Maybe you still haven’t managed to decorate. Maybe you have all those wonderful ideas for your home in the back of your mind but are hesitant to share them. Maybe you need someone to help you get organized, someone to focus your ideas, someone to tell you how much it’s all going to cost. It’s time you talked to an interior designer.
But wait, you say. Isn’t that going to be expensive? It can be, but take the time to shop around and you’re sure to find someone to suit your budget. Many offer first consultations free of charge. So when you make that phone call and set up that meeting, you are not setting yourself up for any risk, whatsoever. Using a good interior designer can actually give your home function, beauty and a fresh new perspective you never imagined.
- Be calculative
Start with the budget. This is the amount that you are happy to spend to achieve the result that you desire. It is your responsibility as the client to have a clear idea about your budget before you start looking for your designer. Remember, permanent, added-value home improvements designed and supervised by a professional come with a price tag. You are paying for the designer’s design expertise; ability to source from trade-only suppliers of furniture, fabrics and accessories; and the time they save you from having to organize and supervise builders, painters, joiners, plumbers, etc.
- Be communicative
By talking to you and looking at your existing environment, a good designer can diagnose your taste and pinpoint your favourite style. Take them around, show them the room or rooms you want decorated, and if you have any photos of styles you like or dislike, show them to the designer. They should ask you about your hobbies, your family, your colour preferences, your pets, whether you entertain at home, whether you frequently have overnight guests. By learning about you and analyzing your requirements, the designer is putting together the first building blocks of the eventual design.
At the second meeting, the designer should have a package of ideas to show you. This may be presented in any number of ways; a sample board of fabrics and pictures of furniture is one option, sketches and swatches of fabric to discuss is another.
- Be clear
Allocate percentages to your project. That way, you are better able to see what you can afford, and are willing, to spend on each area of the redecoration. If you want to have an elaborate curtain treatment, you may have to reduce your budget for the floor covering, or vice versa. This method also helps you to prioritize your decoration requirements. By being honest with your interior designer about your design priorities and your budget, you are more likely to receive an interior design and service that will delight you.
- Be specific
Check that the interior designer you choose has a defined fee structure and make sure you get this in writing. Ensure that the designer knows your decoration budget and be clear about whether the design fees are included in this budget, or are paid on top. Give the designer the budget breakdown and as much specific information as possible about your expectations within that budget – if you’re expecting to get that antique reclaimed parquet floor above all else, then make this clear. If your desired object isn’t within the scope of your defined budget, the designer can get back to you early on in the project to juggle the budget allocations.
The interior designer will welcome clear information on your budget because it is a real time saver for both of you. If the budget extends only to slipcovers for existing furniture, let the designer know this before they set off to pound the pavement in a search for brand new furniture. (Remember, you’re probably paying for their sourcing time!)
- Be Open
Open up your mind to new possibilities. Interior designers have the training and resources to explore design options. They can often help you see a room in a whole new light, just by the addition of some built-in furniture, a new colour scheme, a different curtain design, or by re-arranging the furniture. A designer is adept at combining elements in total harmony with each other while staying within the guidelines of your requirement.
A good designer will nudge you further along pathways upon which you may have already placed a tentative step. But a good designer will never impose their taste on your environment. Designers are there to work for you and to help you to achieve your design goal. If you’re not happy with something, say so. Always remember, you are in control.