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How to Budget for Senior Living Accessories

When a client requests a project quote from us for senior living accessories, one of the most important things we need is a budget amount. This helps us to determine how much product to recommend to them and what price point of decor they want (high end, low end, etc). But often, our clients are coming to us at the beginning of a project where they’re looking to us to help them figure out their accessory budget. And when we say accessories, we are leaving artwork out of the equation. Artwork budgeting is a whole other blog.

So how do we do it?

What Determines Your Accessory Budget

The more spaces you need to fill and the degree to which you’re filling them are the biggest indicators of your accessory budget. Here are the questions we ask to come up with an estimate:

How many surfaces do you need to accessorize?

List out all the surfaces in each room that need accessorizing and their quantities, in detail. For example, our list might look something like this:

(4) Round end tables.

(2) Square end tables with bottom shelf.

(30) Linear feet of built-in bookshelves.

(2) Console tables with 2 bottom shelves.

(2) Glass front china cabinets with 4 shelves.

How many lamps do you need?

Know where your outlets are and figure out where you need lamps so you can count

them up. For a lower budget project, figure $75 per lamp (this is purchasing from a discount retailer like Home Goods), mid-budget $150-$200, and higher-end at least $250 per lamp. This also helps you with the next steps as you’ll be able to then tell how much more space you need to fill. On a lower-end budget project, you may decide to just place a lamp on an end table and not want (or need) any additional accessories.

How heavily do you want the project accessorized?

Is this a lightly accessorized project? Or does the client want the space to look full and lived-in? This will make a big difference in your budget and is something that needs to be clear with the client. We often use visuals when working with clients so they understand what the difference is between the levels of accessorizing. That way there are no surprises upon install because at that point in the process there isn’t typically more money to pull from to get completed.

We often describe accessory levels as such:

Lightly accessorized: A hint of accessories. A few items in key areas, but not every surface addressed.

Medium accessorized: What we call a ‘staged’ level. Where there are accessories on most surfaces, but not to the level where things look full.

Heavily accessorized: Spaces look full and lived-in. Accessories on all surfaces.

Are there any areas that need larger scale or statement pieces?

Larger console tables, foyer tables, and fireplace mantles that command larger scale pieces will also command a bigger budget. For example, some of the faux florals we use for foyer tables can be upwards of $500 each. And if you’re looking for a statement piece that is created by a local artist or something of the sort, budget for that as well.

Do you plan to use ultra-high-end vendors?

If you are catering to an audience with expensive taste, you’ll want to be sure to sprinkle in some items from ultra-high-end vendors. Being clear on your budget is especially important in this case because it can be incredibly easy to spend everything you have on just a few items. Take an honest look at the budget you’re working with so you can properly separate out funds for statement pieces while still being able to cover the additional items needed to fill out the rest of the space.

Assign Dollar Amounts Per Accessory

Once you have those questions answered, start assigning dollar amounts. Here are some examples of how we create budget ranges. The budget end is low fill with accessories that are low dollar amounts, while the opposite end is high fill with higher dollar amount items.

Disclaimer: This is budgeted using general commercial accessory vendors.

  • End Tables without lamps: $75 (budget) - $300 (high end) per surface.

  • End Tables with lamp: $75 - $350; if there are bottom shelves add $75 - $200 each.

  • Console Tables: $150 - $550 per surface.

  • Bookcases: $20 per foot - $80 per foot.

  • 4 Top Dining Table: $75 - $200 for centerpieces.

  • Cocktail Table: $100 - $550.

Make Sure There is Room Left in Your Budget

A last note, always over budget. We can plan as much as we want, but there will always be a spot we miss, or something the senior living client requests when we’re on site. And as we know, it’s always harder to ask for more money at the end of a project. Giving yourself another 5-10% of wiggle room is ideal.

If you’re looking for more help determining your budget for accessories or would like product recommendations, please reach out to us here!

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