Much too often people wonder and ask: “Do I really need an interior designer/stylist/architect?” As a matter of fact a reader asked that very question last week, while she was seeking advice for her newly bought home. Therefore, I thought I write an open letter, hoping to address this question in a short and sweet manner without an in-depth analysis at this time. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of design conscious people out there with a refined taste with beautifully decorated homes carefully curated by themselves; almost always a by-product of time evolution.
Undoubtedly, home decorating magazines were (and in some cases still are) one of the best inspiration sources. Every single client of mine has gone through magazines like ELLE Decor, ELLE Decoration, House Beautiful, Lonny, El Mueble and so many others long before they decided to walk through the door and seek a consultation. Likewise, there’s a plethora of interior design blogs (some of which even post on a daily basis) making it even easier to reach a broader audience of people while sparking their imagination with countless possibilities. The greatest thing about all these sources is that they foster a design consciousness to a much bigger pool of people than ever before. Interestingly enough more people are turning to designers for professional help. But even when they do, first time clients are never entirely certain of what to expect from a designer. So, let me simplify things for you.
Designers & their Creative Process
To make a long story short, a rule of thumb to remember is that interior designers (or architects/stylists/decorators) are creative people who get a kick out of creating beautiful and interesting spaces that have a story to tell. They thrive on creativity juices as they navigate through a creative mess. It’s not about the perfect space; hell no – that’s utterly boring and to be fair, quite subjective! However, it’s about creating a living space with character and poise that evokes pleasant feelings. They seek to turn a bunch of chaotic ideas and functional requirements into an image that can later come to life – a design drawing. That image serves as the foundation of every very new project that you’ll be working on together with your designer. But for a successful outcome three things are required:
Give them space to challenge your comfort zones and opinions. They need to be feel that you’re open to their ideas. Besides, without challenging your mindset there’s a chance that a whole lot of good ideas will be overlooked. Let an idea grow before rejecting it.
Give them enough time to research and plan. I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. Good planning ahead is huge. It saves mounts of frustration, anxiety attacks, misunderstandings and a whole lot of time and money in overall.
Please don’t let them guess! It’s quite disheartening to come up with a concept only to have it rejected later because it was based solely on guesswork. Have an open conversation with the designer from the beginning. Confide in them your deepest desires. Let them know of the “givens.” Let them know where you’ve been and where you want to go. If they “get” you, then they have a great starting point to work from there and tailor the design scheme to suit your lifestyle and needs.
Similarly, don’t be disheartened if you don’t understand their gibberish or they show you a sketch on a notepad and leave you feeling clueless! It takes them a while to start sorting things out before any of it begins to feel like a real concept. They’re rehearsing it! Take me for example…I always have two planners and yet, I will sketch things or write notes on any piece of paper I find in front of me. Naturally, I end up with a hopelessly huge pile papers on my desk! 🙂
5 Reasons for Hiring an Interior Designer
So, what’s the coolest thing about a designer? The one thing that stands out? EDITing ability. That’s right! Any creative process has a whole lot of editing. It’s also probably the hardest attribute to explain, because I think it’s mostly an innate quality, a talent, that gets refined over the years through practice.
It’s quite possible for a lot of people to pull together a fairly decent decorating scheme if almost everything bought is anew. Imagine buying a new sofa, new armchairs, coffee table, shelves, consoles and so on, all in one space. How wrong can that go? Not very for most. It’s actually a little too hard not to get it right. Still, people’s scheme might fail in the long run when they try to edit their life’s belongings. That’s the challenging part. Which of your possessions do you keep? Which ones will match/or not your new furnishings? Believe me, that’s when you need a designer’s editing ability to make sense of it all. Because they will:
1. Streamline, your wishlist in terms of both budget and style.
Super important! How often did you go shopping with one thing in mind and ended up with many other things that did not cut it in the long run? (Wrong style, wrong color, wrong size, didn’t match…etc)? Join the club if it was more than once! To think of all that money wasted on things that you’ve regretted. So, a designer is your super cool new friend that will cut down your wishlist and help you shop the best buys your money can buy and of course, save you tons of money in the long run.
2. Keep you focused and aligned to your project’s aim.
It’s so easy to get carried away and squander unnecessarily money here and there before you realize that “too much of it has gone done the drain.” Your designer can steer you clear from making the wrong decisions.
3. Help you elaborate and evolve YOUR style.
They can show you how to pick up on the little details that make the difference between good and fabulous living and appreciate them. Basically, they will flourish and celebrate your style.
4. A designer will guide you to do things in a “right order.”
Should you buy rugs or artwork first? Do you buy your lighting before or after you’ve furnished your space? Should you place the sofa against the wall or create an island? Perhaps, some of these questions have obvious answers, but there’s a whole lot of other questions that pop up while working on your home improvement project that have never crossed your mind. So, a great designer will guide you through the process in an effort to minimize the uncertainties and unknown factors and make sensible decisions in an orderly fashion in order to avoid mishaps.
5. Exposes you to new resources.
You definitely knew several home decor stores. But there are so many more that your designer knows of that you probably never heard of before. The cool thing about this exposure is that eventually, you actually experience the creative process as it unfolds before your eyes and at the same time it broadens your comfort zones. It is a fun process after all!
A final word
All projects aside their size, can work out effortlessly with the right kind of help in terms of space planning, color scheme, layering and recommendations that can instantly upgrade your property. Therefore, the answer to the first question is “Yes! You do need one!” Because design is all in the details. Therefore, look for the one that you feel comfortable with and has a great sense of editing.
Please know that I’m always happy to read your mails with your questions and I will try to answer them all (sooner or later). So ask away…