Recently, I was invited to a housewarming party for a dear friend. She and her husband had spent the past two years planning and renovating their dream house nestled in the lush woods along a winding country road. Now, finally, everything was complete. It was time to celebrate! As we toured the beautiful interiors though, my friend revealed how overwhelming the experience had been. Despite working off of sound architectural plans and getting advice from their contractor, stress simmered under the surface throughout the project. In the throes of construction, important decisions needed to be made quickly. They had never made so many decisions like this before, so those related to the interior furnishings were pushed to the side. Without the guidance of an experienced designer, costly albeit avoidable mistakes hindered the project. For example, in the final stages, the furniture they purchased from various retail stores did not fit all together and in proportion with existing pieces they owned in the new space. “I wish I knew then what I know now,” my friend said vehemently. This sentiment I hear all too often. I smiled knowingly and asked, “Why didn’t you call me from the beginning?”
Homeowners often opt to manage their house project themselves because they believe hiring an interior designer is too expensive. However, what’s more expensive in terms of time and money than having to do the project (or buy furniture) twice? It can be hard to see designers’ value unless there is a major problem. However, interior designers offer invaluable services from conception to completion for any sized project. In the 15 years I have been in the design industry, (starting in new construction, then working my way into full home renovations, including home furnishings), I have seen a lot. Drawing from this experience, I want to share several reasons why you should hire an interior designer if you are redecorating, renovating, or even building a new home. I want to help you avoid making the mistakes so many well-meaning DIYers have made. Design business guru and mentor Capella Kicheloe just wrote a blog post about this topic on her website too. Take a peek for a second perspective!
If you are planning on building a home, I cannot stress enough the importance of working with an interior designer in conjunction with your architect. While the architect plans the bones of the home, your interior designer brings those spaces to life. You’ll need to think about furniture layouts for each space, which means you’ll need to consider lighting, and then account for outlets, and closets, and flooring, and decorative hardware, and window treatments, and finishes, and schedules, and, and, AND… The list is endless! An interior designer will walk you through each space in advance and help you carefully curate every room the way you’ve always dreamed. This way, when construction begins, you’ll have peace of mind that all the details have been discussed and all of your furniture fits. Your interior designer also will be with you every step of the way during construction, a real blessing when something unforeseen happens (and it always does). We won’t bat an eye. Rather, we’ll be able to take care of it for you and adjust the plans accordingly.
If you are planning on renovating your home, an interior designer will assess the space, its various needs and/or challenges, and devise a plan of action. Many interior designers, myself included, have a degree in interior design and have learned and understand the importance of scale and proportion, crucial aspects of every home, especially when blending existing space with new. Interior designers are professional space planners with the foresight and knowledge to consider how the space should feel and function. We’ll ensure that your master bathroom addition is large enough to accommodate the steam shower, free-standing claw-foot tub, his and hers vanities, and water closet you’ve always dreamed of having. We can suggest options that increase the value of your home and follow local building codes, which are especially essential when renovating a kitchen, bathroom, or closet space. Furthermore, your designer will guide you through renovation hell by acting as a liaison between you and your builder, keeping the lines of communication open and the job running smoothly. This is a service I provide for many of my clients, and it is probably one of the most valuable.
If you are planning on redecorating a space (living room, dining room, master bedroom, etc.), an interior designer can deliver a comfortable, deliciously inviting room that looks as though each piece has been collected over the years, with materials that are meant for living. Have kids and pets? No problem, we have smart, no fuss, durable fabrics for you! An interior designer has the inside track on which fabrics will perform for your space as well as the ones to avoid. We know rub counts, thread counts, light hour ratings, etc., so you don’t have to think or worry about it. If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind light fixtures, we have the resources for that. Interior designers have relationships with vendors that you may never have heard of and don’t have access to. Many of these vendors are featured in national publications like Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, and House Beautiful. Love that sofa you saw on page 76? It can be yours in any fabric of your choosing! These vendor relationships have been nurtured and maintained over many years of business, translating to incredible customer service for you. Conversely, a good interior designer will be honest and tell you when you are making a mistake (i.e. that chair made out of bottle caps actually might not be the most comfortable). When redecorating any room, your interior designer will have a vision you may not have thought of (and may even push the boundaries of what you thought your tolerance for color and pattern was). The result, though, will be an awe-inspiring space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.
A good interior designer will become one of your most trusted resources, someone you respect and rely on for solutions big and small. Cat snagged your new window treatments? Not to worry, we can fix them for you. Want to re-upholster your grandfather’s chair? We have someone who specializes in upholstery. While real life is nothing like the shows you see on HGTV, I assure you, the joy and happiness that comes from a completed space of both beauty and function is as real as it gets. Lastly, interior designers (at least the ones I am friends with) are friendly, energetic, positive, and encouraging people. We always have a smile on our faces, ready to win the day. Whether you’re considering new construction, a home renovation, or a room re-do, consider hiring an interior designer. It’s worth it. Any home project is stressful, and my motto is this: ‘positive thinking gets positive results.’ A little positivity from an interior designer goes a long way!