Today we want to talk more about renovations. Last solo episode we told you guys the story of our most recent renovation. There are a lot of highs and lows when you’re changing spaces in your homes, and while DIY is great, sometimes you just need help. I’m sure this won’t surprise any of you, but we think that if you’re looking for help, an interior designer should be your first thought. Obviously we are a little biased, but we want to take some time today to shed some light on what exactly interior designers do and explain how they (we) can help the renovation process flow from beginning to end.
This episode seeks to answer the following questions: In a world of DIY and easy online shopping, why does anyone hire an interior designer? What does an interior designer do, and why do we believe a designer is the FIRST important hire you should make when you’re redoing a room or starting a renovation?
What Is An Interior Designer?
Sometimes when we tell people we do interior design, we get the sense that they really don’t know what an interior designer actually does. They think that means maybe just a decorator or something similar, but there is so much more than that. People often either assume interior design is just decoration or they just simply have no idea what interior designers actually do. I think anyone who has worked with a designer and had a good experience realizes what a valuable service it is, but I think a lot of people don’t know what they’re missing by not hiring design help for their home!
Chandler did a little research (her hobby) and found an interesting definition of an interior designer: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), interior designers improve the look, usage, and safety of interior spaces. Their main purpose is to meet the needs of the occupants by enhancing all aspects of the space, including color, lighting, textures, furniture, and the spatial relationships. So in this episode, we wanted to talk through, in general, what an interior designer DOES, and then, more specifically, how we help our clients love where they live. In fact, we think the process works best when an interior designer is your first hire to a project (in most cases)
4 “Types” of Designers
Stagers - Stagers are normally tasked with decorating a temporary space. This can be something like a home that’s getting ready for sale, or even a set on a television show or movie. Stagers normally keep large amounts of furniture and decor on-hand that serves to decorate a space for a limited period of time for a particular purpose.
Decorators - Decorators are normally tasked with coming in at the end of a project and putting the finishing touches on a space. Decorators mostly work with “soft” furnishings - fabrics, rugs, accessories, etc. they use to pull together a room or home. They function much like stagers, other than the decorations and furniture put in place by a decorator is generally there to stay.
Interior Designers - Interior Designers have a more extensive tasks than stagers and decorators. Interior Designers are brought on at the beginning of a project and tasked with overseeing the process and progress of the project throughout. This can include designing layouts for furniture and accessories, curating design choices for the client on paint color, finishes, furnishings, etc., working with the contractors to re-design rooms and home flow, designing and sourcing custom furniture/accessories, managing subcontractors that are physically making the changes, helping manage the budget, and putting the finishing touches on at the end of the project. The list could actually be much longer, but the point is that interior designers generally can handle any and all parts of the renovation process.
Design Firms - Design Firms are exactly what they sound like - usually a group of interior designers, junior designers, assistants, and sometimes even architects and general contractors. They are more wide-ranging in their scope, and generally able to take on much larger projects.
Step 1 for (almost) Everyone - Initial Consultations
Every designer or firm is different, but the vast majority of design professionals start with some sort of initial consultation, which can be a great way for you as the client to get professional advice with low risk! Pricing on these can vary from free to very expensive. In fact, some interior designers make their entire businesses revolve around consultations!
For us, we’ve found that a paid initial consultation works well for our clients and for us. When you’re hiring a designer, you’re paying for their intellectual property, their creativity, and design! Because our consultations are paid, we feel absolute freedom to serve our clients by providing as many ideas, tips, tricks, and creative thoughts as they can handle in these meetings. We aren’t holding anything back, regardless of whether you continue past an initial consultation with us or not.
We often have said it like this - If a design fairy could visit your home, answer all your questions, talk to you about your current reality versus your dream scenario, help you envision the possibilities, tell you what’s possible and what’s not, give you an idea about project budget, and help you understand next steps to giving you the beautiful home you’re dreaming about, would that be worth $125 to you? For people that are serious about renovation, that’s usually a NO-BRAINER! We love serving our clients this way, and if you’re thinking about a renovation an initial consultation with an interior designer can be a great way to get some ideas about what’s possible from a professional for minimal risk.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t say this - if YOU are interested in making changes to your home and want some professional insight for minimal risk, CLICK HERE and shoot us a note! We’d love to help!
What Happens Next?
So after a consultation, you’ll either take the information you got at the meeting and move forward on your own, or you’ll move forward with your designer and start down your renovation road. Now obviously the scopes and specifics of projects are all different, but generally speaking here are some ways that interior designers can help guide you through the renovation process. Again, we can’t speak into what everyone does, but these are ways that WE try to serve our clients here:
Give you a vision for the potential of your home
Design layouts, color schemes, and finishes to fit your style and family. This is the fun stuff!
Save you hours of shopping stress by curating selections
Help you to manage your budget so that every dollar counts
Oversee hiring and managing trustworthy handymen and contractors to do get your job done
Take charge of troubleshooting and problem solving so that the stress of renovation isn’t on your shoulders
So What’s the Point?
The point is - if you are wanting professional help for a renovation, an interior designer should be #1 on your list to hire. As an interior design team, our goal is to be the roadmap for your renovation. From the beginning of the project we are there to guide you, give you alternate routes when roadblocks arise, and continually encourage you by saying “in .3-miles, turn left” in a British accent. I may have taken the analogy too far…
That’s why we love what we do. Where you live is important, and we love helping people love where they live. It’s more than making a pretty space and, honestly, it’s more than making a functional space or creating a great client experience along the way - all of which we absolutely pride ourselves in! For us, it comes down to this question - does what we do help you love your family better and live a more fulfilled life?
Our goal is that each of our clients would answer “yes” to that question.
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Things We’re Loving
Jeremy - I’m loving the TV show Madam Secretary. We started watching it last year, and a new season just came out on Netflix in June that we’ve been working through. It’s well written and entertaining.
DISCLAIMER - the most recent season (5) has gotten really political. Duh Jeremy, it’s a political drama. Let me briefly explain: the past few seasons have been fairly politic neutral in that there weren’t a ton of controversial topics covered in a way that blatantly points to the leanings of the writers/network. Season 5 they’ve pretty much just thrown neutrality out the door, and that’s fine but to me it feels overboard. I’m all for people having the information they need to make informed and intelligent decisions on political issues, but for me this season has taken away some of the show’s creativity I previously enjoyed and replaced it pretty pointed political rhetoric. So all that to say, this show’s viewpoints do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the ones enjoying the show.
Chandler - I’m loving my new Peak Design bag! It’s an amazing every day bag that has completely intuitive compartments for organization. A lot of their stuff is geared toward photographers, but I’d say this bag is great for anyone that likes to keep things organized! And since I do keep my camera in here quite a bit, I can vouch for it being a great camera bag too! CLICK THE PIC to check it out.