Here are 4 tips on what to know before hiring an Interior Designer or how to avoid costly mistakes when working as your own Designer. Tips to make the process super easy and get the best out of your design experience.
As more and more people work remotely and spend large amounts of time inside their homes, certain things begin to take on more importance. Things such as the layout of their interior spaces, creating a balance and harmony through the proper and optimum use of color, patterns, textures, and lighting is becoming more important in everyday lives. To that end, the functionality of design elements is just as essential as aesthetics.
Interior Architecture Vs Interior Design
Interior design focuses on the hard and soft furnishings for the home – Fittings, Fixtures, and Equipment. Elements such as wall colors, flooring, tiles, cabinets, window treatments, furniture accessories are added by the homeowner and are easy to change – some more than others.
Interior architecture, on the other hand, usually pertains to structural aspects of the home. It defines what each space is for and how the different spaces work together. Interior architecture may or may not be permanent. For an existing home, this tends to involve remodels or structural alterations, such as walls, door and window openings, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure, etc., etc.
Architecture and Interior Design are two disciplines that are complementary to each other. The best design projects result from the successful collaboration of Designer and Architect – each super-specialized in their own field.
TIP #1 – Floor Plans
One of the key things to know before hiring an Interior Designer is that a set of Floor Plans are essential. Architectural plans and prints are what builders use as a roadmap on how to build. However, they are not always built 100% exact. Architectural prints are a conceptual drawing of a space. Most of the time, the dimensions on the print differ from physical job site measurements.
The prints are a great guide, but If they are the drawings that the GC (General Contractor) built off and not the revised plans of what was actually built there may be discrepancies from the plans vs what was built on site. There is no way of knowing if there are any discrepancies until the designer takes actual measurements of the room.
As-built drawings, on the other hand, are actual measurements of the space. When designing a space, Designers prefer to be provided with as-builts, or take their own measurements. Otherwise it becomes difficult to design an accurate furniture layout or guarantee a fit with respect to the furniture and traffic pathways in a room.
TIP #2 – When it comes to color
Wall color is the easiest and quickest fix when refreshing or redesigning a room. However, the thing to keep in mind is that wall paint usually ends up a shade or two darker on the wall than what you see on the paint chip when looking at the fan deck in your home improvement store.
A good designer will choose the color you love – then go down the paint deck to the next shade lighter. That is your correct wall color. Wall colors have the ability to make us feel calm and relaxed OR anxious ad stressed out. Choosing a color that is easier to live with is a wiser decision than opting for a trendy “it” shade.
TIP #3 – When it comes to Lighting
Lighting can make or break a room’s design. Walking in the room at different times of the day and noting where the light comes in will help you or your designer decide where the sofa – the largest design element in a living room – or the bed – the largest element in a bedroom – is placed.
For nighttime lighting – each room must have ambient, mood, and task lighting – scattered throughout the room. Rooms with inadequate lighting tend to be low on functionality. Poorly lit rooms are not suitable gathering places for family and friends.
TIP #4 – The trick to shopping for furniture
Shopping for furniture online is tricky. Similar to shopping in a furniture showroom. Items look very different in a furniture store or designer showroom than they would look after bringing them home. The lighting in a furniture showroom is commercial-grade lighting.
Similarly, photos of furniture and accessories, such as pillows throws and window treatments seen online are usually lit differently than they would be at home. Hence they tend to look different when they are delivered.
What to know before hiring an Interior Designer is that designers are great at visualizing an “after” look for your space. If you are working as your own designer, it helps to be able to visualize the particular shopping item in your home alongside your existing furniture and fittings. Does the piece work with the style of what you currently own?
There are times when it is ok to mix different styles and periods but it is crucial to know the rules first, in order to break them. Next, visualize the level of light in the room. The furniture sales representative is there to help answer questions about the item and offer suggestions. However they do not know your choices or your room as well as you or your designer does, so order only when you are absolutely sure that you have made the right choice.
Designer as Guide
Whether you decide to hire an Interior Designer or decide to go DIY – to transform your home to fit your and your family’s needs and preferences, whether you are a maximalist at heart or a minimalist, keep in mind your home is about you.
Let your designer guide you – because he/she is the professional with the training and experience. Having said that, your home is not about your designer’s favorite style. Neither is it about trends that are here today, gone tomorrow. Insist on the best value for the time and resources that you spend.
Last but not least – make 2 crucial decisions before you pick up the phone to make that call to the designer –
- Know your budget before hiring a Designer.
- Set a timeline for your project.
Pics Credit – Art Deco Living Room pic courtesy Villa Tika Marrakesh -Orange and white wall color Image courtesy Elle Decor – Mood Lighting image courtesy Tori Black Homes and Home Designing – Modern Dining Room in Traditional home pic image courtesy Ikoab – Designer inspired Kitchen pic courtesy HGTV