Monday, February 13, 2012
Working with an interior designer- 7 steps to a successful relationship
Here are few things to consider when working with a designer to assure you stay within your budget, and get what you want and need in your project:
1. Prepare yourself. Know your project. Are you looking to remodel, or change colors and finishes, or buy new furniture? Collect some photos of interiors you like and note what you like about them, color, texture, furniture layout, lighting, etc. You should make a prioritizes list of all your needs and concerns.
2. Know your budget. No one likes having a budget, but everyone has one. A designer can even save you money by allocating resources wisely. For example invest more in a substantial purchase such as a sofa or bed, but spend less on accessories when there are budget concerns. There are many ways to use a designer on a very tight budget.
Good designers also will do their best to work with what you own. If you own a good quality sofa it can be reupholstered or the cushions can be replaced to be firmer. Even the arms can be altered by a good upholsterer. A good designer will have good crafts persons for variety of needs.
3. Find your designer. Now that your know what your project and your budget are, you can look for a suitable designer. You can ask a friend for a recommendation, or you can find them in a local home design publication where you can see photos of their work. Designers often have web sites or blogs that can give you an idea of your local designer's philosophy or previous projects.
You should know that an educated and experienced interior designer may do many different things. They could simply provide color suggestions or design an entire building from ground up including where to put the sprinkler heads or manage a construction project from start to finish. Make sure you hire a designer with a formal education if you are looking for more that a decorating project. A designer with a formal education will be concerned with local codes, health and safety issues as well as the aesthetics and quality of products. Describe your vision. It is important to make sure your designer is comfortable with the simplicity or complexity of your particular projects.
You should discuss your concerns about sustainability, healthy design or disabilities to make sure your designer is knowledgeable and capable of handling them.
You can start small using a designer for a short time on an hourly basis for a specific project. This helps you get to know each other and you can decide to pursue more projects with this designer.
4. Ask about the fee schedule. Make sure you're very clear on exactly how you'll be charged, if a deposit is required and when the work will be completed. Designers charge different fees and have different way of charging clients. Some charge hourly, some charge a flat fee, plus percentage of product purchases, or a combination of both. Ask if you will be charged for phone calls or emails.
5. Be prepared for a contract. You should always work with a designer with a contract. A contract will protect both sides. It should include the fee schedule, the scope of services, and a time frame. It should also include how the contract can terminate and method of arbitration should there be a dispute. Take time to read the contract on your own time and do not feel rushed to sign. Be sure to point out what the terms of the contract you disagree with and work out terms agreeable to both sides. A contract can be amended in writing at any time if both parties agree.
6. Communicate your thoughts. The more information you can give to your designer the better. Let the designer know what your budget and your vision are. Your needs, your preferences, and your hopes can be conveyed in both words and pictures that you collected.
Once you are presented with a proposal, study it. You don't need to love everything. Let your designer know what you like and dislike about the proposal.
7. Listen and be open to suggestions. Good designers educate their clients about their choices. There are many reasons why a designer may not completely agree with you. For example, polished tiles and stones look fabulous on the floor of foyer, but not a safe choice. So your designer may suggest a honed stone instead.
Finally enjoy the process. A designer is there to help you realize your vision. You can get what you want and even better.
Posted by M. Naz Saeed at 6:11 AM