How to develop an Interior Design budget for a Salon or Spa

Have you ever found yourself googling “how much does it cost to build a salon?”

Building a Salon or Spa is a significant investment, and it’s essential to create a realistic budget plan. Building costs can vary greatly depending on location and other factors, so it’s important to do your research and get accurate estimates.

Developing a budget is critical to the success of your interior design project for several reasons:
  1. Ensures feasibility of the project: A budget helps to establish the feasibility of the project by determining what is possible within your financial constraints. The budget provides a clear idea of what resources are available and what design elements can be included.
  2. Prioritises design choices: A budget helps to prioritise design choices by establishing what elements are essential and what elements can be modified or eliminated to fit within the budget. This helps to create a design plan that meets your needs and expectations while also staying within your financial constraints.
  3. Controls costs: A budget helps to control costs by ensuring that design choices are made within the allocated budget. This helps to avoid overspending and unexpected expenses that can derail a project.
  4. Helps to make informed decisions: A budget helps to make informed decisions by establishing what resources are available and what design elements can be included. This allows the designer to make informed decisions about what design elements will work best within the budget.
  5. Ensures your satisfaction: A budget helps to ensure your satisfaction by creating a design plan that meets your needs and expectations within your financial constraints. This helps to avoid disappointment and ensures you are happy with the final outcome of the project.

1. Write your Brief

A Questionnaire is a valuable tool to develop your brief, before proceeding with the next steps. I’ve talked about creating your brief HERE

Get started planning your dream Salon with our 8-page Salon & Spa Questionnaire

2. Develop your Design Concept

Using a design concept to create your interior design budget is essential for several reasons:

Helps to create a cohesive design & a clear vision: A design concept helps to create a cohesive design by providing a framework for all design choices. It ensures that each element of the design contributes to the overall vision and style, creating a cohesive and harmonious space.

Ensures the budget is used effectively: Using a design concept to create an interior design budget ensures that the budget is used effectively. We can prioritise design elements that are essential to the concept and allocate resources accordingly. This helps to avoid overspending and ensures that the budget is used to achieve the desired design vision.

A moodboard is a visual tool we use to communicate and present the design concepts during the very early stages of your project. Collect images of spaces you love, textures, & materials, patterns, colors, and other visual elements that inspire you and align with your vision. You can find inspiration from various sources, such as magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, or your own photographs.

I’ve talked about Concept Design HERE. I’ve talked about Moodboards HERE

3. Draw up a detailed sketch plan

We develop a space plan to determine what will fit in your tenancy, and look at the details from a high level overview; how many workstations can we fit, how many washbasins, what type of floorings & where? Will all the walls be painted, or can we consider an eye-catching feature wallpaper? What existing walls, furnishings and other elements can remain and work will with the new scheme? What needs to go? Is there a preferred zone for rooms or fixtures that need to be plumbed-in? Can the existing ceiling & lighting remain? Will the space benefit from a new feature pendant light? This detail helps to inform the budget.

I’ve talked about Sketch Plan HERE

4. Think about the level of quality and finish you want

The level of quality and finish of an interior can have a significant impact on the budget and your expectations for your project. Here are some ways how:

High-end finishes and materials can be more expensive, while lower-end finishes and materials may be more affordable. The quality of workmanship and attention to detail can also impact the cost of the project. You’ll need to understand that the higher the quality and finish level you desire, the more you will need to invest in your project.

The level of quality and finish of an interior can set your expectations for the final product. High-end finishes and materials often result in a more luxurious and polished space, while lower-end finishes and materials may have a more basic look and feel. If the you expect a high level of quality and finish, they will need to be prepared to invest accordingly in their project.

The level of quality and finish of an interior design can impact your (& your clientele’s) perception of the value of the space. High-end finishes and materials can create the impression of a more luxurious and valuable space, while lower-end finishes and materials may not be as highly valued, and are often imitations & copies rather than authentic original furnishings or natural materials. You need to be aware that the quality and finish level of your interior can impact the perceived value of the space.

The level of quality and finish of an interior design can also impact the ongoing maintenance costs of the space. High-end finishes and materials often require more upkeep and maintenance to keep them looking their best, which can be an ongoing expense.

I’ve talked about level of quality & how it impacts the budget HERE

“Jim Jarmusch once told me Fast, Cheap, and Good… pick two. If it’s fast and cheap it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good, it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good, it won’t be cheap. Fast, cheap and good … pick two words to live by.”

Tom Waits

5. Create a detailed list of the products and needs

We take the sketch plan and make a spreadsheet for the easily quantify-able items like loose furniture, feature lighting, etc. Then we liaise with your preferred builder/s to develop a budget for the fit out which involves building work, cabinetry, sub-trades, etc. Your builder will provide a rough estimate; it can’t be exact at this stage of the project as there are still unknowns, the design has not been fully developed, engineering services have not been designed & many design decisions have not been made. It gives you and your design team a ballpark to use as a tool to start making decisions about the design and the scope of work.

Don’t forget to allow for design & consultancy fees, permit and approval fees, etc.

Allow for a contingency. There will always be unforeseen extras that have not been considered; interior design projects are complex; it’s not as simple as buying some furniture, a splash of paint on the walls and moving in. There will be overlooked items that cannot be detailed at this stage of the project.

During the course of a project, unexpected costs can arise due to changes in materials, delays in delivery, or unforeseen problems with the construction. A contingency plan can help to address these unexpected costs and keep the project on track.

Changes in scope also occur: you may change your mind about certain aspects of the design or may request additional features or changes to the project. A contingency can help to address these changes and ensure that the project stays on track and within budget.

6. Balance Interior Design & the Budget

Now that you have a ballpark figure, you can determine what design elements are most important to you and prioritise those within your budget. For example, if you love the look of hardwood floors, but they are outside your budget (and create additional maintenance), you may need to compromise by choosing a lower-cost alternative such as vinyl planks, laminate or engineered hardwood.

When we select furniture, finishes & fixtures, there may be some items that have a higher price tag, but removing them would be detrimental to the overall design; we try to look for savings elsewhere to balance that cost.

While it may seem counterintuitive, hiring a professional designer can actually save you money in the long run. Designers have expertise in creating beautiful, functional spaces that meet your needs and your budget, and can help you avoid costly mistakes. Some designers also pass on their trade discounts to clients.

Overall, balancing interior design and budget requires careful planning, prioritization, and creative thinking. By being mindful of your budget and using these tips, you can create a beautiful and functional space that meets your needs and stays within your budget.

By following these tips, you can create an effective interior design brief that will help your designer create a space that meets your needs and reflects your personal style.

If you are planning a refurbishment, please explore our flexible Design Package Options designed to serve you for more information.

You’ve go no idea how grateful I am to have had you alongside my family. And the Salon’s everything I’ve dreamed of. You made it come alive! The opening was so amazing – very overwhelmed”

Absolu Hair Salon – Kara Mac Issac

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

Image: Diane Helentjaris via Unsplash

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

Image: Katie Harp via Unsplash

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference

So, why Hire an Interior Designer?

Unfortunately many people get confused or intimidated by the idea of hiring a professional Interior Designer for their project, and might be concerned about the process of working with a designer & the costs of doing so.

A lot of people I meet feel that they can hire a builder and do the design themselves, selecting materials and fixtures in dribs and drabs, often at the last minute (leading to less choice) with poor planning & lack of an overall vision. This will lead increased costs due to changes, additions and variations that the builder will not have allowed for.

You will save money & time. Your designer will plan functional and appealing spaces, provide drawings, visualisations & material / furnishing selections in a strategic manner so you can get competitive quotes, and you know what the design will look like & cost right from the start.

You require a Qualified Interior Designer & Registered Building Practitioner for any commercial project or residential project that requires a building permit; a proper interior designer is a highly trained & experienced registered professional, not just someone with ‘a good eye for colour’ and a knack for picking furniture.

Let’s make something beautiful together, book an appointment to explore your dream project.

Image: Omar Rodriguez @ormphotography