Choosing An Interior Decorator

Some people feel intimidated at the thought of hiring an interior decorator. It used to be only the wealthy employed decorators. With more and more people spending time at home after a long day of work, they want their house to be a haven to come home to. Unfortunately, lengthy commutes and long work hours make it virtually impossible for homeowners, even if they are handy, to start and complete a job within a reasonable amount of time. Maybe you’re just not sure how to pull it all together.

That’s when you want to consider the services of an interior decorator. An interior decorator will do the research and legwork for you. You do have to do a little homework, though. Before hiring an interior decorator, decide what you’re expecting from the decorator regarding your project and what do you want the decorator to do for you.

HOMEOWNER HOMEWORK

Keep in mind the following for when you meet with a decorator for your consultation:

1. Your budget. This is very important because it will dictate what resources are available to the decorator to meet your budget requirements. Resources are adjusted; the interior decorator’s fee is not.

2. Your style. If you don’t know your style, use decorating books, magazines and home catalogs that give an indication of the things you like. It may be candlesticks from one picture, a rug from another picture, the clock in another, and so on. This will give the decorator a visual of what you are looking for in your project.

3. Color. When you hire an interior decorator you know that you will be getting color. The question becomes, what color. Be prepared to know what colors you like and dislike; this goes for the other members of your family.

4. Know what pieces and accessories you are keeping, and which you are ready to part with. If you have an heirloom of Aunt Martha’s that must work with the decor, you should let the interior decorator know that.

5. The Room. Be prepared to let the decorator know what the project room is going to be used for, in the event it is not apparently obvious, like a kitchen. Who will be using this room? What will be the function of the room?

6. Pets. If you have pets and they are not in evidence at the time of your consultation, let the decorator know that you have pets. This will help in determining the type of fabrics used, especially if your pets normally have free range of your home.

7. Pictures. As previously stated, pictures are always good to have on hand to reflect a style you like, or general furniture, fabric or color preferences.

8. DIY. If you want to try and cut down on the expense of some of the decorating, you can indicate to the interior decorator this preference. For example, if you like to paint, and do it well, there should be no reason you can’t paint a project room yourself. You’ll also save yourself several hundred dollars.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR INTERIOR DECORATOR

The interior decorator will bring to your project:

1. The ability to listen. When the decorator comes to your home for the consultation, they should listen attentively and do a walk through of the project room.

2. The ability to make the right product selections for your project.

3. Creative ideas and solutions for your project.

4. Helping to create your color and design scheme by showing you fabric and paint samples, and suggesting surface solutions such as flooring.

5. The attitude that this is your home and should reflect the style and personalities of the family living there, not the decorator’s.

6. A willingness to come out to your home to meet with you.

7. Suggestions as to how to improve a home’s function by applying design principles of color, texture, balance, etc.

HIRING THE INTERIOR DECORATOR

If after your consultation with an interior decorator, you feel you have made a connection with this person, and trust them enough to make the right choices, you will enter into a contract signed by both you and the decorator. This not only protects both the homeowner and the decorator, but should set forth the project details.

FEES

Fees vary depending on the interior decorator; whether it’s a large or small firm; and whether it’s a residential or high-end residential decorator.

Some of the basics are:

* Hourly – this can vary from $35.00 to $250.00 per hour. Sometimes interior decorators will provide a free one-hour consultation, but after the first hour charges apply. That is why it is important for you to do your homework. Use your time with the decorator wisely.

* Fixed – also known as Flat Fee, and may include a cap on the hours that are included within that fee.

* Percentage – also referred to as Cost Plus. This is calculated between 15-30% above cost, and does not include delivery or sales tax.

* Retail – is exactly what it says. It is the same retail price you would pay, as some stores do not discount to the trade.

* A Combination of any of the above.

Working with an interior decorator can be a pleasant, rewarding and satisfying experience. If you do your homework beforehand, and use the consultation time wisely, this could be a headache free experience. You may enjoy it so much that who knows, maybe you will do something with that guest room before your mother comes to visit.

Interior Design and Interior Decorating – Some Definitions

Interior Decoration and Interior Design, although related disciplines, are different in terms of their application. Interior Decoration is the process of decorating a house with regards to finishes (for example wallpaper and paint, choice of furniture and fittings as well as adding finishing touches and decorations such as paintings and objets d’art. All of this provide a certain “feel” to a house but essentially the underlying structure of the house is not changed.

Interior decoration is normally professionally done by Interior Decorators although recently the trend has been for people to learn about Interior Decorating through various courses or books and then apply the techniques themselves-usually on a shoestring budget. The whole objective of Interior Decorating is to make a house aesthetically pleasing and at the same time, unique, since it should reflect the owner’s specific personality and tastes.

Interior design on the other hand is more integrated with the architecture of a building and a professional Interior Designer will work closely with architects and builders to make choices regarding the integral design of the whole house or building. This includes looking at choices with regards to room layout, choice of cabinets and tiles and lots of other design factors. While the Interior Design budget for new developments used to be minimal, it is recognized these days that incorporating Interior Design into the project means the difference between a run-of-the-mill development and one that contributes to the branding and life-style image of the project. The money spent on Interior Design is therefore seen as a worthwhile investment in the whole property development process.

Homeowners are spending more and more to improve their homes. Since it is relatively easy to change the appearance of a house by changing the finishings and fittings a large portion of this money goes into Interior Decorating. The growing popularity in do-it-yourself Interior Decorating has meant that a whole industry around Interior Decorating courses, books and TV Shows have also sprung up, and it has become a popular hobby for married couples. Innovative Interior Decoration ideas, which cost less but at the same time giving the impression of style and class, are in vogue.

Young entrepreneurs have also seen the gap and there is a growing demand for information and courses on how to break into the Interior Design and Interior Decoration Industry. This has also given the home {interior decoration industry a boost.

Although the trend recently is for people to tackle the exciting task of transforming a house themselves, it has to be recognized that this falls more in the area of Interior Decorating. Interior Design still requires study of the context of Interior Design, the theory of good design, knowledge of the technical advances in the engineering industry for both residential as well as commercial buildings and knowledge of the latest trends and advances in the Interior Design industry.

In short, an Interior Design project in which all the elements of design are pulled together is still the ambit of the professional designer who should be able to deliver on projects that extend beyond the boundaries of a hobby pastime.

How To Begin A Career As An Interior Decorator

Working as an interior decorator requires creativity to plan and design spaces for individuals and businesses. Interior decorators can be responsible for single rooms, entire houses, or redecorating a company’s interior. Color, paint, lighting, furniture, and artwork all play into style used to create designs for potential clients. Interior decorating allows individuals to put their creative minds and interest in design into a potentially successful career option.

While individuals do not need to have a formal education or degree to work as an interior decorator, they may want to take a few classes or earn a certificate or diploma to give credibility. Those interested in interior decorating will need to know the different types of materials and styles as well as some decorating history. With most things, practice improves performance. By helping friends and family with decorating projects, individuals are able to gain experience and build a portfolio. Some examples of ideas of ways to volunteer service could include offering to decorate a baby’s room, a new office, or staging a home that is being sold by friends to make the space more appealing.

By compiling a portfolio, individuals are able to have visual examples of their work to show to potential clients. One way to build a successful portfolio is to take before and after photos of the spaces that have been decorated. A portfolio can consist of photos, letters of recommendation, and even fabric and flooring samples. By having samples, the decorator is able to show the clients and recommend certain designs.

Decorators should have excellent communication skills to deal with clients, and store owners and suppliers with whom they will be purchasing home d├ęcor from. Some stores may even offer discounts to professional decorators. Establishing a client base is a great way create potential business. Clients can range from homeowners, boutique stores, restaurants, art galleries, or bed and breakfasts. After decorators have conducted their services, businesses can refer and/or recommend the individual to other businesses.

Jobs as an interior decorator can be competitive. To gain experience or put a degree in interior design or decorating to use, individuals could work in furniture stores or retail stores. Although interior decorators do not need a degree, individuals wanting to be an interior designer will need a bachelor’s degree in design. Both decorators and designers have many similar job duties, such as consulting with clients and overseeing the set-up of furniture.