Whether your interior design project is residential design, commercial, retail or hospitality, hiring an interior designer is the first essential step for the success of your project.
Your Interior Designer is on Your team.
When you engage an Interior Designer directly, they are a client side designer. This means they are on your side for the entire project, ensuring your interests are maintained from the planning stage all the way through to completion. Your designer knows your project back to front and inside out; they will often pick up any discrepancies (or even products that the builder has substituted) on site during construction which can then be addressed before they become major issues. I’ve seen feature curved ceilings that the builder has built straight, cabinetry installed with cheaper fittings substituted for the specified ones, doors fitted with the wrong handles…..
Quality control is essential; ensure you engage your Interior Designer for the construction phase of the project. They will be able to advise on a suitable level of engagement at this stage to ensure the process runs smoothly. These can include:
- Site visits & site meeting attendance
- Review of Cabinetry & custom work shop drawings
- Responding to contractors RFI’s (Requests for Information)
- Attendance upon nearing completion to arrange furnishings, and direct the installation of fixtures & fittings
- Defects inspection & defects report
An Interior Designer who pays to play.
Your Interior Designer pays to play. I pay to stay in the Australian and International design loop by attending design events, workshops & seminars, researching and staying on top of design trends around the world. This allows me to give my clients access to a strong network of local & international manufacturers, suppliers & contractors. With a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, I’m also qualified Registered Building Practitioner, with training in environmentally sustainable design, and an Associate Member of the Design Institute of Australia (2019).
You’ll probably need a Building Permit.
If your project is in Australia and requires a Building Permit, then you’ll need a qualified Interior Designer, who is also a Registered Building Practitioner. If you go directly to a builder, you’ll still likely end up paying for a contract draftsperson through your builder (including an additional markup fee on top of that designers cost, which can often be anywhere between 10 – 30%); bearing in mind that this contractor will not be a client side designer. This means that they work for the builder; they will be looking after the builders interests before they consider yours.
Solve your unique problem.
You may have a design dilemma or a unique problem that requires considerion of different options and careful planning to overcome. For example, renovating a very small bathroom requires more than just swapping the old fixtures, finishes and fittings with new; an entirely different layout may be necessary to make the best use of space.
Your designer will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, &/or meet with you to take a thorough brief. This stage and the planning and design process afterwards will give you the opportunity to carefully think of your lifestyle, needs and wish list. You’ll think of things you had not considered before. Your designer will provide ideas and solutions that you may not have considered.
You don’t want a bog-standard cookie cutter approach.
Your Interior Designer has access to a wider range of resources than the general public has available. Unique paint finish options, natural floor timber ranges, quality broadloom carpets that are one step above those available at retailer, fabrics and furnishings that are not available through retail shops.
Your designer will select elements that suit your budget, taste and lifestyle to curate a more unique & pulled together end result.
Saves you money.
Hire an interior designer to avoid costly mistakes: have you ever bought as sofa that is too large for the room? An area rug that doesn’t fit the lounge suite? Painted a wall the wrong colour? Selected a finish that is high-maintenance? Do it right the first time: hire a designer with the capability of providing 3D designs, elevations and perspectives of your project so you can be sure you are happy with the conceptual design before it’s built, as well as allowing you to understand overall design & documentation package without having to be an expert at reading architectural drawings and specifications.
Your Interior Designer is very used to working with a line item budget & will understand where every cent goes in your project. As the saying goes – you can’t have champagne on a beer budget – and it’s just as true of interior design.
Your designer will provide you with sound advise so you can decide where you want to spend – such as do you want to spend more to install the bathroom tiles with epoxy grout, knowing that it will provide a more durable & more easily cleaned finish in the long term? Your designer will coordinate power outlets with furnishings and finishes so they are installed in the right location the first time; avoiding patching & repainting walls because the power outlets don’t coordinate with the bedside tables. Your designer can advise on potential items to reuse, recover or refurbish. Some Interior Designers can provide access to trade discounts up to 10 – 40% with suppliers for furnishings and fixtures.
Save yourself time & effort.
Your Interior Designer knows where to go for products, will either have the relevant information on hand to help you with your design dilemmas, or will do the research so that you don’t have to. Most good designers have a comprehensive library of samples & catalogues available and on hand at a moments notice. They have a network of architectural representatives that they can call on for more hard to get or customised options, and can generally access larger & free samples of bench top materials, floorings, paint colours, fabrics, etc. than members of the general public can obtain. You Interior Designer will get the hard work done so you have more time to do other things that interest you.
Your Qualified Liaison.
Your Interior Designer collaborates with your architect &/or engineers and builder to provide a fully coordinated design package that takes into account the interior & furniture layout, built in cabinetry, floor finishes, wall finishes and ensures that these are coordinated with structural, electrical, fire/emergency, hydraulic and air-conditioning services the an help the architect/builder. In larger projects which involve multiple consultants, such as kitchen, access & mobility consultants, landscaping, building surveyors, this becomes particularly important. Your Interior is the go-between for you & your builder/architect/engineer early in the planning process to integrate & avoid missing any elements. An interior designer knows that strong communication paths with these consultants is essential to a successful project; they can take the same language with consultants and contractors. Your designer knows which issues need to be brought up, can deal with it in the planning stages before it even becomes an issue, which is critical to managing time & money. They’ll make sure the lighting layout coordinates properly with the furniture, avoid thermostats located on your veneer wall panelling and the power outlets are where they need to be be.