What Do Interior Designers Do?
Interior Design is an often mis-understood profession. If I asked 100 people what they think Interior Designers do, I believe the majority would respond: "They decorate, pick colors, and help people choose furniture". Interior Designers do these things, but they do much, much more. Depending on education, passion, and on-the-job-training, Interior Designers do everything from selecting paint colors, to staging houses for resale, to designing, drawing plans, and specifying materials for residential remodels and commercial construction projects. And all things in-between!
Myth: Hiring an Interior Designer is Intimidating - and Expensive
The traditional image of an Interior Designer is a poshly dressed person with impeccable style and taste, who is always inwardly critiquing our spaces and will charge us an exorbitant fee. Prior to a first home visit, my clients always say "I need to clean before you come over". The truth is that most Designers are driven by a passion for helping people make their spaces beautiful and functional. Unless you are a hoarder, we won't notice the pile of mail on the table or the toys in the kid's playroom. And on the matter of design fees, hiring an Interior Designer does NOT need to be expensive. In fact, we can and do save our clients money,
So, why should you hire an Interior Designer? Below are five ways that hiring an experienced Designer can positively impact your project.
You Will Save Money
I hear this from my clients and fellow designers all the time. There are many ways to waste money. Many of them I would call “spending dumb money” - the result of not knowing what you don’t’ know. You may purchase stuff too early, before the contract is signed, or before demo – and not be able to return it. You might purchase a faucet without all the right parts. Most of us have purchased a sofa or chair without measuring or doing a floor plan. Your designer will help you make the right purchases in the right sequence, so you only need to do it once! In my experience, the cost of engaging a designer is often equal to or less than the cost of spending “dumb money”.
You Will Save Time (and reduce stress)
In every project, there are tons of decisions to be made, and a set timeline for making them. Most need to be made long before demo begins. Designers handle the big and small details with efficiency. They keep track of the process, keep YOU on track and moving forward. A Designer will make detailed drawings, with all of the required information in one place for the Contractor. If you are not a good decision maker, you will not be a good designer for your project. If you get paralyzed and can’t make an important decision, your 3-month project can easily become a 4-month project. Additionally, designers speak the same language as your contractor. They will interpret the technical lingo, and break things down for you, saving endless rounds of emails and phone calls.
You Will Increase Your Creative Options and Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Designers are experts in creative solutions and problem solving. They have access to a wide range of resources, many that are unavailable to you. A good Designer will get to know you, and then use their creativity and experience to wade through a thousand options to suggest materials that will be great for you. With computer drawings, your Designer can show you how colors, materials, fixtures and furniture will look in your space, opening you up to new directions and helping you take risks.
A final note about options: If you don’t’ know what you like or what you want, and you don’t have a designer, your Contractor will make decisions for you, more than likely buying stuff off the shelves at a big box store. Which will make your home look like everyone else’s.
You Will Get a Layout That is Optimal for You
With some exceptions, cabinetmakers and contractors are not designers, and will not tailor-make a design just for you. An experienced Designer will quiz you about your wants and needs for function, style and maintenance. They will design “Mamma Bear” rooms that will work for how you and your family use your space every day. They will ask whether the new kitchen or bath will be a springing off point for a new style direction.
In conclusion, Interior Designers are as varied in personality and expertise as doctors, lawyers, and yoga teachers, and the right one will bring great value to your project.
I encourage you explore adding an Interior Designer to your remodeling or redecorating team. Talk to friends and family, ask for a referral, visit websites, read testimonials, and conduct telephone or zoom interviews. You will find the right Designer to match your personality and project.