September 2011

Debunking The Myths of Hiring an Interior Designer

Author: Gregory Vaughan

In today’s real estate market, it is more important than ever to protect your investment. Whether your property is a sprawling family estate in Palmetto Bluff or a quaint beachside cottage in Sea Pines, when building or remodeling your home, it pays to invest in a team of professionals. This team will typically include an architect, a building contractor and an interior designer.

An architect is necessary when designing a home from scratch or when remodeling and making structural changes to an existing one. The building contractor will coordinate the construction issues and turn the plans on paper into a physical space for habitation. These two professionals are a given when embarking upon any homebuilding/remodeling project.

However, the interior designer is sometimes initially left out of this equation because of the many myths that surround the profession. An analysis of these myths will reveal that the professional interior designer is as vital to the project as the others and may, in fact, play a more important role in its successful completion. The interior designer is crucial to achieving the homeowner’s vision and helping make a sound investment for the property.

MYTH: I can’t afford an interior designer.
The simple truth is you probably can’t afford not to hire one. Design assistance is available to anyone at flexible price points and degrees of involvement. Hourly consultation and fixed fees, based on the scope of service, are available. You may choose an independent design firm or decide to work with an on-staff designer at your favorite furniture store. Regardless of which direction you go, a professionally trained interior designer will help you accomplish many things integral to the successful completion of your project. Helping establish priorities and a budget are essential, but beyond that, a talented designer will show you options you may not have previously considered. And, most importantly, a designer can help you avoid costly mistakes.

MYTH: A professionally designed space won’t reflect my personality and I will lose control.
The goal of an interior designer to is to capture the essence of the client’s tastes and lifestyle and translate them into a cohesive, beautiful, and functional space. A designer wants the interior of your home to fit you and enrich your daily life. This will involve an in-depth assessment of your likes and dislikes, entertaining habits, work habits, storage needs, and color preferences in order to better understand your personal style. If you desire, a designer will incorporate some of the furniture, family heirlooms and mementos you already cherish into a new scheme.

MYTH: I can do it myself. It can’t be that hard; I see it on television all the time.
Most interior designers have been to college to study professionally and have a four-year degree in the understanding of design, aesthetics, architectural history, color theory, and space planning. Just because you flip through a few shelter magazines and watch television shows on interior design does not make you a professional. Can you easily emulate their success? Designers will go beyond basic color coordinating and staging your rooms. They will design furniture arrangements and give you options for flexible needs. They can assist you with coordinating the finishes used in the house, from the plumbing fixtures and lighting to hardware and the paint. They can also recommend professional trade people like faux-finishers and wallpaper installers.

MYTH: As long as I make it trendy, it will be okay.
A trendy design scheme is just what it appears to be: trendy and in style today, tired and out of style tomorrow. A timeless look will stay fresh for years. Working with a trained designer will help you avoid the pitfalls of “flavor-of-the-month” and guide you towards finish selections and furnishings that transgress fickle fads and have some staying power. Remember, great style has legs and longevity.

MYTH: If I buy a lot of cheap furnishings, I can really stretch the budget.
It is true, inexpensive furnishings will stretch the budget, but, if not cleverly incorporated into the décor, it looks, well…cheap. There is an art and science to mix high-end with low-end, and a professional designer will help guide you through the selection process. For example, a well-constructed sofa upholstered in a quality fabric will give you years of service and hold up to the wear and tear of daily use but may not be the least expensive alternative. A designer can advise you on which items to truly invest in for maximum returns and bang for the buck.

MYTH: I don’t have the budget to do it all at once, so why bother with a plan?
The whole point of establishing a plan is to achieve a desired result. In the case of interior design, a conceptualized plan will help you reach your goal in an efficient manner. If your budget does not allow for the completion of a space, a designer will guide you in the selection of the basics to build upon and enhance as your budget allows. A well-designed plan will allow for changes and accommodations along the way but still get you to your destination.

MYTH: It’s my house and I can do what I want.
Well, of course, you can and should decorate for your tastes since, after all, you are the one living there. But, if you are the slightest bit concerned with investment and resale, you may want the advice of a professional before building in something really unusual or highly personal. Remember, paint colors, carpeting, and wallpaper are easily changed for future owners, but more expensive built-in items like an unusual cabinet finish or a highly personalized layout may turn off perspective buyers in the future. It is best to have a pro guide you along the way.

There is an art to successful interior design. Rooms and spaces that are both functional and beautiful do not just happen by accident. It takes skill and knowledge to take your ideas and visions and turn them into a physical reality. Hiring an interior designer is an invaluable part of your building process and protects your real estate investment.

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