How to find the right interior designer for your home

InteriorsImage Credit: Supplied

The female lead in a 2005 Hollywood film notably remarked, “Homes are for free expression, not for good impression.” We beg to differ, slightly. Free expression, yes. Good impression, oh yes!

How is it possible? Finding the right interior designer or decorator, of course. The difference between the two lies primarily in their scope of activity and formal qualifications. While an interior designer may have extensive educational qualifications and degrees, a decorator, more often than not, has attended basic courses in color design and planning. Either way, the most important credential in this field is experience. Here is a step-by-step guide to finding a good match for your needs:

Assess your needs – What needs to be done? Is it one area or the entire house? Are structural changes involved, or is it more about a change of mood or theme? In case of the former, an architect has to be involved before the designer makes his entry. Is there a tight timeline? How defined are your own personal preferences? This will determine whether the designer or decorator will work with specific preferences or will have freer rein.

Go shopping – References from those in the know and friends come in handy when approaching a professional to come into your living space and transform it. Because of the nature of the relationship, being sagacious and taking your time to find a good match is worth the struggle. Points to consider include how willing the designer is to listen, how much he will cost (including what the exact fee structure looks like, e.g. flat fee, cost of materials, subcontractor manpower payments, etc.), what his portfolio looks like and whether or not he has experience in small-scale projects.

Get your reading glasses out – Pour over the contract and fine print to ensure you are going into the relationship with all the facts and insure yourself against unpleasant and/or unexpected surprises during the course of the remodeling.

Handy Hints
• The choice of an interior designer or decorator depends on your project scope
• When structural changes are involved, architects recommend interior designers
• A good interior designer assesses your needs and presents a workable budget

Source: Bushra Hameduddin, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer


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