Hey Everyone: It looks like there's a buzz in the construction industry this spring, and I haven't seen so many "For Sale" signs in years. It's fun, and exciting and I couldn't be happier for all the wonderful showrooms, tradesmen and manufacturers that are starting to breathe comfortably again. I've missed my sometimes daily connections to them and the smiles on my clients' faces when they see the products and the workmanship.
After my MANY years of experience in the Interior Design biz, I am enjoying new products, new colors, and a feeling of confidence again.
Most of us need to watch how much we spend. My comment when talking to clients and prospective clients is always: "You'll get what you paid for – unless you are lucky or very careful". Three weeks ago, I chose a pair of living room chairs for a client on a budget. They are brand new and comfy for a few hundred dollars each. They won't get a ton of wear, and her expectations are very realistic. So why not buy them and treat them well?
You can't expect a BMW for the price of a '98 Tempo. Nothing's wrong with having to budget for less expensive items, just please don't think it's all the same. When you decorate a whole room for the price of a well-made-but-not-fancy sectional sofa, your cheaper sofa will likely feel lumpy sooner, the fabric will probably wear or fade a bit faster and it won't be worth re-doing it in 5 years when it starts to "go". But, if you're younger (or older), a 5-10 year plan may be all you want to rely on!
Most retail stores sell mid-priced or lower-priced items. Volume is important to them, especially if they warehouse pieces (like the aforementioned chairs). I've been exploring retailers again this year so that I can learn the products available for modest budgets. At all of these stores the sales personnel have been very eager to work with me and my clients. It's a lot of fun to work on a project that can be put together quickly and many of these stores are "cash and carry" or have short manufacturing times. Buying on line, another option can help you acquire mid-priced furnishings, too, but I wouldn't want to buy upholstery I can't sit on first. Some areas don't have the convenience of so many stores, showrooms and the Mart, but we do!
Over and over (and over) we've heard that as one industry gets busy, those salesmen, workers and artists will have more money which they'll then spend, increasing other people's coffers. This is how we keep each other going financially and (hopefully) everyone can have a bit more.
I've blogged before on accessorizing at my favorite outlets: Home Goods, Tuesday Morning and now Ross'. World Market is great and so is Pier 1. It's so important to complete what you start, so save some of your budget for (what I call) the "fun stuff". How about neighborhood craft fairs for decorative accessories? Those are the finishing touches that will personalize you place.
Please don't be afraid to call a professional designer for help either. Most of us can do a bang-up job on a budget. Some designers won't work with retailers, others will. Stores have designers/decorators, but remember that they are tied to selling what they represent.
Maybe ask a designer to help choose new paint colors – I’ve done that kind of consultation many times. Or hire someone to arrange (or rearrange) furniture, art, accessories you already own. That’s another half-day project that I have done: put all the stuff on the kitchen or dining table and them put everything back—often in a new place!
It’s time to get started on a new project and enjoy it!
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