Decorators Want You To Know – Part 2

We recently queried interior design pro’s for tips they could offer that would help them to help you! We received an overwhelming degree of comments addressing reality TV design shows. These shows largely condense the design process, giving viewers a misconception of hiring for ‘instant results’. This kind of expectation promoted by reality TV distorts the very real interior design process. Here are a few tips addressing that, plus a few more great insights from interior decorators and designers:

Reality decorating shows do not give an accurate portrayal of the manpower, cost, or number of decisions that need to be made when remodeling. Designers charge for their services in a variety of ways. They may charge hourly rates, offer a flat design fee, make money through sales and commissions, or combine all these methods. Designers choose what makes the most sense for each client and project. As an Interior Designer specializing in construction and renovation, picking colors and fabrics is a very small part of what I do. I see myself primarily as a problem-solver. In-store decorators sell furniture. I sell solutions.

Lisa Quale
Lisa Quale Interiors, LLC

1) Create a master plan for your home even if you plan to execute it in phases. A master plan insures that everything works well together, creating a seamless design in which “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

2)  HGTV is not real!  Moving from design to installation takes more than 30 minutes, and successful design is as much a function of a designer being thorough as it is of being talented.

3) Hiring a designer is economical. It often saves money by avoiding costly mistakes like forgetting to install electrical outlets and lighting where needed, having furniture that’s out of scale, or sofa fabrics that wear too quickly, to name just a few.

Mitchell Channon, ASID

  1. Good design does not have to be insanely expensive.  A good designer will point their client in the direction of mixing high and low items to create a well curated look.
  1. Invest in original art.  Original art is a legacy that can be passed down through generations and if chosen well, it can increase in value.  Of all the things, I tell my clients, art is the most important piece.  Art evokes happiness, sets a tone for the room and is a great conversation piece!  So many people are intimidated by venturing into art galleries — but it’s a great way to discover what you love — in addition there are many sources online for original, affordable art. blog/

  1. If you hire a designer, don’t go rogue on them!  By hiring a designer, you are investing in their expertise, knowledge and talent for creating a pleasing aesthetic.  Remember to trust their judgment and guidance.  Be sure to communicate your needs, wants and budget specifically upfront so there is no miscommunication.

Leslie Price
Price Style & Design

1)     Please just let me do it! Do not try to do all your own ordering and manage the shipping of your items, especially if you already have a full-time job. Focus on your life and let us do this. What you pay in fees you will save many times over by avoiding work delays.

2)   Please be upfront with your budget! I will respect your limitations. I also won’t work with one that is too small or unrealistic for the client’s goals. Nobody will be happy at the end of the project then!

3)   You won’t hurt my feelings. Please tell me if you think that’s the ugliest sofa you’ve ever seen, and in fact, tell me why! Negative feedback is important too.

Tiffany Cassidy
Principal Designer

Designers do not receive major discounts on product. It is a misconception that designers buy furniture/lighting/fabric at bargain prices and make a ton of mark-up on sales. We are lucky to make 20% on goods these days. It may be a luxury industry, but it can yield some of the smallest profit margins in business.

Asking to see multiple options of everything isn’t “savvy”, it’s a time-waster. If you are working with a pro, he or she will be able to narrow down selections and show you the best option. That is what we do. We have a vision, we know what fits and will present the best options to you to keep you and the project on-target.

The time-line starts not when you say “yes”, but when the vendor processes the order. We receive approval, we send you the sales order, you send us a check, we deposit it and send payment and purchase order to the showroom, the showroom processes our payment and initiates the order. This adds a week to ten days to your lead-time of 6-12 weeks (and upwards). PLUS you have to add in time for shipping and delivery upon completion. Bottom line, expect the work to take time!

I have to add one more thing. Interior design is 10% creative, 90% management. Good professional designers are experienced enough to understand that interior design isn’t about “fun”. It’s the ability to envision, design and then organize and manage thousands of details, dozens of trades, schedules, finances and personalities – with the expectation of a flawless installation on a set date.

Tricia Huntley
Huntley & Co. Interior Design

We thank our participating designers for taking the verbal initiative to help clients understand a few ‘insider aspects’ of the interior design business.

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