I write quite a bit about how to design for yourself, and what sorts of challenges and obstacles you can expect to encounter. I believe it’s possible for a driven, dedicated person to renovate for themselves, and to essentially go the DIY route. If you are able to put in the time to research, design, source, order, receive, hire, vet, project manage, and so on, then this could be you. If you can learn quickly, adapt and stay the course, there’s no reason you can’t accomplish great things.
That being said, as is so often the case, you can hire an interior designer who has done this many times before and can anticipate things before they occur, streamline certain processes, have access to insider knowledge, and who can bring new concepts to the table that you may not discover on your own. Today I’ll talk about what it means to hire an interior designer, and why you might choose to hire someone to do the heavy lifting for you.
It’s possible you want to make a change in your home, but are not sure where to start. With so much going on in life, not everyone wants to switch gears and learn to think like an interior designer. Maybe your goal is to rectify a problem that currently exists, like the space feels awkward, or lacks natural light. Perhaps the previous owner’s tastes are wildly different from your own and you really dislike what you inherited from them. Or maybe you simply don’t know how to bring it all together.
Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to picture a transformation when you don’t have a clear sense of what you want. Needless to say, this is one of the first steps to Interior Design, and a skilled interior designer will help you find within yourself what you want for your environment, both visually and functionally.
Great interior design gets to the heart of who you are and what defines your most significant needs. You might have only a few bits and pieces in your mind; for example, you really love stone, or the color blue, or you just want more clear surfaces. Maybe you picture a certain type of light at a certain time of day, or you envision lots of textures. Your perfect vision could feel cool and meditative, or cozy and embracing. Whatever it is, don’t ignore it just because you can’t fully identify it. There is a lot more to your bits and pieces than you realize. The right designer will know how to pursue these seemingly small details to get to a bigger picture of who you are and what your space can be.
How dramatic does this job need to be? Is it a matter of changing color palettes? Or do walls need to be knocked down, and rooms completely rebuilt? You may ask yourself what can stay as it is, and what needs to be added or changed. There is so much to consider when you renovate. Beyond trying to craft an overarching concept for this project, you will also have to generate a plan, ideally one that is drafted professionally, and that meets the requirements of building codes. And that’s just the beginning.
Interior Design involves working with a large team of people, many of whom will not know one another. Good drawings will communicate the design vision to the team. Sourcing furniture and materials can require both effort and patience, and involve hours of research, visiting showrooms, and getting on multiple calls with vendors to clarify product details and delivery concerns. And this applies to any or all of the pieces you include in your design! The hours and effort add up.
I recently met with someone who didn’t understand what I do. It’s always interesting to try to explain your job to someone else or to comprehend someone else’s job. In my case, the work shifts a lot according to the project, and depending on what phase of the project we’re in. Interior designers wear many hats, from crafting a vision to hiring trades to consulting with other industry professionals to sourcing materials and furniture to collaborating to providing emotional support to everyone involved, and numerous other details that unfold along the way, not all of them predictable.
It is a long process involving many moving parts. Running your own design project will not be a part time job. It may not even be just a full time job. It could be all consuming, depending on the scope of what you do. This is why it sometimes pays to pay someone.
Making the decision to hire an interior designer can really invigorate your Interior Design dreams, so if you are considering a renovation, I strongly encourage you to contemplate working with a professional, even if it’s only to realize that, yes, you would rather do it yourself. Weigh all options before you decide against any of them. Your project, and by extension, you, deserve the best version of your vision to be brought into being.
In my next post, I will discuss the collaborative process, and how it varies from designer to designer and from client to client. My hope is that the information on this blog helps you with your projects, with your ideas, and with understanding what it is that you need specifically. Most of all, I hope it encourages you to make the changes you’ve been dreaming about in your home. Whether you choose to hire a designer or to strike out on your own, creating a home that reflects who you are is going to be one of the best gifts you can give yourself.