By Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
If you want to get in shape, it’s smart to hire a personal trainer. To achieve more of your career and personal goals, partner with a life coach. And if you desire a more cohesive and attractive aesthetic in your home, enlist an experienced interior designer, especially if you are preparing to embark on a remodeling project.
“The benefits of using an interior designer include the ability to create a cohesive, functional and attractive space that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences,” says Nicholas Kaiko, a renowned interior designer. “They can provide access to a broader range of materials, finishes and furnishings – often at a more competitive price than available to the general public.”
Ariella Duker, a New York City-based interior designer, echoes those thoughts.
“Designers will expose you to a wide range of resources and products you otherwise would not have considered and can be your greatest advocate during a long and expensive project. They can ensure that contractors are implementing concepts, and, in the best-case scenario, help keep the project moving along by addressing questions and challenges that will inevitably arise in any home improvement project,” she says. “They can actually save you from making costly mistakes and decisions, remaining cool and calm under pressure and helping you manage expectations throughout the process.”
Perhaps most importantly, partnering with a professional designer avoids the risk of creating a living space that will quickly look dated or unattractive or clash with surrounding elements in your home. That’s because they serve as consultants who advise on functional and aesthetic aspects of your project and have the expertise to suggest the right colors, materials, textures, furnishings, and décor.
“Think of an interior designer as a creative visionary who can help you conceptualize and plan your entire project. They can act as problem solvers, create design plans, source materials and furnishings, oversee installation, and ensure the final product meets with your expectations,” Kaiko continues. “They do this while also staying stay within budget and adhering to timelines while maintaining high standards of quality and craftsmanship.”
Duker says the best interior designers create results that represent you, not the designer.
“They help you make the best choices, identify the right products to invest in, and suggest ways to improve your daily routines. For example, they can suggest a charging station for devices neatly hidden within a drawer, a power outlet in the floor under your desk, and a refrigerator drawer hidden in your bedroom if that’s important to you,” she adds.
To find the right designer, carefully consider the scope of your project and seek out an expert with a unique skill set to match, advises Camie Anderson, an interior designer in Seattle.
“Seek personal referrals from your contractor or architect or from friends and family,” Anderson says. “Next, get on a phone call with the potential designer and ask questions.”
Architect Ladina Schopf recommends asking:
- Can you provide examples of similar projects you have completed?
- How do you handle project challenges or changes?
- How do you communicate and collaborate with clients during the design process?
- What is your relevant education and certifications?
“Try to choose an interior designer who has at least five years of experience and can share at least three referrals from satisfied clients,” Schopf says.
Also, ask to see a portfolio of past projects they can share with you to help you determine if their work aligns with your tastes and preferences.
Be aware that designers typically charge either an hourly rate or a flat fee per project.
“Rates can vary widely depending on experience, reputation, and location. Some may also work in a cost-plus model, charging a percentage over the wholesale price of furnishings and materials,” says Kaiko.