What Is The Purpose Of Interior Design?
The purpose of interior design is to create a space that is optimally designed to fulfil its purpose while also being aesthetically pleasing to look at. It is about marrying form and function to get the best possible outcome within the constraints that the space presents.
Interior design is not as simple as matching colour schemes to upholstery samples. Great interior design helps to convey your personality, make you feel at home and enhances the functionality of the space. An interior designer looks at your space from a far more technical point of view than you do. A layperson would normally look at the colours and the style of the space whereas an interior designer would additionally consider circulation patterns, everyday efficiency, lighting, ventilation, vastu and a lot more. If there are shortcomings of a space an interior designer would consider ways to overcome them and improve functionality.
An interior designer would also be able to take all the different elements that a client desires, match them to the space and create one unified concept and vision. The designer looks at the details and also how they fit into the bigger picture. The interior designer also considers the wear and tear that all components of the space will be subjected too and which materials will be suitable to withstand the stress.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring A Designer
When you are faced with a home that is in need of fresh interiors you are faced with the million-dollar question, “Why hire an interior designer?”. To better answer this question, you first have to ask yourself a few questions:
What is your budget like?
When sprucing up the interiors of a house there are two ways to go ahead, either do a one time spend in lump sum or spend slowly over a period of time.
When you decorate your house yourself you can spend in bits and pieces as and when you have spare cash. This is a great idea if you can plan ahead, have plenty of do-it-yourself skills and the time to spend looking for great deals. You also have to be prepared for the inconveniences of living in a house that is a work in progress over a long period of time. Your interiors may not look appealing through this process if you are making a radical departure from the existing look or colour scheme. If you get your interiors wrong you will also have to live with the result for a long time.
Staying within budget depends on your financial astuteness and access to bargains. If you are not careful it would be very easy to spend a lot more that you preset budget when you are spending in fits and starts. An interior designer, on the other hand, will either have to be paid in a lump sum or as per a fixed schedule. But the money will have to be paid out in a shorter period of time. The benefit, however, is having your work done within short turnaround times. When you set a budget, the designer will tell you how much you can achieve within that budget. You will get good advice on where you must spend and where you can afford to cut corners.
What are the services you are looking for?
Take a good look at your space and decide on what you can do yourself and where you are out of your depth. If you are confident of some aspects of the work required you can use the services of an interior designer for only a part of the work. You can even use the services of an interior designer for consultation on things such as colour schemes and the like. Some interior designers would be happy to serve as a consultant for an hourly fee and leave the actual execution up to you.
If there is one area of your space, for example, the entry and the living space that you want to be absolutely perfect and done quickly, you could hire an interior designer for those specific rooms. You can then decorate the rest of the house yourself at a slower pace.
Are you comfortable handing over the reins?
Having a clear vision of what you like and what you don’t is important whether you do your interiors yourself or hand over the project to a designer. When using the services of an interior designer, you still have veto power over the big decisions. However, it is not the same as doing everything yourself. Hiring interior designers is not the right choice for everybody. To some people, it is well worth passing on the headache of doing their interiors to a designer. Others have a hard time entrusting their vision to someone else. If you know that you have a problem with letting someone else take the lead, you should reconsider handing over an entire project.
To hire interior designer also requires that you share quite a lot of information about the intimate details of how you use a space. If you are comfortable sharing all this information, it would be easier for the interior designer to create a space that suits you. This is where trust in the chosen designer comes to play. Ensure that you are willing to give up as much control as required for a successful design project.
Advantages of hiring a Designer
There are many benefits of hiring an interior designer. Even when one has an excellent instinct for design and aesthetics, the technical knowledge and experience that an interior designer brings to the table are invaluable.
An interior designer’s experience will help match your expectations to reality. If you have champagne taste on a beer budget, an interior designer will help you find the middle path. A professional will save you from making expensive mistakes and can anticipate potential problems to be addressed at the drawing board stage. An interior designer is better trained to see the hidden potential of a space and amplify its positive aspects. A professional might give you ideas that you may not have considered otherwise.
An interior designer is experienced in understanding the vision of a client. One of the talents that an interior designer has is being a good interpreter between the client and the team executing the job. It is important to convey the nuances of the required work to the workmen and authorities (if permissions are required) to get it executed exactly as envisioned. A layman’s description of a certain design may not be easily understood by the people executing the job.
Interior designers have access to all the latest tools and technology to help the planning of the work. They can help you plan everything from furniture layouts to structural modifications with proper drawings or models that will help you envision the finished space better.
An interior designer is better qualified to make decisions that need technical knowledge. Decisions regarding plumbing lines and electrical lines and outlets, for example, would be better decided by a professional. From a safety and practicality point of view, it is always best to leave it to the professionals.
If you are renovating an old property and want to restore it to the original style an interior designer will have the knowledge base to guide you better. Old properties also have a lot of handcrafted elements and an interior designer would be able to access suppliers and craftsmen to better match the original fittings and finishes. It is well worth the effort to find interior designer talent that has experience and expertise in working on old properties than to do it yourself.
Save Money And Time
If you are a person who spends the entire week at work, it will take many weekends to successfully execute an interior design project. This is a very long term commitment if the scope of work is large. If your work is not up to par and you have to redo an aspect of your interiors it adds to the cost.
An interior designer can actually save you money. At the planning stage, they can prevent you from making costly mistakes. They know which products work and which ones do not live up to their advertising in the long term. An interior designer does not source materials from the retail market as a layman would. They have access to quality vendors at wholesale prices. Interior designers know the best sources for material and furniture at good discounts. Since they work on a predetermined budget, you do not have to worry about spending more than you are prepared to.
Interior designers are experienced project managers and they can better plan the work to be done to save you both time and money. Since they have multiple projects running parallely, they would use the services of a workman for only as much time as is required. The coordination of material supply and different workmen by one person keeps the project on track within the specified time. When you organise your interior work yourself you are at the mercy of the whims and fancies of the local workman and suppliers who might delay the process. Retail suppliers of materials cost a lot more than wholesalers do and you also have to pay for the cost of transporting and unloading the materials. They can actually help you get more bang for your buck by matching your budget to your expectations.
If you are on a tight schedule such as finishing the interiors before a wedding or some other such event, choosing to hire interior designer is the best way to go. The time that you save is definitely worth the investment.
Access To Variety And Qualified Vendors
When you do your interiors yourself, you rely on the pool of workmen and talent that are known or recommended to you. An interior designer, on the other hand, has ready access to a tried and tested team of talent who are the best at what they do. You can be assured that every part of your project will get the best of workmanship.
A layman has to rely on the judgement of the retailer as to the suitability and quality of materials used. The internet is a good source of feedback and reviews but there is no telling if you would be able to source the exact brand at your location. Once you have obtained the brand of material you prefer there is no guarantee that your local workmen will be able to use it.
An interior designer has access to a larger pool of materials and supplies than you would. You will have a bigger range of samples to choose from when working with a professional. There will be no guesswork or fear as to whether the actual product will work with your project since your interior designer will be able to advise you. Since a professional has direct access to the best vendors and suppliers you can be assured of quality materials being used. The choice of materials will also be more appropriate to the actual application and function of the product. It is the interior designer’s responsibility to have qualified people to work with the materials.
It is truly an achievement when you have created beautiful interiors yourself. Many spaces are a labour of love that have taken years to evolve to perfection. This is no small achievement and those who succeed have much to be proud of. When you have an interior designer associated with your property, the brand value of the designer enhances the value and desirability of your property. If you do list your property for resale or rent, this will be a great benefit to you. If you hire an interior designer, it gives your property major bragging rights.
Avoid Being Overwhelmed
While planning an interior redo looks simple on paper, it is a far more challenging task to execute. In addition to creativity and professional expertise, an interior designer brings with him/her a team of reliable people and supervisors. They can anticipate potential bottlenecks and problems and can fix them to work around them. You do not run the risk of being overwhelmed and can instead focus on saying yes or no to major decisions. You can then sit back and let the designer handle the stress of executing your vision. If you need to take time off work to oversee the work a small change of the interior work schedule can play havoc with your own work schedule. When a designer is in charge it is not your headache. You can get on with your life and make yourself available when necessary.
Stay Within The Budget
Contrary to the common perception of interior designers as people who spend lavish amounts of money on big brands, interior decorators are cost-conscious. When the scope and budget of a project are agreed upon and specified in the beginning the decorator works within the budget. It is possible that during the course of the work, some major issue or flaw of the building might be revealed that would need work. This is the exception rather than the norm and is totally out of the control of the designer.
When you do your renovation yourself it is easy to go over budget unless you are an extremely frugal and disciplined spender. It is easy to stray off budget when you are tempted by something that you ‘must-have’. The ‘must-haves’ tend to multiply and you might find yourself halfway through your project with the entire budget spent. An interior designer, on the other hand, can act as the voice of reason. A layman has access to all materials and supplies through the retail market. An interior designer might be able to suggest cheaper or more practical alternatives that are similar to what you have in mind.
How To Pick An Interior Designer
There are umpteen interior decorators in most parts of the country, so wondering how to pick an interior decorator or how to find an interior designer is not as important as picking the right one from the many choices available. Choosing an interior decorator who is the right fit for you is important. If you are wondering how to go about it, there are questions to ask an interior designer that help you better judge if you are making the right choice. Get these sensitive questions answered to your satisfaction before you choose an interior designer.
Has the interior designer worked on similar projects before?
Working with a designer who has a portfolio of similar projects is reassuring. It also helps to judge if the designer has a particular design type that they keep repeating or if each project is unique to the particular space it was designed for.
How much involvement and control will the client have?
Some designers prefer to be given a free hand once the design is approved while others encourage the client to be involved in every major decision along the way. Communication and an agreement on this point will prevent unhappiness later on.
How do you charge?
It is best to be very upfront and transparent about the financial aspects of a job. It is good to know exactly how a designer charges for a project. While the actual cost cannot be quoted without studying the scope of the project in its entirety, a designer should have a clear method of computing fees. The payment schedule and the milestones for each part of the work should be set out clearly.
How will the budget be handled?
It is important that the interior designer and the client be on the same page when it comes to budget management and payments. Will the client handle each payment based on invoices or will the designer take charge of the entire budget amount? If the designer handles the payments how transparent would the process be? What will the payment schedule be and will it be tied to project milestones?
How to hire an interior designer?
When you do choose a designer make sure that there is proper paperwork and documentation for the scope of the work with the costs, fees, time period and other aspects specified. A generic agreement or BOQ might save time in the beginning but leave you unprotected in case there is a disagreement later.
Do your part as a client by being very clear and specific about what exactly you want and what you do not want. The more you communicate with the interior designer at the beginning of the project, the easier it will be to create a concept that suits you well.
Cost Of Interior Design Services In India
The biggest fear that most people have about using the services of an interior designer is the apprehension that they are very expensive. The truth is that interior designers are very accessible to clients with different budgets. It is good to be upfront with a designer about your budget from the beginning. Designers have different ways of charging fees. You will have to ask and look till you find an interior designer whose services match your budget.
Some designers charge their clients a fixed percentage of the total cost of the entire project. This includes all aspects of the project including the materials and labour. This could vary from 5% to 15% of the total cost. For projects that need more technical expertise, the fee could go up to 20%. Do not hesitate to negotiate a favourable percentage.
Some designers charge per square foot of the carpet area of the space. This rate per square foot could be charged for the design only or for the execution of the entire project. The packages offered are individual to every designer.
Some designers add a markup or commission to every product that is used in the project as their fee.
Flat Fee or Lump Sum
Some designers are known to charge a fixed lump sum as their design fee. Most do not necessarily give a break up of what the fee entails. This may not be the best choice unless the designer is someone you trust and has high standing.
Getting the financial aspect right is an important factor in how to find an interior decorator that’s right for you. It is important for the interior designer and the client to specify and agree upon the type of fee calculation, the available budget, the estimated cost of the project, the fee amount charged and the payment schedule before starting the project to avoid conflicts later on.
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