Working with a Professional Interior Decorator
Professional Interior Decorator
Doing anything for the first time comes with a certain level of anxiety. If you’ve never worked with a professional interior decorator before, you may wonder what to expect and how the process works.
Even if you have hired an interior decorator, you may not have understood the full extent of what a professional designer offers his or her clients. It goes far beyond window treatments and color palettes. The goal of any decorator is to create a beautiful, harmonious space that the client loves.
Why Hire a Professional Interior Decorator?
People choose to work with a professional interior decorator for a wide variety of reasons, and with varying levels of involvement on the side of the decorator. For example, some clients use their initial consultation with a designer simply to learn ideas on how to complete the project without anyone’s help. Others want the pro to handle every step of the process. Where you take it depends on your unique wants, needs, and budget.
Professional interior designers work to create a space that combines beauty with comfort and functionality. They may plan a single room or an entire house, and their work requires them to consider every facet of the space they design, as well as how to pull it all together. This includes the big items, such as furniture, window treatments, and rugs, as well as purely functional items such as electrical outlets.
Hiring a professional interior decorator always begins with a face-to-face meeting. During this initial consultation, the designer asks very specific questions to develop an understanding of your tastes and personal style, because the home should reflect these things.
In addition to the expertise, many people choose to hire an interior designer because of the professional relationships designers have with the vendors and artists providing the items for your home. These relationships provide access to a level of quality and uniqueness that the average DIY decorator can’t match.
Preparation and Communication
For a successful consultation with your professional interior decorator, preparation is crucial. Even though you chose to hire someone to design your perfect space, you still have a large role to play in this process. After all, this is your space.
Before your appointment, answer a few questions, such as your favorite design style and color schemes. Popular choices in the Southwest, for example, are Spanish and Native American design styles. However, these are by no means the only options out there. Rustic, industrial, English countryside: the options are many, especially when you begin fusing two styles together.
When you book that initial consultation, ask the designer what sort of information he or she needs from you. This is the simplest way to make sure you arrive prepared and do not waste your time and money.
Make It Easy from the Beginning
If you work with an interior decorator on a large remodeling job that involves multiple contractors, bringing the designer in from the beginning makes it easier for everyone.
This is especially true if your redesign includes structural changes, such as moving, installing, or changing doorways, windows, and ceiling beams.
Unless you hire your designer to complete a turnkey service, make sure to provide, and respect, clear delineations regarding the roles of each contractor. For example, if you want the designer to complete quality inspections on work done by other contractors, this needs to be clear to those contractors, not just the designer. Without that communication from you, there is no guaranteeing your other builders will respect the authority of your interior decorator. What’s more, your other contractors may refuse to cooperate with or communicate with your designer.
Professional interior decorators work in a wide variety of styles. However, many choose to focus or specialize in a particular niche. When researching the perfect designer for your project, look at his or her portfolio. If your preferred aesthetic is bold and striking, maybe reconsider hiring the team whose portfolio overflows with cream and beige.
You don’t need to know exactly what you want, of course. After all, this is part of why you chose to hire a decorator. However, understanding your preferences helps your designer know where to begin.
In addition to looking at the portfolios of a number of decorators, flip through magazines and either cut out or mark the pictures that speak to you. Do this exercise quickly, to capture your gut reaction to the room pictured. You may not know why you like it, but it’s still valuable information for your decorator.
What You Pay For
Decorators begin charging with that first consultation, and typically charge a flat rate for their initial consultation and an hourly rate once the work begins. Most charge for the time spent on your project, even when that time involves shopping or conducting research. After all, this time is now unavailable to other clients.
Your decorator should guide you on the best materials for certain rooms and the daily reality of a certain product (cleaning, maintenance, warranty, etc.). In addition, the designer communicates significant design changes with any other contractors. For example, if you decide to change flooring types, this might have a significant impact on the construction, thus your builder needs to know.
This goes back to creating clear lines of communication between you, your decorator, and any other contractors working on the project.
Be Receptive to Ideas
No two people agree 100 percent of the time. There will almost definitely be suggestions your designer makes that your first instinct is to say, “No.” Hold off on that No for a moment, though, and give yourself time to consider the suggestion. Ask the designer why he or she made it and consider the answer. It’s okay to say No, of course, but take the time to reflect before doing so.
Also, realize that no remodel is forever. Ask the designer what future work on the space might involve.
With a bit of research and prep work, hiring an interior decorator shouldn’t be any more intimidating than hiring any other contractor.