Personal Finance

Planning for a picture perfect finish

Meera Siva | Updated on January 20, 2018

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Four simple steps to help you design your home interiors



Getting wood work and interior design done for your house can be daunting. You may face cost overruns and delays; and the completed work may fall short of expectations.

Following four simple steps will help you sail through the process.

Know your budget

The first step is deciding on the budget. Your scope of work, choice of material and type of contractors and designers will depend on your budget.

For example, marble floor and rosewood furniture may cost many times more than tile and wooden flooring. Marble costs ₹350 per sq ft and ₹150 per sq ft to lay it while it is ₹200-250 for tiles. Often, owners have an image of a home that they see in movies or a magazines.

However, recreating that look may entail a big budget. Here, smart choice of substitute material can reduce the cost. For instance, for the woodwork, you can use plywood or medium density fibreboard (MDF) which costs ₹75-120 per sq ft, compared to ₹800 per sq ft for teak wood. Using MDF may be less expensive but it may not have a long life.

The bulk of the cost goes towards material and labour, while professional charges for a designer work out to 10-20 per cent of the project cost.

You can save on this cost, but there are advantages to hiring a designer. Mangesh Pawar, owner of a home in Mumbai, says that while costs are lower without designers, they have a higher commitment to deliver on time.

Also, the advantage with designers is that they can use space more effectively. Your choice of designer may also depend on the budget. For example, some designers may require a minimum size order of ₹1-2 lakh while others may take on even a single room or a smaller job, says Neha Udani, an interior designer.

Educate yourself

Two, it helps to understand various design trade-offs. While it is usual for terms such as modern, vintage and ethnic to be thrown around, the choice of colour and material for these is not well understood, says Raghuveer Ramesh, a Chennai-based interior designer.

Knowing your needs and giving the right inputs to the designer can also help you save money. For example, you may need to pay more attention to providing functional working space, such as storage, rather than to aesthetics.

Making these requirements clear to the designer will help. Also, changes in the scope of work can increase costs and cause delays at every stage of the project, notes Harsh Jain, CEO and Founder of Nestopia, an interior design management service firm.

Make use of technology

Three, you can make use of technology to reduce the gaps in your understanding and communication. For example, it may not be easy for an owner to visualise the appearance of a room from a design diagram or appreciate how a furniture or craft piece fits based on a picture. Many designers offer 3D views and virtual walk-through of the home. Pawar says he found it to be 90 per cent accurate and eliminated a lot of rework in his home project. That said, for fabric and other items where touch and feel are important, it also helps to see the actual product.

Do some legwork

Four, take quotes from more than one service provider so that you have a good idea of what you are paying for. Quoted price may vary widely between contractors as there are lots of differences in the choice of material used and the manner in which the finishing is done. You can check if they use branded products and verify if the price estimates are reasonable.

Some contractors may keep you involved in material selection. As these choices can cause large price differences based on the quality of the product used, you may want to do preliminary work to avoid surprises.

It also helps to visit a service provider’s completed site to get a first-hand feel before signing up. In some cases, contractors may also offer warranty for workmanship and fix issues for a period of time, say, six months, from completion. While these may cost more, it will give you peace of mind. You must also check the on-time delivery record of the contractor as delays can lead to labour cost over-runs.

Published on April 03, 2016

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