Working with a Decorator
If you have ever thought about working with a decorator, some concerns may have stopped you in your tracks. You might fear that it would be too expensive, or that you would end up with a room you wouldn't like. As a result, you may have given up on the idea all together.
Working with a decorator should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It can give your home flow, function and beauty. And it doesn't have to go over your budget.
Once you have made the decision to hire a decorator you should prepare for the initial meeting. Decide on your budget, scope and timelines for the project. Collect pictures of rooms, furniture and finishes that you love, along with those that you definitely do not like. Think about your existing furniture pieces and accessories that you would like to keep. Collect colour swatches and paint chips. Keep all of the pictures, swatches and samples in a design file that you can present to the decorator during your first meeting.
When you first meet with your designer good communication is key. Present your design file and be able to describe your vision. Be able to explain they style you want, the colours that you like, and the activities that will take place in the room. The more information you can give your designer the better. Your needs, preferences, and your hopes can be conveyed in both words and pictures. This will give your designer a place to start in creating a design specifically for you. Listen. Talk. Listen. The designer can then present their interpretation of your vision, and can be frank about your budget limitations.
Finances can then be discussed. No one likes sticking to a budget, but everyone has one. Work with your decorator to develop a project plan with goals, budget and timelines. Your project can have a relatively short completion time, or can also be phased in over a few months or years, if necessary. Always build in a 10-20% contingency for possible overages in both decorating and construction costs. Make sure it is very clear how you will be charged, when your decorator needs deposits, how you will be billed, what you get, and when the work should be complete. Determine if you will be charged for shopping trips, consultations, floor plans or phone calls/emails.
Each decorator has a different way of working with various fee structures, whether a flat fee, hourly fee, or percentage of purchases. Each project is to be considered differently regarding the fee structure. You don't have to spend a fortune, as there are many ways to use a designer for a small project with a tight budget.
Once your project is underway arrange to have scheduled meetings with your decorator to review the project plan and make any necessary changes and updates. This will ensure timelines, priorities, budget and responsibilities are known to all involved.