The benefits of hiring an interior designer

September 15, 2019

There are many sorts of people out there, but I think you can group them into three types: those who use interior designers; those who want to but think they can’t afford one; and those who believe they can do it themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I think many could do it themselves, even if they are working parents with young children, but it would take 10 years and risk them their marriage and sanity.

Redecorating, redesigning or building a new home is stressful. Much more so when you are doing it for yourself than if you are doing it for someone else. I speak from experience – having worked on my own homes and watched my parents do it time and again. My parents are the sort of people who really can do it themselves. They have time, the subject interests them and, most of all, they have good taste.

Most of my friends, on the other hand, find it easier to buy pieces bit by bit than to organise a complete overhaul. Going bit by bit is probably one of the better ways to do it if you don’t have the expertise or experience and don’t want to get an interior designer. In the end, however, even if you do it piecemeal, if you are honest, you have probably spent much more time and money than you had planned. If you are going to do work on your home, it’s thus worth seriously thinking about hiring an interior designer.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1) Having an interior designer help you create your dream home not only gives you valuable expertise that can result in a more unique and beautiful interior, it offers you distance from the subject so you can view it from a completely different perspective. In a moment, the project goes from a massive job on your ‘To Do’ list to something someone else will think up, present to you and make it happen. Doesn’t this added expertise and change of perspective and control give you an instant sense of serenity?

2) Before studying to be an interior designer, I went about designing the homes I bought, did up and sold, completely differently. What I have since discovered is that the process a professional goes through is much more meticulous. Interior designers take creative steps to slowly eliminate the undesired and get to the point where the magic happens. We start with mood boards, go on to study floor plans and then create sketches. We start looking at our supplier list and see who would fit the project. From there, first versions of spreadsheets are created where items and design elements are listed.

 

3) Because interior designers work on a budget, it’s important to realise that you will usually know from the beginning how much – give or take 15% – the various items and the overall work will cost. A good designer will work closely with you to ensure the project stays on budget. When designers start working on spreadsheets, these papers are usually called the ‘FF&E’ or Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment. In these documents, designers put together costs and note down elements such as installation and delivery – elements that can throw your budget out the window if you haven’t planned ahead. If you want to have the best chance of success, I would advise trying to do as interior designers do and put all of your workings in a spreadsheet, keeping your ideas and costs in one place. If you have a bit more experience, you can put your designs in sketches, CGIs or plans. This helps you to make a more informed decision BEFORE you decide to order that sofa you just have to have regardless of what colour the wall will be! If you’ve laid everything out in a spreadsheet, it’s easier to see what will and won’t work as well as keep track of costs.

4) When you do something every day, you gain expertise in it and work out the most efficient and effective way to do it. You are much faster at it then someone who will do it for the first time. Interior designers have that expertise. They have streamlined the process and know exactly what to do when, who to contact, where to source certain products, etc. Their knowledge and efficiency are some of the greatest assets an experienced designer can bring to your project. On the other hand, if you are setting out to do the work yourself, the first thing you will likely do is research how you should be tackling the work. This can take two days or more, depending how much spare time you have. Then you will fester about the process. Once you start, you will encounter glitches (because rarely does everything work out perfectly or does online advise match exactly what need). And to find what you need may take much more time than you had anticipated if you don’t have contacts or know quite where to look. You may doubt you have taken the right path. Need I go on? If you know you want extra special fixtures or furnishings and would like to live in your dream home sooner rather than later, a professional designer may be the way to go.

5) A few final questions to ask yourself: Will you be home when the delivery arrives? Will you remember what is supposed to arrive when? If an item doesn’t come, will you have the right contact details of the obscure delivery company? What will you do if you open a package and the item delivered is defective? Crucially, are you prepared to arrange everything yourself?

There are many things to think about when it comes to redesigning, redecorating or building a home! Before you take the plunge, I hope I have given you a better idea of what it can be like to do up your own house. Envisioning and creating a new look for your home can be an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience – but it can also be overwhelming at times and difficult to view the house as a whole if you don’t have any interior design experience. Even if you just want to have a chat and better understand the whole process – do give me a ring. I’d love to hear what you’re planning.