When most people think about hiring an interior designer, they think mainly of aesthetics: wall colors, window treatments, pillow patterns. But those are only the finishing touches; just one part of what an interior designer offers to the whole process.
Design pros go beyond cosmetic concerns to ensure that your space feels harmonious, from its floor plan and architectural envelope, to the last nail head, light fixture, and piece of art.
An interior designer helps you to save money by allocating resources wisely, preventing potential design mistakes, and increasing creative thinking by bringing solutions to the table that you may not have otherwise considered.
How To Get Started With Your New Interior Designer
Budget: be prepared to discuss your budget range and total cost ceiling.
That way your designer can guide you on ways to economize, and to splurge where it has the biggest impact.
- Gather images that speak to what you like
- You can start an account on Pinterest or a Houzz account to organize your favorite images
- On the flip side, pick out examples of images that you don’t like, as this can be equally helpful
- Pull images from magazines and compile them in a folder
- It’s important to have all household members present at the initial meeting. Having everyone’s input from the beginning helps to avoid potential conflicts or misunderstandings later on
- Review the conceptual images you have compiled
- Don’t expect all design dilemmas to be resolved at the first meeting
- Give the design process time to evolve. Some designers come into a project and instantly know what they would do, while others like to ponder the options over a drawing
- Discuss what items are a ‘must stay’ or ‘cannot change’
Keep an open mind. It’s a rare client who loves 100 percent of a designer’s suggestions right away. An interior designer may recommend a layout concept, bathroom fixture or a wall finish option that you’re unsure of, but don’t say no without giving the idea some time to sink in.
What Not To Do When Working With an Interior Designer
Don’t throw out an idea without a little thought and some discussion. You have gone through the rigorous process of selecting a design build team, so try to trust them, because they are your team. If you begin questioning more decisions than not without an open discussion about it, that type of working relationship may lead to frustration for both parties. Keep in mind that your designer has the ability to visualize the completed project, and veering from a design plan can lead to a less than desirable outcome. Of course, if the decision doesn’t feel right after you have given it time and discussion, then it can be changed. But for the most part, let the designer do their magic. You will probably be very pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
Don’t expect things to move at a hurried pace. Designers don’t run at super hero speed, although they may try. Good design takes time. There are 1000’s of decisions to make and many ‘moving parts’ to consider when designing any home or space. And, when you decide to spend any amount of money to improve your space, take enough time, slow down and ensure you have covered all the bases and have reviewed all options that make sense.
Don’t keep your ideas to yourself. Communication is key to getting what you want. Interior designers don’t know what you want until you tell them. If you feel you should mention something, please do! The more information they have the better able the designer is to provide the end product you desire.
Don’t believe what you see on TV or believe that it is reality. What happens in TV land stays there, it’s not reality. You cannot renovate a bathroom from top to bottom with only $5,000! Design build teams aren’t trying to ‘swindle you’; we are trying to gather information from you on what finish level you expect. Then, the designer will give you a realistic budget to work with that relates to what you want as an end result for your newly renovated space or new home design.
Above all, the relationship with your interior designer must feel right. Remember, you’re working together on your private environment and everyone is going in the same direction. We are a team!
Nisha MacNeil is the lead custom home designer at Kerr Construction, award winning renovation company and custom home builder in Vancouver.
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