Making The Most Of Your Smart Decision To Hire An Interior Designer

So you’ve decided to hire an Interior Designer—good move! Now what? Before you start planning your “reveal” party, you’ll need a basic understanding about the process to ensure that you get the most design for your dollar and that you have a fun and fabulous experience, no matter what type of project is ahead of you.

You’ll need to learn the basics of choosing the right design professionals, establishing a budget, outlining the details of the contract, considering your lifestyle and communicating your challenges.

Choosing the Right Designer: Beyond the Portfolio

Professionally trained Interior Designers have undergone extensive training in the various elements of modern and historical design, art and architecture. They have a basic foundation of knowledge that allows them to develop concepts in a variety of styles that range from traditional, contemporary, art deco, eclectic—or a combination of several styles.

That being said, not every designer’s talent is right for every project. For yours, you’ll want to choose someone whose portfolio “speaks” to you in a positive way. As with every profession, designers tend to develop personal styles that carry over into their projects. It could be the sense of clarity and order you see in the furniture arrangements, or maybe it’s a color palette that’s used in a unique way. It could be the modern touches worked seamlessly into a roomful of antiques, or the interesting textures of the fabrics.

Referrals are the best way to find a designer, so if the home of a friend or colleague appeals to you, by all means ask them for the designer’s number! You can also visit Web sites to get a better feel for the designer’s talent and personal style. Expect to spend a bit of time on the phone discussing your project with the designer and/or completing a questionnaire that will give them a better feel for your tastes and your project prior to the kickoff meeting.

You’re looking for someone you instantly trust and respect, who communicates excitement about your project, no matter how big or small, and who trusts and respects you as well. After all, this person is transforming your most sacred and cherished space!

Establishing a Realistic Budget

Everyone has a budget, so don’t feel bad about setting yours in stone…or tile, or brick. No matter what the amount, your designer should help you get the best value and the highest quality possible. Be wary of anyone that summarily dismisses your grand ideas based on budget alone: A first-rate designer will work hard to achieve your key design goals, perhaps by spreading the job out over time or suggesting alternative solutions for your project.

A great benefit of using a professional designer is that she has access to materials unavailable to the general public, so no matter what your budget, your home will feel unique and very “you.”

Your designer will also manage the entire process, whether it involves space planning, lighting design, purchasing, ordering, selecting finishes or monitoring the construction and installation of the project elements.

Outlining Terms of the Contract

Make sure you read and sign an official contract before any money exchanges hands or work begins. In addition to the legal aspects, a contract summarizes the plans you’ve been discussing such as your budget, design fees, accountability regarding subcontractors (painters, carpet layers, etc.).

You’ve selected the designers and signed the contract – now comes the fun part!

Considering Your Lifestyle

Your home environment should complement and support the way you and your family really live – or really want to live. For example, if you’re starting a home-based business, you might turn your cluttered garage into a functional office. If your spouse loves to cook, you might knock down a wall so the under-used formal dining room becomes part of the kitchen. Many families make the mistake of letting the layout of the home dictate their activities vs. reorganizing the space to embrace their lifestyles.

To ensure that your designer understands how you live now and how you want to live, share as many details with her as you can. Also share your personal tastes so she can incorporate them into the designs. If you hate plaid, tell her now, before she gets too deep into the first draft.

To help you better prepare yourself, answer these questions before you have your first meeting with the designer:
Are you a creative person? In what ways does your home limit your creativity or your hobbies?
Do you like the present color palette? Does it need updating?
Are they any rooms that feel cramped or stuffy? Any rooms that feel empty, cold or unwelcoming?
Is adequate, well-organized storage a problem? Can you find things when you need them?
Are your bathrooms functional, pleasing spaces? Do you or family members have special needs (e.g. grab bars, easy-entrance shower stalls, etc.)?
As you walk through your rooms, jot down your favorite qualities about each. Do you like the proportions? Is there adequate ventilation and lighting throughout your house?
Are there any rooms that you don’t use regularly? Could any of these rooms be used for more than one function? Could any of these rooms be used for a completely different function?
Does your home balance open space and private areas?

Does the entryway do its job of setting the stage for the rest of your home by welcoming guests and making a statement about the people who live there? If you normally come into your home through the garage, does that area welcome you?

Focus on Your Challenges

A designer works best when you share your “wish list,” express your ideas, and then keep an open mind. That means communicating how you want to live in the space and then entrusting the designer to make it happen. After all, you hired this person for her experience, talent and vision!

For example, one homeowner hired a designer to help her reorganize her tiny office so she could be more productive. Instead, the designer suggested that she move her entire operation downstairs, into the den she used once every two months to watch movies. She did, tripling her space and doubling her productivity in just three months.

Contrary to TV, where designers admonish clients for questioning their plans, real-life designers understand that you’re the person who ultimately needs to love the space. They want you to be happy and want you to give your input so you’re absolutely thrilled with the results (and so you’ll recommend them to your friends)! That’s why they do so much probing upfront about your tastes and how you live, then incrementally present their ideas throughout the process.

Hiring a designer is like giving a gift to yourself! You made the smart decision to hire an Interior Designer, you’ve been smart about the planning process, and now you can rest assured that the time, money and energy you spend returns truly smart, stunning results!

The Place Of A Home Extension Designer In A House Extension Project

If you are thinking about extending your house quickly, then the chances are that you will require the services of a house extension designer. The house extension designer is among the emerging experts in architecture, alongside the likes of the ecological designer, the property designer and so on. These are typically specialists with strong backgrounds in general architecture, who then go on to specialise, through further training and substantial project involvement, in particular locations.

The requirement to include a designer comes as ‘news’ to lots of people going on such projects. However, the truth of the matter is that the house extension – if it is to be correctly hacked – might call for more skill than what was involved in the very first structure of the residential or commercial property; for this reason, the requirement for a specialised architect.

Why hire a professional for a home extension project?

What deserves keeping in mind about the involvement of a home-extension architect in the project is that this is not just about the visual appeals of the job, however also about the safety of the extension. Undoubtedly, in many legal jurisdictions, it ends up being an essential requirement – because there have been cases of what were at first very sound structures winding up being compromised during extensions so that they end up being risky. Moreover, a hazardous structure as all of us understand, is not only dangerous to the owner, but to the general public as well; for there is no knowing when it could come toppling, and whom it might wind up falling on.

So like the architect who is involved in the preliminary design of home designs in Sydney, the roles of the home extension architect can be viewed as two-fold. On the one hand, this is the specialist who (possibly in concert with the structural engineer) will ensure that the structures that make the extension possible are safe – that they won’t come toppling the very next day. Moreover, on the other hand, this is likewise the expert who will make sure that the structures are visually appealing, for there have also been cases of otherwise gorgeous buildings ending up ruined throughout extension when the extension projects are not correctly considered.

In the face of the unique challenges involved in home extensions in Sydney,  it is not unprecedented designers who are otherwise very highly experienced in general architecture (in the developing of definitely new structures, that is) expressing bookings about going on house extension jobs. Theirs recommend to you when you approach them with such a project will be that you must go to a home extension architect.

An encounter with a house extension architect will typically begin with a visit to his or her workplace, where you get to inform them of what you usually want. The 2nd step would be for them to check out the site, and make a professional evaluation of the job. Moreover, the third step would be for them to exercise the specifics of the situation in their studio, with the result of this step being the illustrations they establish and hand to the contractors who are to be associated with the actual task. After this, the function of the home extension architect is decreased to a supervisory capacity – to ensure that the plans they established for the job are followed, to create both a structurally sound, and aesthetically attractive structure.

How To Succeed As An Interior Designer

The end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century have seen some massive changes in the ways that people can make a living. With the increased business of everyone else, more and more individuals are beginning to find success in areas that three decades ago would never have been imagined. The number of home cleaning services, yard clean up businesses, and other businesses that focus on taking care of the home needs of individuals has skyrocketed. One area which has also seen a lot of growth is the area of interior decorating.

As both men and women are working full time jobs that require a lot of focus, there is more need for a person to come into the home and fix it up in a way that is relaxing for the people that live there as well as making a comfortable place in which to entertain. This involves picking furniture and other items of décor, paintings, mirrors, and even paint colors and linen arrangements. Add to that the placement of all the items, and you can begin to see why people just do not have time to fix their living spaces up how they would like them. Into this gap steps the interior designer, a person gifted with vision and the ability to incorporate the tastes of others into a design scheme.

One need look no further than Martha Stewart to see just how far an interior designer can go. Of course, Martha Stewart has built an empire, one that is unlikely to be rivaled by any other interior decorating hopeful. However, other interior decorators can expect to earn a living that is more than comfortable- the demand is so great that there seems to always be work for someone willing to spend the time fixing up someone else’s home.

The most important factor in determining how successful your interior decorating business will be is where you live. Bigger cities, of course, always have more demand for every service, and interior design is no exception. In addition, big cities will tend to have more wealthy potential clients, and more people that just do not have time to do their decorating themselves, when the work day can include a long commute. People living in smaller areas need not fret, however. The odds are very good that you can still earn a good living as an interior decorator, it just means that you will probably have more competition.

As with any business, the key to success will be in networking, and you can probably expect not to make too much money in your first year of business. The great thing about interior design, however, is that it is always on display, and if you do a good job your clients will not be able to help but refer others to you for future business. Base your prices on what you feel you would like to make an hour, within reason of course, and then go after the clients you feel will pay this money. You could also try the other approach, working in bulk for cheaper rates, but a lot of the time people will find they burn out doing this, and that ironically clients will be more picky when they are paying less.

Interior Design Tips And Ideas

Why should the interior design of your home be any different from anyone else’s? It could be so much easier to simply follow the crowd and show no fear about a lack of originality if every home was pre-packaged with a unit appearance. Here are some ideas to keep the interior of your home as conformist as you can, and perhaps these will allow you the simple peace of a non-designed house.

First – please be sure to remove all coordination from your home. Recent studies have shown that balancing the cloth of your living room upholstery to the window and floor treatments can spark sensations of appreciation and pleasure in household members and guests. It is therefore critical for the practicing conformist to remove all hints of matching or complimentary designs from his or her household.

After dealing with those messy matching issues, be sure to walk through the rest of the interior searching for original art pieces such as paintings, sculpture and folk art. An interior which includes originality in their wall décor would evoke a sense of personality and interest in guest of the home, and it should also be noted that these guests might then find themselves assuming the “good taste” of their host. That defeats the purpose.

To the delight of the true conformist, many interior designs are stagnating into set themes. But you must take this a step further, and be certain that no new design or decorating ideas are found throughout your home. Do not allow any inspiration to come from, say, your favorite books, magazines, or movies. In fact, stop using any of things for entertainment. They will only lead to further thought “outside the box.”

Use your head people. Actually, do not use it at all, because that is the best way to avoid any originality or sensationalism in any interior design ideas. It is, unfortunately, too easy to find simple inspiration throughout your daily life. It is imperative that you do not write any of these ideas down, and then you will have a chance to forget your initial reaction and idea and move along in your simple, easy, and non-threatening little life.

Interior Design Tips

An interior designer faces many of the same questions when faced with a residential client. Issues such as theme and fundamental style are not frequently an issue with the home client. But there will always be concerns about painting walls, the furniture currently inside the home, and of course the floors. There are tips to alleviate concerns and questions regarding these specific design problems.

“What about this color of paint? It is too bright/dark/soft/etcetera.” The first and best tip to eliminate concerns about paint choices is to purchase a sample of paint to place on the wall. Then, there will be a true understanding of what the actual appearance of a color will be. However, many colors – especially darker ones – attain their true beauty from the look of the entire wall after being layered with several coats of paint.

Trust a color pallet and a designer, but of course only follow intuition. A color that is difficult to stomach may settle eventually to delightful surprise, or it may lead to a horrible bellyache. Only cover a wall with a design’s color that will provide security and happiness in a homeowner.

“Should existing and endurable furniture be reupholstered?” An excellent tip to be considered: evaluate the furniture for style and value versus the cost of the reupholstering. An antique chair that fits the feeling of a formal living room that was purchased for many thousands of dollars would be an excellent candidate as long as replacing the original upholstery did not degrade its value or worth.

“I don’t know what to do about my floor.” Decisions about floor designs should be based on a person’s budget, the room’s use, and personal preference. Certain floor treatments are incredibly expensive, such as hard oak floors, and they may not be practical in an area where stomping kids thrash through the interior. Carefully weigh options such as dying carpet or laying rugs over existing hard floors. It is all a matter of personal preference.

Actually, all interior design should be a matter of personal preference. It is not worth any expense to put something in a home that will force a homeowner to cringe every time he or she looks around.

How To Buy A Bunk Bed

Individuals of all ages choose to invest in a loft bed or bunk bed for their home. This classic childhood sleeper is quickly becoming a fun, inventive way for ‘tweens, teens, college students, and young adult hipsters to maximize their space without having to roll out a sleeping bag every night. When it comes time to shop for furniture, look to stores that specialize in bunk beds or loft beds.

First things first, there is a major difference between bunk beds and loft beds. Bunk beds are the most common form of alternative bedding, with an upper bunk stacked above a lower bunk. Some bunk beds stack two same-sized mattresses horizontally, while others stack a twin bed above a full size bed or even a futon that can serve as a larger sleeping or living area. Finally, other bunk beds create a playhouse type environment, with a top bunk running horizontally overtop of a vertically running bottom bunk. Some of these alternative bunk beds include stair steps and even slides, allowing the beds perfect for younger individuals.

Loft beds feature elevated platforms for sleeping, leaving much needed floor space below to place a desk, couch, or entertainment center to provide extra space for living. Generally associated with cramped dorm rooms, loft beds are becoming increasingly popular with teenagers who feel cramped in smaller rooms and want to expand their livable space. Also, young adults are also elect to choose loft beds in first apartments that may have less than desirable sleeping quarters. Think of loft beds like the new, hipper version of the classic Murphy bed.

When shopping for a bunk bed or loft bed, first consider the person that will be sleeping in the bed. For children, consider safety above all other aspects of the bed. Teenagers or young adults may want to focus on the size or the style of the bed more so than safety worries. When dealing with children, be sure that the child is ready to upgrade to a “grown up” bed before making the move. Children should be at least 35 inches long or two years of age before he or she should be moved to a bunk bed. Also, ground rules should be made regarding the proper conduct involving the bunk bed, since most injuries occur due to roughhousing or horseplay.

Regardless of your age, you should ensure the bunk bed or loft bed you choose has two sets of guardrails and a sturdy ladder that can support your weight. The guard rails are critical, even though your bed may reside next to a wall. More so with children, but occasional with teens or adults, bunk beds or loft beds without a guardrail next to the wall can cause the sleeper to slip between the bed and the wall during their sleep. Also, a guardrail on the other side of the bed is critical, since anyone can fall out of a bed while asleep.

For children, the guard rail should be no more than three and a half inches above the mattress. If the guard rail is too far away from the mattress, the occupant can slip between the mattress and the rail, resulting in a fall. Also, the guard rail should run at least five inches above the mattress to prevent the occupant from rolling over top of the rail.

Keep in mind there are a variety of bunk beds and loft beds on the market. Younger kids may enjoy the activity themed bunk beds, while teens may desire a bed that incorporates a loft instead of a bottom bunk. Also, the size of the room is directly associated with size of the bunk bed or loft bed. Although having a double or queen size bed may be luxurious in comparison to a tiny twin, but carefully think of the available space before choosing.

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