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  • Lisa Christie

How to use Professional Interior Design Services Effectively...


Recently I have been working with some amazing people doing some dramatic interior design transformative work. Over the years I have noticed that some of my clients use professional services very well while others don't fully understand the process and how to take full advantage of the opportunities. If you want to get the full shabang out of professional services, here's a nuts and bolts guide to making the most.

These principles apply to utilising the services of an Interior Designer but can apply to just about any professional service. Read on, it might be handy for future reference whenever you are hiring a professional.

1.TAKE A PROPER BUSINESS APPROACH

• Take responsibility and don't become a victim.

• Know with whom you are doing business.

• Anyone can call themselves an “Interior Designer” no matter what their qualifications are, check them out thoroughly!

• Make sure you have a referral or that your designer has lots of experience.

2. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS:

• Have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and brief your designer carefully.

• Find similar examples of what you are looking for so that you can properly communicate any specific preferences.

• Ask yourself: do you really need professional help?

• Can you afford the time and money it will take?

3.CHECK THEIR QUALIFICATIONS:

• Ask them if they are a “Qualified Interior Designer”.

• How long have they been practicing as an interior designer and how long have they worked in the local area?

• Do they have any interior design education and did they properly graduate?

4.CHECK THEIR WORK:

• Check Testimonials and call references.

• Look at recent work done.

• Look for portfolios of their work and be familiar with their style. Make sure that they have a professional web site.

5.ESTABLISH A BUDGET:

• Do not start a project without establishing a budget!

• Make sure your budget for the work includes all the design fees, taxes, delivery charges, and other costs, so you don’t end up over-spending.

• Pay all contractors directly.

6.PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED:

•Things you want are not always available. They may take longer to obtain than anticipated and may cost more so be sure to allow for this in your budgeting.

• When demolishing existing interiors, surprises can be found that will take longer and can cost more. Establish a contingency fund for the unexpected.

• Delays on a project can cost more - have a contingency plan.

• Be prepared to compromise, to keep the project moving along on time and on budget.

• Listen to the design professional who will guide you through the process if you need support.

7.BE AWARE OF THE TRAUMA OF RENOVATING:

• When planning a renovation with your designer, remember - you live or work there – a good designer will keep your personal preferences in mind! This can avoid trauma and help to achieve a less stressful renovation.

• If you need to move out temporarily and can do so, you should!

• If you can’t move out temporarily, prepare for being overwhelmed if the work is extensive. Dust, noise, lots of people in the way! Be realistic.

• Don’t get in the way, and don’t supervise too much, let tradespeople do their work uninterrupted.

• Use your designer, they will advise you to help get you through this.

8.LISTEN TO THE PROFESSIONAL:

• Remember, you hired a professional interior designer, so listen to them.They have experience and visualisation skills that only comes with lots of experience and practice.

• If you don’t like what they are telling you, or the designs they are showing you, it may be a communication issue, you should discuss this with your designer and try to get the project back on track.

• The designer should communicate with only you! One contact ensures clean lines of communication and clear outcomes. Don’t let other people pass opinions or communicate with your designer. This could throw the project off track and change the result.

•Don’t ask your family and friends for their opinion on design or colour choices as the project progresses. This can confuse you and can affect your focus or put you off track... Family and friends can often have different preferences and tastes to yourself and this has the potential to undo the designer’s work, or you might get things you don’t want. Either way it will end up taking more time and costing more.

•Tradespeople are great at carrying out their own trade, they have no formal qualifications in design. They may have opinions or pass comment on the design but always have faith in your designer's advice and stay on track.

•It’s important that you don’t change your mind on selections or lose your nerve when you are half way through a renovation - this can often have an effect on other choices that were made which can in turn be detrimental to the outcomes.

9.KEEP AN OPEN MIND

•Don’t let old habits form part of your new design decisions. Try to remain open minded at all times and consider all the options even if they differ from your previous home or business premises. Remember that every property has its own features and benefits and a good designer will point out opportunities.

•A new property is often a great reason to explore new and exciting ideas. Let your designer take you a little outside your comfort zone...you’ll be pleased with the WOW factor that this achieves.


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Visual Edge is your colour consultant for Dulux, Inspirations Paint & Colour & Bunnings Warehouse  in the Mid North Coast region.

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