Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Ask an expert: Is an interior designer worth the investment?
Margaret Chambers busts myths for homeowners on the interior decor fence.
By Margaret Chambers
In this world of HGTV and do-it-yourself reality shows, many homeowners may have the misperception that hiring an interior designer is not valuable. And while there is a range of interior designers doing business, the benefits of hiring a skilled, recognized and certified ASID interior designer will have big dividends for the homeowner in the long run. Be on the lookout for unskilled, amateur “decorators” who lack training and certification.
Let’s go through some of the most common myths about hiring an interior designer.
Myth #1 – It’s too expensive! Unless you are decorating a college dorm room or a first apartment, you are likely creating a home you will want to occupy and enjoy for years – or even decades – to come. An interior designer can ensure that you make no mistakes when securing furniture, draperies, or wall coverings, and art. Not only can an interior designer ensure the space is well planned, but we have access to the highest quality and best value resources that are only available to trade professionals. These include showrooms in the design and market centers, custom furniture makers, drapery and upholstery workrooms, and various contractors. We will even plan your home to last through the different phases your family will see in the next five, ten or fifteen years and be able to help you envision how each room will convert to accommodate the changes.
Myth #2 – I can invest in the bricks and mortar. The furniture and decoration is less important: Ask any Realtor, and they will tell you that a well-staged home will sell faster and at a higher asking price than a comparable home that is vacant or poorly decorated. Also, if you purchase mass produced furnishings and decorations, they will depreciate in value immediately. However, custom furniture, antiques, and original artwork will increase in value over time. For some clients, furniture pieces have tripled in value since we originally placed them in their homes. An interior designer can help you navigate which pieces can be included to increase in value and which ones will work to complete the overall look of your home.
Myth #3 – The designer will impose his or her taste on me: While some interior designers are known for their signature designs or style, a degreed, certified ASID designer will have a much broader design palette. For example, we spend a great deal of time getting to know our clients’ personalities, their tastes, their likes and dislikes. It is critical that our end result look like our client’s home… not ours. If you have a question, take a look at the designer’s previous work portfolio and observe the flow of the first few meetings. Is he/she asking you lots of questions? Did he/she give you homework to go look for your favorite designs and photos? Or is he/she spending the majority of the meeting trying to push a look on you? When you see the first diagrams, can you envision this being your home and a good reflection of your personality, or your designer’s?
Myth #4 – Hiring an interior designer will take more time: Yes, there will be some time invested in the beginning to get to know your taste and have design concepts and fabrications approved; however, mistakes are much more costly from both a time and money perspective. Working with contractors also can take lots of time, and an interior designer can alleviate that burden for you. We know how to orchestrate all the different elements, so that they arrive at your home ready to move in and be enjoyed. We can give you a realistic time frame that is incredibly accurate because we have done this many, many times.
Myth #5 – It’s just interior design… it can’t be that hard, can it? The average homeowners will design two to three homes in their lifetime. We have designed hundreds of homes for clients over the years, and our primary job is to stay current on the leading edge of trends to ensure the designs we create remain as timeless as they can. Even if you regularly read architectural and design magazines, the trends they showcase actually were on the leading edge months ago… maybe years. If you find a design you like, we can put the freshest eye on it to ensure we are not repeating trends that have passed. Concerning complexity, there are thousands of decisions that must be made when designing the average home, and we make these on behalf of our clients every day and know how to do this most efficiently and effectively to maximize the investment.
In the end, an interior designer can save money, time and spare you the headaches of unforeseen mistakes or outdated elements. Because when it comes to the house that your family will call home for years to come, this is not the time to be penny-wise and pound foolish. Let us help you create a safe, durable, and stylish home.
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Margaret Chambers is an award-winning designer at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc.