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Why do budgets bloat? A kitchen designer explains the phenomenon . . .

Luxurykitchen_2There’s often tension when a project goes over the projected budget. The homeowners might feel out-of-control, or weak-minded, or confused that it happened despite their resolve for it not to.

Why, why, why does budget bloat happen? Commenter John Beaty has referred to it as “feature creep.” We also got a savvy explanation of this “phenomenon” from Susan Serra, a Certified Kitchen Designer and author of a great blog: The Kitchen Designer.

Susan says: “I think if one WANTS to stay in the budget that one creates early on, for the most part, one can, assuming it’s based in reality.

As a professional kitchen designer, what I see is that once my clients move into the ‘world’ of kitchens, it’s very much an educational process, not having even known about many cool/beautiful/interesting products. The result is a shift in the wish list and oftentimes (usually) a shift in the budget.

I’m very aware of this ‘phenomenon,’ for lack of a better word, and purposely offer choices in a wide budget range. In the end, I want my clients to feel wonderful about whatever they spend on their products and renovation. So, don’t blame consumers, and don’t blame design professionals. It’s just the nature of walking through the gates of ‘renovation world.’

The responsibility of a design professional is to present, not push, especially if an item has a high price tag. It’s a delicate balance, one that I, for one, am very aware of. I’ve got to say, I get into more trouble for casually mentioning something that I chose not to show a client, but mention anyway, later, just so that they are aware. They get mad at me for withholding the (expensive) information and then want it. It’s a tough one.

I don’t want to cause financial stress, and I see my clients also struggle with ‘Should I? Shouldn’t I?’ When you do a renovation once for the very long term, it’s not easy to make these decisions.”

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