Most people think that Interior Design is a very fun and glamorous job.  Well, it is but there is so much more involved that clients are not aware of.  This is a serious business, not just a housewife who has a “flair” doing it for fun. Here is how it REALLY works:

clock-resized-600

1.  TIME:

A.  Interior Designers do not just go to your home and immediately know exactly what to do to make it perfect.  We do have an idea of what we would like to do but to figure out the details takes time.

B.  Design is a process and the ideas do not just flow out of our heads immediately without some concentrated effort. We look at many options during the process.

C.  We have to measure the space and any existing furniture or permanent items.

D.  We have to draw scaled drawings of the space.

E.  We have to do research to find the right items for you and your project and be sure they are the right size, scale, material, finish, color, price, etc. That does not mean just looking it up on the Internet.  We are familiar with the quality of different manufacturers and prepared to take that into consideration when researching.

F.  Then we have to order samples and/or get information from the vendor or manufacterer to present to you.

G.  Depending on the size of the project this could take a few days or a few months or longer.

H.  When the project is very large, I like to break it down into smaller segments so it’s easier to concentrate on the parts and then put it all back together for the complete project.

I.  Items are not always sitting on a shelf waiting for your order.  Sometimes we have to deal with backorders and wait our turn.  I know it’s hard to not see the finished results immediately but if it was properly planned and selected it will be worth the wait.

J.  Sometimes substitutions will have to be made, but when this happens it usually turns out better anyway so don’t be afraid of it.  Trust me, Deigners would rather not have to make substitutions either because it requires a lot more work on our part to find something new.

design_studio-resized-6002.  RESOURCES:

A. Interior Designers and Decorators have many resources our clients are not aware of and do not have access to.

B. We also have experience with various vendors and contractors so we know how they work and if the work is of good quality and if the company is dependable and stands behind their work.

C.  We also have leverage with them because they want to keep working with us on future jobs so they really want to make the designer happy!

D.  We know lots of local craftspeople and we see things at trade shows and in Wholesale showrooms that our clients would never know about because they are not advertised in consumer magazines or shown in retail stores.

E.  We know where to get things custom made if we can not readily find the right product for you.

F.  We can save you time by taking you to the right places the first time and spend hours selecting items instead of months or years!

G.  Designers can save you money in the long run because you will not be buying furniture that will not fit the room (or through the doorway) or will not work well with other items in the the room.  It’s not really a bargain if it doesn’t work well or the quality doesn’t hold up.

 team_meeting-resized-600

3.  MANAGEMENT:

A.  Your Interior Designer should manage your project for you and be always kept in the loop as to what is happening and decisions that are being considered or being made.

B.  Designers have the knowledge to speak the language of the contractors and vendors so they can oversee the project, help make appropriate decisions and keep things on track.

C.  Your Interior Designer should be able to answer questions for you during the process or find out the answers if they don’t know them.  They are acting as your agent with other team members.

D.  Your Designer has the best overall view of the completed project so any changes that are made on site should always be run by them first.  Small changes may seem harmless but might impact the outcome in some way that others on the job are not aware of.

Contract_signing-resized-600

4.  WHEN TO HIRE DESIGNER:

A.  Hire the Interior Designer at the beginning phase of the project – before you do anything else!  Even before architectural plans are finalized because your Interior Designer will see things that can be tweaked at that stage that will be much more costly or impossible to correct after the plans are done and the construction has started! space planning should be done in teh very beginning.

B.  Your Interior Designer should be part of your construction team, which also includes you, the architect, contractor and any specilty designers like lighting, kitchen and landscape designers.  When these team members meet together to go over the plans, the progress and the decisions, your finished project will have the benefit of all their ideas and will turn out the very best possible.

C.  If you are only doing a small remodel or furnishing your home you and the designer will be the primary team members but the individual sub contactors will be brought in for their input at the appropriate stages of the project.

D.  If you are only doing a small project like painting and need help with color selections – let the designer bring the paint samples – Professional samples are much larger than the ones you get at the paint store and will be much easier for you both to make the right selections.  Both natural and artificial lighting will make a big difference in how the paint looks in different part of the room or house so it should always be selcted on a clear day.  If your friend used a certain color that you love, it will not look the same in your house and may not be the right choice, but there will be a similar one to get the effect you are looking for.

 lighting-resized-600

5.  LIGHTING:

A.  Don’t overlook how important a role lighting plays in the outcome!

B.  You need to consider natural lighting as well as artificial lighting and it’s placement.  This is different in different parts of the country and World and even in different rooms of the house.

C.  it is important to specify the proper lighting for all three needs of a room – Accent lighting, Ambient lighting and Task lighting.  Be sure to always have these 3 layers in your rooms.

D.  You will get proper rendering of colors if you specify the right lamps (“bulbs” to lay people)

E.  Recessed lights are not the answers for all lighting!  They are actually a poor solution in a lot of situations.

F.  There are Federal and local building codes that will effect and restrict your selections.

design_studio-resized-600

6.  BACKGROUND WORK:

A.  There is a lot of work being done in the background that clients are not aware of. We have a lot of research time, scheduling, facilitating, consultations, organizing, follow up, filing, bill paying and paperwork.  A lot of time is spent on projects sitting right at our desks.

B.  Designers have bookeeping just like every other business.  Be sure you get written contracts and proposals from your designer.

dining_room-resized-600

I hope this helps you to better understand what a professional Interior Designer does for his/her clients and what you should expect of them.  They can only help you if you let them, so give them time to do their work and enjoy your fabulous new home (or other project)!! They are on your side.