It’s time to call in a pro


You know you want a polished look, and you would like to know that the investment will be a wise one. You know enough to know that this is not your area of expertise. This is probably the time to call in an interior designer.

If you have not used a designer before, it really can be intimidating. The fear and mystery can be enough to send a homeowner on a solo spiral down the interior design hill.

To make matters even more challenging, the best interior decorators are one part artist, one part business mind, one part circus master, one part visionary, and another part translator. You can’t simply Google “designer” and come up with a name that will fit your needs.

While the most obvious trait to consider is artistic ability and sense of style, the most important element is personality. If you don’t click with the designer, the room won’t work out.

A close bond develops during the design process, so first and foremost, the designer has to mesh with you, your family, and your lifestyle. Trust is essential on so many levels.

Just as important, this must be a person who asks questions and listens to the answers. A good decorator should constantly ‘probe’ in order to solicit a vision for the final product. If questions are not being posed, it is a sign that you are not the focus.

Before committing to a designer, ask yourself the following:

– Do I feel totally comfortable with this person or do I feel intimidated?  Remember, you will be spending lots of time with this person, so a level of rapport is essential.

– Does this person seem genuinely interested in my wishes?  Grab your purse and run as fast as you can from any cookie-cutter decorator who creates the same look over and over again.

– Is he or she clear about the costs involved?  There should be a clear understanding of how fees will be charged in advance. Surprises are not a good thing in this situation.

This is the start of a long-term relationship with a person who will have access to personal aspects of your life, so these factors are imperative.

Relationships between decorators and clients can be as interactive or as hands-off as the client wishes… Clients must take initiative and let the designer know just how involved they want to be.

Unless the designer selected is totally and completely devoid of talent, the benefits will far outweigh the cost. Avoiding one mistake could be worth the entire consultation fee! Project errors can be costly.

When interviewing a potential designer candidate, expect to be quoted an hourly rate of $75 and up. Additionally, some decorators will quote a flat fee based on a needs analysis.  The ideal situation is to look for a decorator who is flexible to the needs of a client.

Working with a decorator opens up sources that are typically closed to the general public. Also, designers have a resource list of talented labor that they can readily tap into as well as the ability to negotiate on behalf of a client.

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