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Hiring an Interior Designer: What to Expect

1. Benefits of Hiring an Interior Designer

There are many benefits of hiring an interior designer, whether it is to design a new home or to remodel the current one. Below is a list of these benefits, and why hiring a designer can help you with your project.

Using a professional interior designer will give you an action plan to do. A designer has a plan from the beginning to the end of the project. A designer will know how to handle your project, as well as have a well-thought-out plan of action. Designers will be able to anticipate any obstacles and make the process run smoothly and most of all get furnishings for your home at the best possible price. Kenneth Byrd Design specializes in making the design process fun and affordable, good design doesn't have to cost a fortune!

The key element in designing a home is that it reflects the homeowner's personality, and these days with the trends moving so quickly, we see many people getting the design of their home wrong because of trying to be trendy with their decorations rather than reflecting the personality and the people who live there. A professional will be able to create a design that is timeless, by putting together a mix of the current trends and their client's personality. This will also have a major effect on the furniture chosen, and the designer will be able to select the perfect furniture for how the client wishes their home to be.

2. Finding the Right Interior Designer for Your Project

Many interior designers will offer to do one room at a time or a few rooms at discounted rates. Others will want the whole project at one time. Think about what you want to get out of the project and what is realistic for you. If you are a busy person, maybe you should do one room at a time. This is fine, but knowing this before you meet with the interior designer will help them to create a realistic timetable for your project and it will also enable the interior designer to select the best options for your project. A custom furniture piece might be perfect for the room, but maybe it isn't realistic for you due to your toddler, and the designer might steer you in the direction of something sturdier.

Design philosophy is important. Some designers are very modern and minimalist, while others might be overstated and traditional. Look at a potential interior designer's portfolio and see if their style is compatible with your vision. This is also an important communication tool to ensure that both parties are clear on the intended outcome of the project. This information can offer a sort of guidance or set the framework for the project moving forward and avoid wasted time and money.

3. Collaborating with an Interior Designer: The Process

The process of collaborating fades the line between client and designer, well defined by that point. You will begin to work together as you go through a number of stages to bring fruition to the initial concepts and ideas. This sort of input is essential for you as you will be the one living with the end results. During this phase, these are the following steps you will take with your designer. They may not be all linear, as at times you will be moving back and forth between a few.

First is a room-by-room space analysis to determine how you and others use the space. This may involve discussion on repurposing an existing room or changing a room's function. Here we may discuss the future and if you have one in mind. This step may also overlap with design concept development.

During design concept development, communicate the various concepts that can be used to express the ideas and which concept would be most suitable for the end goal. Here is where your idea boards will really shine! Sharing them will allow for two-way communication on the thinking behind your designer's proposed concept.

The next is a layout and space plan where you'll discuss changes to the layout and evaluate the new proposed work. This can involve discussion on how to best accomplish the end goal and can take several revisions.

4. Working with an Interior Designer: Communication

The more openly and thoroughly you can communicate with your interior designer, the happier you’re likely to be with the process and the results. Before you part with your hard-earned money, take some time to consider how both of you will communicate — who should take the initiative, and how should it be taken? Do you prefer frequent, but short communications or occasionally longer talks? How about email, phone, or instant messaging? And what to do if you do not understand what they are trying to get across to you? Clear up anything that might cause confusion in the future when it comes to communication. Like much else, being as upfront as possible will yield the best results.

Communication is to some extent a mirror of the kind of feedback you provide. Any designer worth their salt will also ask for regular feedback on the work that they have done. But many will fear being too pushy or annoying. Be clear about how much feedback they want, that way you won’t feel guilty providing critical feedback, and they won’t feel as bad asking for it. And again, be as open as possible. If something really bugs you, but you think it’s too petty to mention outright, tell them anyway. This way, it can be gotten out in the open and resolved, rather than sit at the back of your mind and cause longstanding dissatisfaction.

5. Finalizing the Project: Evaluating the Results

Now it is time to step back and evaluate your new living space. Your interior designer can suggest asking crucial questions regarding how the space is working for you. Questions such as "Has the new design met your needs?" and "Is the new design an improvement over your old space and an improvement to your life?" will be considered. Your designer may suggest that you take a day or two to live in the space, and then schedule a time to talk over your impressions. Note any problems or anything you are not sure about. Make sure to articulate why you do not like something. We at Kenneth Byrd Design strive to exceed expectations every time, your designer should aim to please!

Depending on your feedback, your designer may want to make some adjustments or additions to the design. This is completely normal and expected. The drawings are just a rough first draft and changes are to be expected. Any additional work not specified in the contract can be added as supplementary plans for an additional fee. And at times, due to a change in the design, there may be an increase in the fee. All additional work and fees will be approved by you. This is an important phase of the project which must be done to your satisfaction. The feedback from you is essential to ensuring a great design. High quality interior design can make an amazing difference in how a space looks and functions. With your final evaluation, make sure your designer has provided you with visuals to illustrate their ideas. A good design can be understood and followed by a contractor and it avoids costly and time-consuming errors on your part and the designer.

Written by Kenneth Byrd of Richmond, VA based interior design firm Kenneth Byrd Design.

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