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Why Hire An Interior Designer?

Many times hiring outside expertise to assist you with your interior decorating needs can be a real plus, and more cost effective than you may have realized. Designers and decorators come in all style...

Many times hiring outside expertise to assist you with your interior decorating needs can be a real plus, and more cost effective than you may have realized. Designers and decorators come in all styles, levels of service, and a variation of fees. Here I will suggest some of the best reasons to consider hiring a professional and describe what to look for in hiring a designer. I will continue by detailing some of the more popular types of services and the fees associated, and how to be a good client, getting the most from your designer.

Decorator vs. Designer: What is the difference?First it is important to understand the difference between a decorator and a designer. A designer, typically, has a degree in design backed by years of education and experience in the field. A designer is likely to be more familiar with the technical aspects of design, in addition to excellence in the decorative aspects. They are skilled in spaceplanning, can tackle remodeling and new construction projects with ease, while still providing furnishings, rugs, artwork and accessories. Designers handle all phases of an interior project.

A decorator, on the other hand, does not share formal education in design, and while they may have experience, tend to be more familiar with the decorative parts of the job, fabrics, finishes and such. Often they have worked into the field from enjoying it as a hobby. Fees for each are different, decorators ranging from $35-$50 per hour, while designers often charge $75-$150 per hour; and you are hiring a different set of skills and talents.

Saving TimeA designer can save you valuable time, by knowing the best places to shop and knowing exactly what to look for. Sometimes you may find you will go to the same place but overlook just the right accent or accessory. What may take a homeowner several hours or weekends, can take a skilled professional just a couple of hours to locate. These professionals are also more likely to have access to unique and distinctive elements to custom fit their clients needs.

Saving MoneyA designer can save you money, their knowledge, expertise, and guidance can help prevent costly mistakes. They can provide more timeless and appropriate solutions to dilemmas, than the stop gap you may be tempted to buy, only finding you have to replace it later. In some cases, discounts are received and the designer will share these or split these with their client.

Simplify Your LifeA designer can simplify your life, by making the most of what you already have. They preserve cherished treasures and family heirlooms, and research those hard-to-find pieces to fill in the gaps. They assist you in making informed selections from a vast number of product resources.

Define and Enhance Your StyleA designer can help you define and enhance your own style. They work with you to create a home that reflects your personal taste and meets your changing needs. The best designs showcase the homeowner and the lifestyle they have, it tells something about the people living there. Your home is your external heart, and opening the door is like opening a book of your life.

Finding the right designer or decorator can be challenging. Not everyone fits every client. It is important to find a professional that you are comfortable with, that listens to your needs, preferences, and style, and can deliver as promised.

Where to LookWhen looking for a design professional, check with your friends, check with a favorite local gallery or furniture showroom, consider a design instructor featured at a local University or College, check local publications, and, of course, check the web. Design resources are largely global now, and many designers work at a distance with ease, it is more important to find a designer that fits you, then where they may be located. (Recent example, I have worked several projects out of state, with only 2-3 visits necessary, the rest of the contact is by email, fax, and Fedex.) Many designers will provide a minimum initial consultation for a fee, one to two hours of their advice, suggestions, and ideas which can be invaluable in deciding if they are right for you and your familyReview Their PortfolioYou will want to check out their work by portfolio or on-line if they have a website. Often it is important that they indicate an ability to handle a wide range of styles rather than have a signature. This shows a flexibility and willingness to provide you with a custom look, unique to you, rather than a look that speaks of their own style.

Check References and Letter of Agreement In addition, either check some references, or look to see if they publish comments from clients. Providing you with a clear, concise letter of agreement after a paid consultationFind Article, outlining all aspects the project discussed can confirm and clarify expectations for all concerned.

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Melissa Galt is a Lifestyle Designer and Speaker based in Atlanta, GA. She hosts a series of blogs on design tips and trends and produces a monthly ezine dedicated to helping subscribers design their signature life. For the latest teleclasses, seminars, and ebooks on designing your life check out .

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