Breathing Life into Lobbies on a Budget What Your Money Can Buy

Perhaps it's been years since your lobby was last updated, and the décor is reminiscent of an aesthetic better left in the past. Or perhaps the lobby and common areas have are showing signs of everyday wear-and-tear, and are now a hazard for residents. Although the idea of revamping your lobby or other common areas might seem overwhelming—not to mention costly—the good news is that it can be done on a range of budgets.

Whether your budget is $50,000, $250,000 or $500,000, you can achieve an updated lobby that welcomes residents home and adds to the value of the building. After all, a lobby is more than simply the entrance to your building. "It's the prelude to a purchase and a buyer's first impression of the building," says Marjorie Hilton, president of Marjorie Hilton Interiors in Manhattan.

Before You Begin

While the scale of your project depends largely on your budget, the size and condition of your lobby will dictate how far that budget can take you. A small lobby without a doorman, for example, can be completely transformed (and perhaps be made unrecognizable) with high-end flooring and finishes for $500,000. However, the same budget may not allow for the complete overhaul of a much larger lobby with a doorman station.

"What you can do is relevant to the size of building," says Marilyn Sygrove, president of Sygrove Associates Design Group, Inc. in Manhattan. "Every building is unique and each has a personality, so the focus of their needs is slightly different from building to building."

"Before beginning anything, make sure you have a general understanding of what type of scope you have," says Rebecca Alston, president of Manhattan-based Rebecca Alston, Inc. "Are you addressing the lobby? The lobby and hallway? Define a scope and ask your designer to work with you to see if that scope seems realistic."

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