Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How do I hire an Interior Designer/Decorator?

Design and Color are my passion!
I have worked in design my entire career; as an interior decorator, designer, faux painter, textile designer and product designer. So many times as I have worked with friends and clients alike and they ask the question, "why does it seem so easy to you?" I wish I could give them a good reason. The only thing I can think of is, when I watch, let's say, figure skaters fluidly skate across the ice, dancing, floating... they make it look so easy! There is no way I can do that! So my answer is that people have different strengths - if color and design is not yours, then I am going to try to give you some tips on hiring help.
The first thing you need to do when hiring an interior designer or decorator is to ask yourself, "what am I looking for...."
• do I need someone who can help me "spruce things up", choose paint colors, tell me where to hang my existing artwork, or what I might add to my decorative accessories to complete a room?
• do I want someone to "talk through my ideas" to confirm what I am doing will look good? To give me a few pointers but let me drive the design?
• do I have ideas of what I want or do I like a particular style that I want executed in my home, something I might have seen in a magazine or someone's home, or a model home.
• do I want bigger changes, someone who can see how to change the layout of my floor plan, my space and work with my contractor to plan a renovation?
• do I need someone who can act as a general contractor; planning my space, hiring the contractor, the plumber, electrician to make the larger renovation happen?
These are all important questions to ask yourself.
How much time do you have to invest and how much are you willing to spend to realize your dream kitchen, bathroom, or just a new updated look overall in your home.
* If the first two questions resonate with you then you are looking for an interior decorator. This is someone who is good with color and style. Google is a great source for local services. You might also try some new sites that have added listings such as Houzz.com and Angieslist.com.
* If the second two questions rang more of a bell, you should look for someone who has done interior design. These two "titles" can be synonymous, however, there are many programs offered in universities that offer interior design as part of an architectural department major, with the same foundation classes, and they do not see "decorators" as offering the same skill set as they do.
The next step, now that you understand what you are looking for is to pull together a list of names to contact.
This list can be compiled in many ways:
• go online to the links supplied above, Houzz.com is a great source for help, products AND ideas!
• post on Facebook and ask your friends if they have worked with someone they like
• ask your neighbors
• ask your contractor if you have one
• maybe your local furniture store might have a list of approved designers
Now it is time to contact the people on the list and talk to them, ask them questions to determine if it would be a good fit:
• do they sound like someone you could feel comfortable with?
• will they help with your style and what you like, or do they have a style they specialize in
• do they have references of home owners they have worked with, contractors, etc. This is important so that you can call on these people to hear what their experiences were.
• be sure to ask their fees, how they charge so you know what to expect and can determine overall budget. There are some interior decorators who will come to your home and offer ideas, charging for their time consulting. Some will also shop for or with you to find that perfect picture, hardware, flooring, or whatever you need. Some will charge only for their time while they shop, some will charge time plus, travel expenses, and/or a percentage of what you spend. In some cases, some get special discounts and will pass them on to you. This is important to know up front.
All of these questions are important to ask, to learn about the person you hire so that your expectations are met and your project can be successful. Lastly but MOST IMPORTANT.... if you know what you are looking for in the way of style be sure to prepare for your consultation:
• cut pictures out of magazines
• take photos of rooms you like; in model homes, your friends homes!
• collaborate with your family on a pinterest board! This is one of my favorite things to do! The site is filled with beautiful rooms and ideas!
It might look easy, but it takes a lot of skill and a good eye for design, so ask the questions, collect photos, and know what you are looking for, in the way of help and design.
Do your due diligence, finding the right person is a process. Sharing your desires so that they can help you realize your dream home!

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