contractors. Entry level carpeting. Limited guarantees 1st grade tiling, locally manufactured. Composite, ‘wood-like’ flooring in certain areas, local carpeting Imported, large format tiles, tile inlays, high-end laminate flooring, natural stone, long-term guarantees
Wall coverings Limited to paint, standard colours, possibly local wallpapers. Wall decals. Exposed brick or brick-wash (assuming original brick build). Limited tile areas Larger areas of tiling, specifically kitchens and bathrooms. Designer wallpapers, limited panelling, composite cladding Imported tiles, extensive coverings, high-end stone & marble effects. Custom designed panelling, mirror finishes, metals, fabrics. Customed designed finishes.
Cabinetry Cabinetry is a very expensive line item and should be budgeted for accordingly. Kitchen units, built-in-cupboards, tv & storage units could be sprayed, re-purposed. Bear in mind cheap cabinetry inevitably gives problems after 12-24 months Contracting a kitchen manufacturer is not an easy task; stay with at least a reputable brand and double-check guarantees. Stock cabinets only. Minimum specialised cabinets i.e., rotating shelving, under-counter bins all add costs and you may need to supervise electrical & plumbing details High-end cabinetry, as is custom manufactured items are very expensive but you get what you pay for. Professional kitchen and wardrobe manufacturers are contracted and supervised by your interior design team. Colours, stone counters, finishes become limitless
Furnishings Re-purpose existing high-profile sofas, chairs & tables with cleaning or upholstering. Procure yourself from budget furniture stores or even auctions Designer store purchases off the floor, but quality control the condition of goods, especially after delivery and if contractors remain on-site. Colour co-ordination is more difficult as is sourcing correctly sized furniture for your spaces. Often interior designers will buy from shop floors Custom designed, bespoke furniture to maintain design integrity, maximise special usage and to present a unique feel. Décor is all sourced, co-ordinated and purchased on your behalf with minimal input and time from yourself. Magazine and website photographs will predominantly display luxury interior design projects
Window treatments Renovate existing window frames, repaint & replace broken frames, handles and hinges. Entry level aluminium frame replacement in high profile areas. Existing curtains, railings & blinds re-purposed Stock timber or aluminium windows. Standard stackable doors in key areas. Predominantly locally made. Designer store curtains, rails and blinds, some custom manufacturing. Always an expensive line item. High-end aluminium frames, endless combinations and custom sizing. Double glazing. UV repelling glass. Imported fabrics, runners, automated open/close mechanisms. American shutters. Advanced security systems
Audio Visual Minimal lower-end store purchases. Some conduiting and AV cabling, usually on a DIY basis Ability to cater for AV placements, electrical work, higher end brands. Wi-Fi linked, free-standing speaker systems. Multiple room facilities. Larger screen formats Turnkey integrated audio and visual systems, robotically controlled. In-home cinema. Integrated wall control & remote solutions for total AV control with minimal effort. Smart house technology
Appliances Existing appliances, some local manufactured, entry level new, essential appliances. Auctions and shop demo units. Quality, mid-range local or imported. Integrated with new cabinetry, high-end aluminium, smoke glass finishes. Energy economic machines Imported state-of-the-art appliances fully integrated into custom manufactured cabinetry

When it comes to designing a functional space, it is important to consider your expectations vs reality. Get in touch with the team from WMI for help in creating your dream design.

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