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  • Lisa Christie

EVERYONE is an Interior Designer - how do you find one that knows their stuff?


It seems like everyone these days is calling themselves a decorator or interior designer. But how do you separate the best from the rest? Often your designers vast experience is what you capitalise on....always find out if he/she has plenty of design time up their sleeve. Naturally formal qualifications are important too; be sure that your design advice is coming from a solid background of knowledge and experience. Here's a few thought provoking ideas for those of you who might be considering the services of a designer. Understand what your professional designer does to make the service worthwhile...

1. THEY IDENTIFY AND RESPOND TO DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES

Sometimes the best plan is to be open to change the plan. Decision making can sometimes limit the final result. Designers will point out opportunities and give you choices then work with you to pull it all together.

2. THEY FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE AS MUCH AS THE DETAILS

Design is really about understanding a problem, or a goal. Then it’s about testing the solutions, and refining the options to find the most appropriate solution.

A good interior designer will balance the detail while still keeping their eyes on the big picture.

Perfection is a series of small things done really well. So the designer and client need to keep their “eyes on the prize”.

3. THEY GET ALL UP IN YOUR GRILL – BUT IN A GOOD WAY

A good interior designer will invade your personal spaces a bit... trying to figure out not only what you think you want but also what you need. Its important that your designer gets to know you and personalize each project to each clients own needs.

We negotiate the various ideas and merge them into harmony. Sometimes, with respect, I will set the client’s brief aside, and check what is good for the space, room, or overall house. (Sometimes, unwittingly, clients ask for something that may not be ideal for the space.)

4. THEY MAKE YOU A BRAVER DECORATOR THAN YOU’D EVER BE WITHOUT THEIR HELP!

A designer is part cheerleader, part motivational coach. We encourage our clients to be brave and question conventional thinking. The goal is to achieve a personal space that’s perfect for how YOU live. It isn’t about recreating a space you saw in a magazine

5. THEY CAN SEE INTO THE FUTURE.

A designer is part clairvoyant. They see things that aren’t there… yet! They see the all the possibilities and have a good idea of current styles, what's now and what's going to date more quickly.

6. THEY KNOW A GOOD KITCHEN DESIGN CATERS TO THE PERSON WHO USES IT

This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many people don’t consider the end user. Is your kitchen for an investment property or for a family home? Is yours a “family roast” kind of kitchen, or a “toast and Berocca” galley?

Is your kitchen about producing comfort food, cupcakes, or fine dining? The bachelor’s kitchen might be fun and glam but it’s the kitchen you have when you’re not really cooking. He needs a turbo coffee machine, a microwave, and some serious gas for the stir-fry.

To design the perfect kitchen you need to think about what you’re cooking. Also, how do the chefs work in your kitchen? These things determine how much space you need to pass each other, what size appliances, and how much storage is required, and how to arrange the floor plan. Practicality has to be a high priority.

7. THEY HELP YOU DESIGN A HOME TO SUIT YOUR FAMILY NOW – AND IN THE FUTURE

Interior designers get to know the needs of your family now and in the future. They help you design and organise your home life around who you are and how you like to live, and what you do.

They understand that you need to make the building fit your family, not the other way round, particularly if you’re doing a new build or a substantial reno.

For example, if you have young kids then level access to the garden will probably be important. On the other hand, older teenagers and still-at home grown-ups will need separate spaces.

Looking at plans with your designer could be pivotal in a great final result. Remember a good designer has excellent lateral thinking skills and may come up fresh ideas.

8. THEY KNOW WELL-DESIGNED HOMES ARE THEY KEY TO LIVING WELL

Everyone knows life is full of compromises but good interior designers make sure the main space of your home is not sacrificed in a redesign. They create a design that ensures the heart of the home is a light, open area in which to cook, eat, live and be social.

Cheat on bedroom sizes, even bathrooms, to shift the balance of space to where it will be used 24/7. Adequate storage and utility rooms take the pressure off the main living spaces so make this a priority.

9. THEY CONSIDER HOW THEY CAN IMPROVE THE RESALE VALUE OF YOUR HOME, WHILE MAKING YOUR HOME WORK FOR YOU NOW

The typical improvements made during a renovation should be adequate to ensure a good sale.

Good designers help you make the kitchen, bathrooms and landscaping what you want them to be, not what you perceive some unknown future buyer might want and definitely not a bland beige box for fear that a future buyer might be colour phobic.

Your family home makes your lifestyle great so don’t miss out!

10. A GOOD DESIGNER SAVES YOU TRUCK LOADS OF MONEY! $$$$

Die hard users of Interior Design services all say the same....that their designer saves them money by suggesting strategies to save money and achieve a better outcome all at the same time and help to define the project's 'money well spent' elements while advising on elements that don't provide good bang for buck.

Yes, it all flies in the face of the usual perception of a designer being a service enjoyed by the rich and famous! Haha.

Well not any more....Interior Design services are now an essential part of any new build or renovation and a wide cross section of people utilise our services these days. People are too busy to make their own selections and many feel that the myriad of choices available now makes the selection process worrying. (Sleepless nights get the better of them).Others need to boost their confidence by working side by side with a professional and some people have partners that they simply can't agree with and need their designer to mediate and use design theory to help with the decision making process.

So there it is....now go get em!


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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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