Do I need a Professional Designer for my project?
If you are making minor changes or investments in your home, office or whatever you are re-doing, you may not need a Designer. Store personnel might be all the help you need to make appropriate selections. For offices, there are showrooms and dealers that can provide experienced sales help. For a complete project that should include brand new ideas, I would suggest someone that might be able to make a number of feasible solutions. A Design Pro should save you from making mistakes.
Chances are if you are asking yourself (or me), you should look for a Design Pro.
What will it cost me to hire a Design Pro?
Check out this previous blog post (click!). The level of experience, professionalism and your geographic location can all affect the cost of a Designer. – HOWEVER – I can Promise that you working with most Designers will save you expenses on so many aspects of the project that they essentially “pay for themselves”; they can prevent you from making costly mistakes. And, never underestimate the amount of time hiring a professional will save you! It's impossible for me to guess how many hours you can save with an experienced guide through all the upcoming decision-making.
How do I find the right person?
You can look up Designers in your area on the ASID (American Institute of Interior Design) web site (ASID Illinois.com has “Find a Designer” with portfolios), check out Interior Designer Pro.org, and some other web sites OR, ask around. I have a web site, as do most Designers. It’s Amazing how much the web site presentation varies as much the design work shown varies. Remember that most of the time a Designer will have more projects than are shown on their site. I couldn’t begin to include them all!
Talk to Designers you might want to work with and look at photos of what they have done. Don’t expect that you will get a design scheme for free or any free connection to their resources (could happen, but not likely). Designers do (and should) protect their contacts. Many of these vendors and providers won’t sell directly to the consumer without a specific recommendation from a Designer.
Please check on a Designer’s education and certification. You can call yourself a “Designer” and have no more qualifications than a good experience decorating your own home. Illinois has State Registration (Certification) for Interior Designers. To be registered you have to pass a National Qualification exam. A design education background is needed to take that 2-day exam.
What should I expect from my Designer?
After evaluating what you will need and you will re-use, you will be getting presentations of layouts and materials selections. Again, you will have to define who will be purchasing items for the project . An experienced Designer can likely put together a team for your project to make it go smoothly. That can include an architect, contractor and specialized vendors for kitchens, appliances, carpeting and flooring, furniture, lighting, painting, window coverings – an endless list. The Designer will purchase and the General Contractor will likely buy things – if you have one and you might be purchasing certain things yourself. Delivery and installation will be overseen by the Designer. My clients also have the option of having me work with them on art and accessories selections and acquisition. (LOVE it.)
What if I decide to go the DIY (Do It Yourself) route – or want to work with a limited budget?
There are tools and books and sources –online and off if you want to take on your own project. Some of the stores, showrooms and resource personnel will work with you, but many of them don’t have the ability (time-wise) to hold your hand through the process. It’s not going to be just like HGTV. Sorry. I have quoted a fellow Designer’s quote before: “If we had an unlimited budget and 30 workmen at a time, we could finish a project as fast as they do on TV”.
One idea which is sort of in-between is to find a Design Pro that will help you with a “limited scope” project. I’ve created a link on my web site for a Quick Consultation and there are web sites like “DesignMyApartment.com” and “RoomDesignInABox.com” that are part of a sensible new wave of Design businesses that can get you started with a real Designer affordably. By the way, I know the creators of these two web sites, so I that they are real Pros!
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