Hiring an Interior Designer
by Elizabeth Williams

Would you like to enhance the design of your home?
Do you need help with space planning, adding functionality or developing a comprehensive scheme that can carry throughout your house?
Are you overwhelmed by the endless design choices, afraid you’ll make a mistake, or would like to know more about available products and new resources?
Do you and your partner have trouble agreeing on design decisions?
Do you have limited time to devote to the project?
Are you having difficulty defining your personal style, or do you just need help pulling it all together?

These are all good reasons to contract the services of an interior designer.
Interior designers work on projects of all scales from a one-hour color consultation to building a new home.

If you are considering a remodeling project it is never too early to involve an interior designer.

Today's professionally trained interior designers are essentially interior architects.
They have studied at accredited schools and have passed qualifying exams.
They are experienced in space planning, barrier free design, kitchen and bath design, custom cabinet design, furniture layout and lighting plans as well as the finishing and furnishing of these spaces.
They can save you money by allocating resources wisely, eliminating costly mistakes, adding another layer of creative thinking, and by making a project go more smoothly by anticipating design decisions.

An interior designer will help to prioritize your wish list, suggest trade-offs, and establish future life-style patterns; to move beyond “how we live now” to “how we plan to live”. They will help restructure, reorient and reorganize interior space producing smart, cohesive, designs unifying diverse spaces. They will help to define your style, incorporating your wishes and aspirations for your home.

A remodeling or refurbishing project involves lots of planning. You need a clear idea of where you are going, a roadmap so to speak. The process begins with an in-depth interview to determine the aesthetic, functional, budgetary and prioritization of project goals. During the interview the designer will begin to ascertain your tastes and lifestyle preferences. A good exercise to help communicate your goals to the designer is to think of adjectives that describe the look you want to achieve i.e.: formal, informal, cozy, peaceful, romantic, lively, elegant. Also, a great tool for conveying your style is to pull pictures you like from home magazines and compiling a file to share with the designer. All existing conditions and furnishings to be reused are documented during this initial phase.

From this information detailed drawings, including furniture layout, are developed and in place before beginning any structural work. Next, any built-in cabinetry is designed. Built-ins add architectural interest and extra functionality to a home. Finally the color palette is developed and the finishes are researched and specified. These would include flooring, furniture, window treatment, fabrics, and wall coverings. Paint should be the last thing chosen. As all design decisions impact all other design decisions, a comprehensive master plan outlining all design decisions and prioritization should be completed before any furnishings or finishes have been purchased.

The better the planning; the smoother the project. A successful collaboration between the homeowner and the designer through out all phases of the design process: planning, design, construction, finishing, and installation will produce the best results: a more beautiful and functional living space.

Copyright 2006 Northeast Publications, Inc

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