Many of the clients I work with have never hired an interior decorator. I think the idea of working with a decorator for the first time can be intimidating for a variety of reasons and I try to help my clients feel relaxed throughout the process. I have a few thoughts that I think can really help you make the most out of working with a decorator and help make the experience both positive and fun.
Reality TV is not real.
I think HGTV has given us all the illusion that buying, renovating, or redecorating a home is both easier and cheaper than it actually is. Projects that take months in real life are squeezed into a half hour program and often budgets don’t include the price of contractors or sponsored items from furniture companies. These shows are fun to watch but they most often don’t offer any real insight into the actual process and costs. On that note, it’s so helpful for you and your decorator if you can…
Be realistic about your budget.
When you decorate your home yourself, it’s usually done over many years and may include some pieces that were inherited or bought on sale. Using a decorator usually means buying many new and often custom pieces all at once. If you added up the cost of every single thing in your living room, you’d probably find that the total amount far exceeds what you might have thought. A good decorator will give you guidance and options to help you stay within your budget. A good decorator will also let you know if your budget is too small to achieve the look and the quality that you want.
Decorators know where spend.
Your decorator knows that certain things in your home are worth spending money on. Good upholstery that can take a beating from pets, kids, and red wine. A show-stopping piece of art that totally makes the space. A beautiful piece of art by an emerging artist. I firmly believe that a beautiful space is a mix of high and low. If your decorator chooses a pricier fabric, it’s because she or he knows the value it brings to the room. To stay on budget, your decorator might then choose lower priced lamps or end tables. It’s all about the big picture!
Know what you like. And don’t like.
Whether it’s Pinterest boards or pages from a magazine, it’s so helpful to have some ideas in hand before calling a decorator. Do you have to have your style nailed down? Not at all. Part of our job can be helping you to figure that out. But knowing your likes and dislikes can save us time and save you money. Even if its not something tangible but simply the “mood” and “feel” of a space. And don’t be afraid to speak up if your decorator offers up something you don’t like. This is a service based business and our end goal is always to create personal spaces that our clients love and feel comfortable in.
It ain’t easy.
Realize that if designing and decorating a home were easy, everyone would be doing it! It can appear easy these days when so much is available with one click and designer product lines are popping up everywhere. But we’re doing loads of work behind the scenes to help our clients create the illusion that their homes just happen to look effortlessly fabulous! We’re measuring )and measuring again!) creating space plans, ordering and tracking products, returning things that aren’t up to standard, choosing the exact shade of blue to go with your grandmother’s rug, finding the perfectly sized sofa to fit in an awkwardly shaped room…all of this takes time and lots of it. This time translates into the decorator’s fees, whether those fees are hourly or per project.
Trust your decorator.
There’s an element of trust in any service based industry and the decorator/client partnership is particularly intimate. We’re inside of your homes for an extended amount of time, often forming a relationship that you don’t necessarily have with your landscaper or mechanic. So you need to like and trust us without reservation. Please speak up if there’s something you don’t understand, whether it involves billing or that zebra print wallpaper that you definitely aren’t feeling for the powder room. A good decorator should be able to give you a timeline for the project, explain how she or he charges and explain the process step-by-step.
Have any questions? Please feel free to call, email or ask in the comments.
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