In my PM class, one of my classmates shared a link about How to Finesse Budget Discussions. While as a TD in a theatrical situation, some of these options don't fit, the situation is still ripe for a scope to creep beyond the budget (time or materials) allotted for the show. It happens with the best of intentions - we all want the show to be a success. The range of options and the sampling I think could be effect techniques for theatre.
By giving options you can show how increasing the level of detail increases costs. However, we still have to be careful - a current production I am working on includes a caboose (a whole train really) - the caboose has vertical stripes. (the bigger story is that I interpreted the striped as engraved groove & my coworker thought they were dimensional (proud) trim - two different scenarios). It was offered that these could be painted instead of dimensional. If they were proud dimensional trim strips, you would save material costs by eliminating the trim. If they were grooved you would save time making the grooves. My vote is for grooves though - the cnc router can cut the panels to size and groove the plywood in 15 minutes. If they were painted only the painter would have to measure everything out and mask off the surrounding areas & ultimately spend more time than simply following the groove with the brush. Even the difference in proud trim versus paint is a marginal trade-off to me. If the lines weren't regular, or weren't prefect allowing the use of a paint stick. This leads into sampling - item A perhaps is a straight edge with brush stroke, item B is a groove and paint, and item C is an applied piece of painted trim. Each one of these would have different cost implication, especially once extrapolated into a square foot cost over a large area.