INTERIORS Redecorating? Budget v quality

Nesting
Budget vs quality?


Interior Design
Niamh Tuohy

Here’s something for nothing (a prospect only familiar to bankers). Everyone wants to save money. Within ten years we’ve gone from a greedy, squandering, of-course-I-don’t-need-it-but-I-want-it, status-symbol-loving nation to a country full of bargain-loving penny pinchers.
And is it just me or did it actually happen over night? One minute we were booking our stateside holidays from an office desk that afforded us the luxuries our parents never had and the next we’re sitting on our Italian leather Natuzzi sofas (bought on credit) at home, P45 in one hand and CV in the other desperately looking for work in an economy built on quicksand rather than concrete.
And so, in order to compensate for the lack of money, we are forced to bargain hunt like our very existence depended on it. But at what cost? At what point do we kiss a fond goodbye to quality in order to save cash?
I’m all for getting my money’s worth, but not if what I’m buying isn’t even going to make it to my next birthday. Home designing is no different. You get what you pay for. But it’s handy to know where you can save and where you can splurge and still keep within your budget. Here’s how…

Painting
This is an area you can definitely save on – both in terms of labour costs and the cost of the paint itself. Do your research when choosing your contractor and use the state of the economy to haggle down your price. However, opting for the cheapest won’t necessarily give the best results. Carry out a background check on the person. Ask for references and get more than one – you cannot over-estimate the value of talking with previous happy customers.
Regarding the paint itself, while we would all love to be able to afford the likes of Farrow & Ball, the majority of us are faced with the reality of shopping for more economical market brands. But you can still get the designer shade you’re looking for. Most paint suppliers, once given the reference number and code for a particular Farrow & Ball colour you want, can mix it up for you using Colour Trend, Dulux or Fleetwood paints.

Flooring
While you CAN save when it comes to flooring, be careful of the materials you get. In last year’s US Floor Report, it was claimed that laminate floor sales will increase by 6.7 per cent up to the year 2012.
While there was a time when many people would stay away from man-made flooring, this type of product has come on in leaps and bounds over the years.
However, there are many styles and brands, so choose wisely. They’re great for wear and tear and therefore particularly suitable to investment properties, as they can certainly take the abuse that most rental accommodation will have thrown at them. At the end of the day though, there’s just no compensation for using a natural product, so if you can, splurge a little and buy the real deal.

Design
You may not want to hear it but money spent on proper design is, without a doubt, money well spent.
By employing a good interior designer (or architect if you can afford it) who has good spatial awareness and can combine this with a creative eye, you will be building something that, while not immune to current market prices, will most definitely hold its value better than its badly designed counterpart.

Furniture
As with anything in life, if you want something to last, you need to take care of it. That said, some things are built to last and some just aren’t.
It’s usually safe to assume that good-quality furniture will come with a price tag. But remember, shop around.
Physically check out the product. Is there a good weight in it? What’s it produced from? Is it natural or man-made?

All in all, you need to ask yourself, how long do you want it to be before you need to re-decorate? There’s no point in spending the minimum amount you can on a job now, only to have to do it all over again in a year because things just didn’t last.
Choose well now, have a realistic budget and the end product will undoubtedly last the test of time.