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How do you know when you need an Interior Designer?

As design-savvy as we are, we all need help sometimes. Let's explore some situations where we can benefit from calling in the experts

Building and renovating can be fun and exciting, but can also create a great many challenges. When starting such an involved project, it’s important to collaborate with experts you can trust: builders, architects, tradies, bankers, mortgage specialists, etc. Interior designers are also among this pool of helpful experts, but they’re often considered a luxury and therefore overlooked in an attempt to cut costs. There are, however, a few occasions when an interior designer is crucial for a smoother experience, when they can also help you save money, time, energy and a lot of stress!

1. You are time-poor Many of us live crazy lives: our time is spent raising families, working one or two jobs, having a social life, spending quality time with loved ones, doing some good in our community, pursuing life goals – and sometimes we do all of that at the same time! What we’re often left with is little time to review plans, to think about the little details and to imagine how the new kitchen design you’re mulling over will impact your daily life. And that’s not even accounting for the time it takes to select the right finishes and colour palette, to source furniture and manage the entire project.

Whether you need some guidance in making executive decisions or you want a more comprehensive service, interior designers can jump in at any moment of your project and save you a great deal of time, and as a result, considerable stress. If you’re undergoing home renovations or an extensive building project, get an interior designer to work with you early on in the process. This will help you to go through all your ideas and plans together, to ensure the foundations of your design align well with what you want and who you are. Even if you don’t need an interior designer’s full services, but instead would like sporadic help as you go, having a professional by your side from the start will give you peace of mind. Knowing that you can delegate some decisions at any time if you feel rushed helps take the pressure off.

2. You lack design confidence You love interesting, bold design and are constantly inspired by what you see around you in everyday interiors you come across. But somehow, you just can’t seem to choose (and commit to) any colour scheme or new design piece. That’s when you need help.

A good interior designer will work to understand you. They will try to understand your tastes and your lifestyle, your home and its specific requirements. Then, they will take all of those elements into consideration and suggest a design that works on a practical and an aesthetic level, while pushing you a little (or a lot!) out of your comfort zone. At first, you might not totally embrace their recommendations. Sometimes my clients are nervous, yet intrigued – but that’s a good sign. Give it a bit of time. After a few days, you might find yourself totally in love with the proposal and that feeling will only grow once the recommendations are implemented and the room finished. If, however, after a few days you’re still not sold, talk to your designer; they should happily scale their design back until you feel more comfortable.

3. You have too many ideas and feel overwhelmed We live in a world of constant visual stimulation: magazines, TV shows, the internet, your local cafe, your morning walk, your office – interior design is everywhere! It can be a blessing, and it can be a curse because, while this stimulation can provide tons of inspiration, it can also result in total design overload. If your head is buzzing with hundreds of ideas and you find yourself constantly oscillating between a variety of styles, colours, materials, or even the general feel your aiming for, you might need some help.

It’s an interior designer’s job to help you get back on track.

4. It’s your forever home You’re not building a house with the view to sell it at some point. You’re building a house just for you, where your family will grow, your unique needs and wants will be catered for, and your personal history will be made day after day. It’s not a house that’s meant to please the majority of people – it’s your very own indulgence. We’re so used to thinking in terms of resale value and marketability that it’s sometimes difficult to know what would really work for us.

An interior designer will give you a unique perspective on you, your home and your lifestyle, as seen through their expert eyes. They will also make recommendations with the long term in mind, often steering you away from one-off trends and focusing instead on timeless design that reflects your personality and needs.

5. You and your partner just can’t agree. Renovations have been known to cause breakups (12 per cent of those asked admitted to considering a separation or divorcemid renovation),

because of the stress and strain the process can put on a relationship. Apparently, the main cause of tension is that the couple can’t agree on priorities, and their tastes are incompatible. These tensions can also slow down the renovation or building process, which causes even more tension. A while ago, I was contacted by a lovely couple who needed help with their bedroom. They couldn’t agree on anything for the room and as a result had been living for years with a hand-me-down broken bed and a bare light bulb. They felt so paralysed by their clashing tastes that they couldn’t make any decisions, and stayed with their inappropriate furniture until they called for me to help.

In such relationships, an interior designer acts as a mediator when it comes to house-related decisions. Because they’re not emotionally involved, they only use their professional knowledge when they make recommendations. An interior designer will listen to both parties and will also ensure that each person’s tastes and personality is addressed in the interiors. It’s a balancing act based on compromise and respect for the individuals within the relationship.

A successful design is one where both parties feel valued, comfortable and at home. And that’s also the key to a successful relationship.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK Have you ever hired an interior designer? Did you feel you benefited from their help, and would you ever consider hiring one again? Share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.

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