I have found this interesting article by Rene Harmon late last night on the Interior Design Network. It outlines in very simple terms why an interior decorator or designer is worth the money and effort, and what the process of working with one might look. While I believe the process can be even more customizable, it is still an easy and informative read. So – grab a cup of coffee and read on!
Decorators Are Not Divas
by Rene Harmon
Designers are not divas, nor are they dictators, or Snobby Witches who want to decorate your home to their taste with your money. Decorators and Designers want to help you and guide you through a myriad of decisions, ideas and purchases to make your home or room a functional, beautifully appointed space. While considering all your wants and needs, a Designer is able to incorporate those needs with design elements and principles to create a custom space that is uniquely designed for you and your family and which reflect your personality.
Through the information we now receive through television and the internet, decorating may seem inexpensive and effortless. While some people are naturally gifted in knowing basic design principles, decorating is a learned art, after all, and it can be overwhelming if you aren’t qualified to make correct design choices. One could easily blow their entire design budget on one poorly executed decision.
If you realize you may need some help, there is a Decorator out there for every need. Before you begin your search for a Decorator or a Designer, spend time getting to know your own design style. Pay attention to magazines, or decorator books, and mark the things you like. It can be anything, a color, a photograph, an heirloom, some scraps of fabric, a piece of furniture, a shape, a flower, or a piece of art…whatever it is, your designer will want to see it. Put the photos and tear sheets in a folder and show them to your prospective designer. The more your tastes are communicated, the happier the outcome. Also, have a specific budget in mind. Honesty is always the best policy. If the sky’s the limit, great, but if you have a Walmart budget, with Bloomindales’ taste, by all means, let your Designer know. She should have product resources to fit all budgets and should be able to find reproductions and discounts from vendors, that, let’s face it, regular folks just don’t have. Sometimes, no more than changing the color and fluffing things up may be all that’s required. Maybe you only need furnishings or accessories.
Decorators, whose fees are usually less than Designers, are perfectly capable of successfully navigating you through those decisions. She will have lists of suppliers and installers as well as access to various markets which will allow her to purchase items for you. Interior Designers do everything Decorators do, plus, Designers are qualified to oversee any structural changes. Additional hours of study of are devoted to interior planning concepts, knowledge of blue prints and engineering specs, space planning, and traffic patterns utilization. You most definitely need a Designer if you plan to renovate, as mistakes can be very expensive, not only due to product, but labor charges. Again, Designers know their installers and trust them to deliver their products and services.
Designers will research the prospective plan by getting quotes and prices and will then design a plan which will be presented to you at a later date. This will be a presentation meeting. In this meeting, the design plan will be explained to you usually on a board. A detailed cost analysis, a projected finish date, payment schedule, her design fees and contracts if needed will also be discussed.
After you have done your homework, and after you’ve seen all the presentations, base your decision on which designer most clearly understands you and is easy to communicate with. Did you like her? Did you like her presentation? Did she answer all of your questions? Was she eager to help you with solutions? Did she stay within budget? Did you fill out any questionnaires or surveys? What did you learn? Sometimes, a consultation is all that you may need, at which point, you pay for the design board and continue on by yourself. Again, board prices vary. Hours of research and time go into preparing a design board, and this is not the time to be cheap. If the board is all you need, then pay for it and thank your designer. But also know that you will have to do all the shopping, locate installers, negotiate prices and schedule installment and delivery dates. This is THE most UN-diva like aspect of the job. Be prepared.