With so many new services for interior decorating and design help, I've heard a LOT of discussion about the question whether or not to hire an interior designer. How do you know which avenue is best? Where is the best place to hire them from and how do you know if you are making the right decision? All very valid questions. I'll do my best today to try and answer these, but one thing I know for sure... the old saying "you get what you pay for".
I've seen so many home tours on some pretty major style websites and I just think to myself, everybody's home looks the same. With just a few personal twists, most of the house tours I see are just a repetitive version of the ones last month. I've noticed that even my own clients, send me things that they found on instagram in someone else's home and they want this or that. Drives me crazy. When I see a space that I love, I know its done by a designer, or someone who is professionally trained in the field. It's a standout space that actually looks like the pages of a magazine and here's why. . .
1. It's formally functional. You can always tell a home was planned out by a professional because of the spacing and layout. Take this living room for example. The spacing and placement of the furnishings, artwork, lighting, etc. It's symmetrical, the legs are all the furniture mimic each other, the coffee table is the right height and size, the rug is actually the right fit for the space, the art on the left mimics the windows/doors on the right. When it comes to form and function, a designer always does things harmoniously.
2. The mix makes sense. Mixing metallics, furniture styles, colors, etc. I once had a client, who hired one of the "designers" who was a sales person at a large retail store. She claimed to be an experienced designer and he told her he wanted something unique and cool for his formal dining room. For months, something about it didn't feel right to him but it looked like a nice dining room. He hired me for a second opinion and when I walked in I gasped with fear. In this dining room was a cement table (that was actually meant for outdoors), plastic chairs (also meant for outdoor dining), a rug that was also plastic and a light fixture that clearly was meant for a kitchen bar. While the look was cool and the style of the each piece was hip and trendy, the furniture made ZERO sense in the space. Why would anyone want to dine in outdoor plastic chairs on a hard cement table when the home was meant to be cozy and comfortable? This may "look cool" in a showroom, but makes absolutely no sense in a home. (By the way, this guy spent a LOT of money on those items and had an enormous, beautiful home and thought he was hiring a designer...which leads me to my next point)
3. A professional assessment. When you are shopping for a designer/decorator to work on your home, you want to make sure you are getting the right information. Pay for a proper consultation. Don't skimp out and try to get decor advice for free. That's what blogs and Pinterest are for. You want someone to help with the overall layout, look and feel of your home, you want it to make sense. You're not going to get proper advice by just asking for tips here and there. I have seen so many homes that have a very mismatched vibe. Your home is your sanctuary and you want it to nurture your lifestyle and family, not drain you. A professional will be able to come in and let you know what's working and what isn't, when the lighting is off, when the placement isn't functional, etc.
4. You will save money! If you pay for a designer, here are a few things you might miss out on. Accidentally paying too much for something, when you can get the same thing for half the cost at another place, ordering the wrong size, fabric or wallpaper, wasting money on a random electrician who drops & breaks your chandelier (yes this happened to my friend!), choosing wall colors that don't give the feel you want, buying furniture that doesn't fit in the space, I could go on and on. Typically designers have experienced most of the mistakes for you and know ahead of time, the right way to go. You want experienced people working on your home so you can save money from making the wrong mistakes. Trust me, they happen! I have been the designer to come in and clean up the mess of somebody else's mistakes and they can be pretty costly.
5. The bad guy. Let's face it, when you are renovating or working on a home (especially your first time), you want someone who will ask the right questions and fight for you. Contractors, electricians, inspectors and the like can be pretty intimidating. It's really nice to have a middle man (your designer) who can ask questions for you, get things done for you and generally be the "bad guy" and stand up on your behalf. Many of my clients are so nice and hate to ask for more than what they are given. A designer will do that for you. I once had a wallpaper installer tell my client "this or that can't be done", then I came in, asked the right questions and it was done.
6. Unique ideas. A designer is going to come up with things you wouldn't normally think of. Like this picture above. How many people would turn an empty nook like this into a chic little vanity? It was a clever move and not something you would normally think of. Designers will be able to come up with unique solutions for your home and again, with the ability to avoid costly mistakes. The more unique the space, the cooler it is, this is why you want a designer who gets your personality. Tip: Don't just hire any designer! Have a meeting or lunch, see how you get along with that person. They need to "get you".
7. Increase your value. A good designer will have the ability to turn your home into a space ready for a magazine or showcase. Here's the thing, there is a big difference when it comes to decorating a home stylishly and one that is decorated properly for photography. If you know you are going to sell your home in a few years, you want it designed for resale at some point. You are going to need stellar photos to help sell your home and there are specific ways to enhance your home for photography. These things designers know. If this is the case, try asking a real estate agent for the name of a designer in your area, they typically will have fantastic & dependable resources.
8. Get more sleep. Check off all those things that you don't get around to doing in the home off of your list. A designer/decorator will be the person who will get things done like frame that art that's been sitting there forever, make sure that leak gets fixed, know the right person to install or fix that light, stock up your home where guests will be delighted with what you have, and ultimately probably have your bed so well done and comfortable you'll sleep better than if you had thrown it together yourself.
I am the biggest believer in having a home that works well is THE KEY to a successful life. I talk about it a little bit more in my past posts here and here. When your home is organized, pulled together, makes sense and there is a place for everything, chances are things in your life are working well.
The reason behind this post was because I came across this beautiful home designed by Stacey Cohen. It's so cool and hip and like nothing I have seen in a while. A good designer will push boundaries, try new looks and give you something unique and fit for a magazine. It's a totally eclectic glamour vibe and I can't help but want to shop for some accents that would work perfectly in any space to give more of this vibe...