Is hiring a professional designer for your interior design a Luxury or Necessity? If the home-owner makes ONE bad purchase decision – that would have already paid for the designer. And if you are on a budget, you have no budget to waste on mistakes!!
When my plumber invoiced All About Interiors $210.00 for a job that lasted approximately 1 1/2 hours, I got to thinking; why is it that a home-owner seems to have no real issues with paying for labor? The painter, plumber, electrician, tile layer, carpenter, and so on. But hiring the DESIGNER or COLOR CONSULTANT–even if it’s just for a 2 hour consultation–to pull it all together, to make it all beautiful and fabulous, does it fall into the category of LUXURY or NECESSITY?
I have perused many a box of finishes for an entire brand new house; tile, granite, wood flooring, and fabrics, schlepped into a Benjamin Moore paint store in the hopes of getting some color consultation for an entire house. COLOR, which will occupy the largest amount of square footage in your house. COLOR which creates a feeling and is VERY upsetting when it is wrong. COLOR is so important to get it right. Which will most assuredly will change from the lighting in the paint store (where the colors then get selected) to the lighting in your house once your finishes are installed. Second to that in importance, is space maximization and finishing touches such as window treatments for function and or aesthetics and accessories to pull the look all together.
When I am sick, I don’t pretend to be an expert in health or the human body and self diagnose. It is important that we do go see an expert in that field in order to feel better. So I ask, why would a home owner who “likes” to decorate, pretend that they are an expert at it? In the end, financial mistakes can and most likely will be made and the look they are trying to achieve, missing the mark. Simply so they can avoid paying for an expert to assist them in acheiving the look they want.
The reason I hire an accountant to do my taxes is so that he/she will SAVE me money! Whatever I pay him/her doesn’t matter in the end because I’m saving that money, many times over by having a professional prepare my taxes!
I have a friend who wanted to hire a local, high-end, Kitchen company when they started their kitchen renovation. She loved the contemporary style of kitchen this company was known for and it was exactly what she wanted. When the husband heard how much this company charged for the first consultation, he said NO WAY. They ended up going through THREE kitchen designers before they got the kitchen they wanted and do you know how much this renovation ended up costing them? I can’t tell you. It upset me so much, but I’ll tell you this–A lot more than they would have if they hired the kitchen company they originally wanted in the first place.
A few years ago, Robert Allen had an event featuring their designer fabrics for spring. Kimberly Seldon was their guest speaker and at one point in the evening she asked “Who here charges less than $100 per hour?”. To the few who raised their hand, she said “Shame on you, do you think you have less responsibility than a plumber?”. This statement, by the way, confirms the first point I made earlier.
I once walked into a house that had freshly installed laminate flooring throughout. However, the big mistake the homeowner had made was they had picked a different color of laminate for each room. They obviously thought they had to define each room in some way like you might do with a color. What they did not know was that the days of defining spaces with flooring are gone. Today we are installing hardwood flooring in powder rooms as well as kitchens. Oh, and one more thing; this flooring had been installed to ‘flip’ the house as it was for sale; however, what they did actually devalued the house to a potential buyer.
So here’s what I’m trying to say: When we are learning something new or making decisions in an area that we are not an expert, we usually make it harder than it has to be. The answer is totally obvious and even EASY. But we think to ourselves [It can't be that easy, it has to be harder than that, so we keep looking and that's when things usually go wrong]. When the designer shows up with 1 – 3 choices, we make it look easy. But what you don’t know is that we have already waded through hundreds, sometimes thousands of possibilities to come up with the palette that is going to work for YOU, for the style of YOUR home, the lifestyle of YOUR family.
The professional (in any field) and in this case an experienced designer makes everything look easy. I was standing in front of an exterior with a client who was asking about accenting this area and that on the front of the house. However, my suggestions for color were based on the STYLE of the home, including the existing, fixed elements of the house, which dictated using more of the body color and less of the ACCENT colors the client was talking about. At one point he looked at me and I KNEW he was thinking “But I could have done that myself?”. The reason why he could not; however, was that he could not explain to anyone why his choices were the right ones.
When you hire a designer for a consultation or for the entire job, you are looking for the WHY?
You have a bunch of ideas, after all, you are the one that has been staring at your house for years! Fundamentally though, you want to know IF your ideas are right and if they are not, you want to know WHY! It’s a great marriage saver because the designer gives you objective opinions based on what’s current, the products that are available, how to mix your new renovations/colors with the old, and so on. Left to their own devices, most couples make decisions based mostly on their likes and dislikes without taking into consideration what works for the space or why.
It’s the same when it’s time to specify colors for my clients. When I first started specifying color, I thought it was my JOB to pick a new color for every room. Now I don’t pick a new color unless there’s a really good reason to do so. If I do choose another color, I make sure it complements the other colors in the house. Otherwise the house becomes a kaleidoscope of colors without any real flow.
If the home-owner makes ONE bad purchase decision – that would have already paid for the designer. And if you are on a budget, you have no budget to waste on mistakes!!
When is hiring a designer, a luxury? Well, if you hire one to custom design every piece of your house down to the tassel on your $1,200 toss cushions, then yes, that’s when a designer becomes a luxury.
Jeffrey Bilhuber’s new book “Defining Luxury” says it best:
“Decorators can guide clients and their families to an elevated standard of living. At it’s best, the process is similar to discovering a brilliant museum, one you had never entered before or even knew existed. Once you pass through it’s doors, your world is forever changed. You may never revisit your old world again. If you do, you’ll never see it quite the same way.”
Happiness is hiring the designer you already know can give you the look you want, because you’ve seen their work and you love it.
Happiness can be restored where there is disagreement very quickly, by hiring a designer for–at the very minimum–a CONSULTATION before you make the mistakes you can’t afford to make anyways. That is an absolute NECESSITY!
Save yourself from making design errors which in turn will cost you more financially and emotionally than the cost of a design consultation. Contact All About Interiors for your next project.
blog contribution via Maria Killam