We all know that hiring an interior designer is the best way to achieve the home of your dreams, but the prospect of hiring one, from the cost to the stress of explaining your vision to someone else, can leave many embarking on DIY projects instead. Nick Lee, former Head of Marketing & PR at the British Interior Design Association and Owner & Director of niche pr, the first PR consultancy dedicated to luxury interior designers banishes the worries of hiring an interior designer to get you a few steps closer to your perfect home…
Letting someone else take over the design of your personal haven can be daunting, but hiring a designer will save you both time and money, leaving you to enjoy your home without having to go through any of the stresses usually associated with dealing with tradesmen and countless suppliers and their employees.
Most people believe you can design and implement an interior design scheme by choosing a few complementing fabrics and coordinating paint and furnishings, but as anyone who has tried, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Interior design is one of the most demanding professions there is, as an interior designer has to be first and foremost a designer, but also a project manager, finance director, social worker, deliveries coordinator, advisor, to name but a few!
As our lives get increasingly busier and busier, so do our attempts at DIY yield increasingly disastrous results and there is an ever-more persuasive case for calling in the professionals. Time is against most of us, so by hiring a designer you can hand over the stress of managing your project to someone else whilst you carry on with everyday duties and responsibilities for somewhere amid the rush to refurbish our houses in a weekend, we have forgotten that the home should be a place of relaxation and pleasure.
A designer will not only save you time and effort, but money too, by avoiding costly mistakes and passing on trade discounts where possible or wherever given to the designer. Remember that you are not just using the skills of the designer, but also their trusted team of tradespeople and suppliers, some of whom do simply not trade direct with the public.
So once you have decided to take the plunge, how do you go about selecting the right designer? One of the best places to start is the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID). Through their website they offer the chance to explore all their members throughout the country and the rest of the world. Being a member means they have the necessary insurances, qualifications and experience. After reading through their biographies and seeing images of their style and type of work you simply choose which designers you wish to meet to discuss your project further. I would recommend seeing three or four designers as you not only need to like a designer’s style but you need to get on with them, as the relationship between a designer and a client can become a very close one. Another online source is www.interiordesigners.net or any of niche pr‘s 10 top interior designer clients many of which are award winning.
How to use your designer
To achieve the most from your designer it is vital that you give him or her as much information as possible about your lifestyle, ideas and taste and that you keep those communication channels open. Designers usually encourage clients to come to the initial consultation armed with visual references; pictures from magazines, paint or fabric swatches, treasured items, artwork and anything else that inspires them. That said, it is also important to be receptive to your designer’s ideas as benefiting from their original and sometimes bold design solutions is one the most exciting elements of hiring a designer. They can usually see the whole scheme from the start. To convey their ideas, 3D CAD visuals or freehand drawings of either a single room or a whole house are sometimes used and presented to a client to convey an original concept, which allows for amendments as the client wishes or as the design evolves.
It is important to discuss your budget with your designer in the very early stages. You needn’t have an exact idea of your anticipated costs, but you should have an approximation. The way designers charge for their services varies from designer to designer and on the size of the project, but overall there are four main ways of charging.
A set fee
Often used when the job involves complex structural renovations as well as the decorating of the interiors. In these cases the designer may agree a percentage of the contract as their fee which can be around 15% for projects up to £250,000.
Usually adopted for smaller or pure decorating jobs. All designers can buy materials at trade prices and may charge the retail price and take their fee from the mark-up.
Most designers offer a service whereby they will produce room schemes but leave the client to carry out or oversee the work themselves. This consultation is charged for at an hourly rate. This rate varies tremendously according to expertise and experience and could be anything from £75 an hour upwards.
For example a designer may charge an hourly rate for producing schemes and then charge retails prices and materials, or they may take a 5% design fee and then take a percentage of the mark-up on materials.
So whether you have a blank canvas or just want to refresh what you already have, hiring a designer will open the door to another realm of possibility, one through which you can wander at leisure while someone else does all the hard work.