Make Your New Home Experience Easy – Work With An Interior Designer
So you bought a new house, congratulations! Now as she begins to unpack and look around her, her thoughts are where do I start? Call a designer. Let’s start by dispelling the myth that you need to be “rich” to hire a designer. There are many ways to work with a designer/decorator on your decorating projects. Before you call a professional interior designer, make a list of questions and concerns you may have. Next, make a “wish list” of everything you’d like to have in your new home.
Decide on your budget, and come up with a real budget, then call several designers to see their work, talk to them, see if any friends can recommend a designer, and go with the one you feel most comfortable with since you’ll be working together for a while.
Ask in advance about the rates and services provided. If your budget cannot accommodate a full-time designer, ask about hourly rates. Hourly rates work well if you feel you have a “good eye” and just need guidance. If not, you can work from room to room. A good tip is to start in the most used room in your home, the family room, fill it out, and continue from there. This not only finishes a room completely, but also allows you to review your designers’ work. Another note, don’t be afraid to question your choice of designer/decorator. It’s still your home and you still have the last word, but also listen to your professional interior designer or decorator, you hired them, listen to them.
If you decide to hire an interior designer, have a plan of action. Get the clutter out of the way first. Begin with a proposal for any construction changes, electrical changes or additions, plumbing changes, siding removal, speaker and surround sound additions, hard floor installations, and trim to be added. Now, after cleaning up all the mess, it’s time to have some real fun.
Have your designer start with a scaled floor plan of furniture placement, also known as space planning. This will only show the location of the furniture. With a scale, the interior designer can tell you precisely the sizes and walk-through areas that will be needed and available. A material board must then be submitted to show all fabrics, wall finishes, furniture finishes, actual photos of the furniture you are proposing to use, draperies and window treatments, and a detailed proposal. Now, after all this place, there should be no surprises.
The entrance or vestibule is the calling card for you and your home, so pay special attention when planning this space. The feeling when you enter a house will say a lot about what to expect in the rest of the house. If you are more laid back have a smart but casual vibe in the lobby, if you are looking for something dramatic go for the “WOW” factor. Either way, let the foyer be warm and comfortable.
Moving on to the living room and dining room. If you’re not entertaining formally, think of another use for these areas. Many people think that because these areas are dedicated to “living and dining areas” they need to use them accordingly, this is not the case. It seems like a waste of time, let alone the expense, of furnishing these rooms to look pretty, and just walking by and looking. Use these areas by thinking outside the box. Would you use a pool table instead of a dining table, a home theater instead of a formal living room? They do it. At first, guests may be taken aback by how you used their space, but rest assured, they’ll reconsider the space when they leave.
Usually the last room to be completed is the master bedroom, and I don’t know why. I like to think of this room as the most important “hiding place”. The master bedroom is the most intimate room in the house. It must reflect your true self! Nothing is more relaxing and welcoming than a master bedroom that has all the comforts and necessities one could ask for. Please take your time planning this area as the master bedrooms are not changed very often and again I don’t know why. Take pictures of other rooms, items, and furniture that you would love to have and give them to your designer. His job is to introduce you to your very own “Dream Bedroom”. Pay special attention to light control in this area, especially if you need “blackout” conditions to rest, and don’t forget a seating area if your room will accommodate it.
Moving on to the secondary rooms of your home. Think, think, think! How many guest rooms do you want or need? Can any of these dedicated rooms be used for exercise equipment or a home office? Again, think outside the box in terms of utilizing your space. It’s your space, you paid for it, you use it. If you need extra sleeping space from time to time, consider using a sofa bed or rollaway beds. With the comfort level of today’s sleeper sofas or the added storage and functionality of a Murphy bed, this could be your answer. If you decide to use a room as a guest room only, consider using 2 single beds with a night stand in the middle. This will not only accommodate single guests, but can also bring them together for a couple. The cost factor is lower and the function is doubled.
Finally, the Kitchen and Family rooms. This, as everyone knows, is the heart and soul of the home. No matter how many rooms you have or how big your house is, have you ever tried to drive your guest away from your kitchen? We both know the answer is YES! To correct this situation, in addition to trying a velvet rope divider, add as many bar stools around the perimeter of your kitchen as possible. This will give your family members and guests a cozy kitchen, feel down to earth, but keep them out of your way. You may have to motion for them to take a seat, but eventually they’ll get the hint, MOVE! In your family room, again accommodate as many seats as possible. If you need to add extra seating by the TV, but for conversation the chairs need to face a different direction, consider swivel chairs. The chairs are available in a variety of styles, in both fabrics and leathers, and they usually work.
In closing, these are basic guidelines to follow whether you hire a designer or not. There will always be exceptions to every rule, but don’t be afraid to try something new. A basic start could be with paint. If you hate how it looks, just paint over it. Keep it simple, easy and enjoy. The International Design House philosophy, “We beautify the world, one room at a time.”