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Home Improvement & Design Projects: How to Plan and Budget for 2024

Here’s to hoping 2024 is the year you can finally tackle that long awaited home improvement project or re-decorate a neglected space. As I dive into my own list of projects for the year, I'm excited to share the process I’ve successfully used to budget by room or project, and even prepare for those unexpected expenses (knock on wood).

A guest room re-fresh we're dreaming up for 2024!

Image Source: Swann Street Interiors


  • Our Annual Project Planning & Budget Template

  • Step 1: Prioritize your Needs

  • Step 2: How to Maximize Your Budget: Our Save | Spend | Splurge Strategy

  • Step 3: Timing & Tracking



Annual Planning & Budgeting Template

We've perfected our Annual Planning & Budget Template and would love to share it with all of you!

It includes:

  • Room Budget Templates for decor & furniture that prompt you with where to shop from over 100 stores based on your spending priorities

  • An annual Project Plan & Budget template

  • An annual Project Timeline so you can sequence and plan your improvements by month or season


For all the homeowners out there - did you know if you keep an record (receipts, invoices, "proof", etc.) of capital improvements - new appliances, additions, major renovations - these costs can be added to the purchase price of your home at sale and reduce the amount of taxable gains on your home (the deference between your purchase and sale price is taxable gains)? Keep your planning template & budget up to date to potentially reduce your taxes when you go to sell your home!

Can you tell I'm married to an accountant?

Okay enough unsolicited advice, let's jump in -

Step 1: Prioritize your Needs

Maybe it’s my project management background peeping through, but designing a space truly is all about what we in the corporate biz call ~ ruthless ~ prioritization. 

I like to start by writing a list of all the projects I’d like to complete and bucketing them into Low, Medium, and High priority. 

Things to consider when prioritizing:

  • What will I use the most? 

  • When I think about enjoying your home next holiday season, what do I envision? 

  • What do I hope guests don’t notice in my home or something that kills me every time I walk by? 

  • Are there small improvements I can make in a high ROI (return on investment area) like a primary bathroom, kitchen, or indoor/outdoor living area? 

  • Is there something that would drastically improve the functionality of my day-to-day life? 

  • Are there any low-hanging fruit that could help make any small but major improvements? Anything that’ll take a few hours to plan & execute for less than $200 (hanging a gallery wall) I may prioritize over a more long-tail improvement (adding picture frame molding to a bathroom).

  • Anything I need to get accomplished before a certain event, date, or need? 

Step 2: How to Maximize Your Budget: Our Save | Spend | Splurge Strategy

Begin by categorizing your largest expenses for furniture, decor, paint, improvements, or renovations. What do you plan to DIY and what will you need to contract out? What’s your pain tolerance or the maximum amount you’re willing to spend for high-ticket items like couches, rugs or beds?  This clarity ensures you don't overspend on a single item and maintain budget integrity.

Oddly enough, Chat GPT can now give you pretty accurate price ranges for most home improvements of renovations. Use my go-to Chat GPT prompt for budgeting for a job: 

Give me an expected price range for {project or improvement} with the following details: {square footage} {room type} in {City, State, Zip Code}

This pricing gut check hopefully gives you a good frame of reference before you obtain any bids from contractors. Once you start nailing out some of the larger items, allllll the little decisions around furniture or decor can get just as overwhelming. So I’m divulging where I like to save or conserve on a budget, where to spend on quality items, and where to splurge on long-term investment pieces. 

(P.S. - if you download our free Annual Project Planning & Budget template, you can select what you need, your spending strategy (Save, Spend, Splurge) and we’ll prompt you with over 100 of our favorite stores to shop from for exactly what you need. 

Step 3: Timing & Tracking

This may be the most dizzying part - but stick with me. I like to plan my or my client’s home improvement or design projects by month or season. For example, do they need a nursery by fall, a guest room refresh before the holidays, or new landscaping before spring? What would you love to enjoy this summer or need to complete in certain temperatures? Let these factors guide your planning and then give yourself some grace by dedicating each project to a certain month or season.

The final step, is to allow for a buffer in both your budget and timeline for unexpected delights (looking at you, persistent roof leak) or necessary adjustments. You may not be able to complete every project on your wish list, but you sure as heck can get a home you’re happy with by optimizing your budget and timeline. 

You've crafted a roadmap that aligns with your vision, and you're ready to make it a reality. 

What We're Tackling in 2024

I'm focusing my 2024 on tackling some of the necessary fixes I've been putting off, prioritizing projects that create more storage, and small but impactful fixes - like molding, paint, & landscaping.

What's on your plate for 2024? I'd love to help you prioritize your to-do list, estimate project or furniture costs, and work out a realistic project plan for the upcoming year.

Cheering you on,

Halie Porter
Founder of Swann Street Interiors

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