2014-03-07 / Columnists

The Insider

Why Hire an Interior Designer?
By Christine Baumann

Whether you’re working on new construction or remodeling a single room, these projects have numerous choices and decisions that can make you want to pull out your hair. Who better to have than a professional that is knowledgeable and experienced to advise you in making the right decisions? Someone you can trust to listen to your ideas, understand your needs and help realize your dreams.

ASID, The American Society of Interior

Design, is the oldest, largest and leading professional organization that continues to be a major influence in the interior design field. Its philosophy focuses on a community of people driven by a common love for design who are committed to the belief that interior design, as a service to people, is a powerful, multi-faceted profession that can positively change people’s lives.

The key to a successful project outcome is good communication. ASID has provided a noteworthy list of guidelines to avoid disappointment or surprises:  Minimize changes to the plan.

Changes or special requests can require any number of adjustments that will add time and expense to the project.  Make notes. Repeated calls are expensive and can slow down progress.  Stay flexible. Decide beforehand where you are willing to compromise and where you are not.  Trust your gut. Do not agree to a decision that does not feel right to you, no matter how urgent it may seem to be.

Take time to request more information or just reflect.  Avoid open ended requests. Tell the designer up front what you are willing to pay in total for a particular item or service.

Along with recommending furniture, fabrics, and colors, a professional interior designer is trained for so much more. ASID states, in addition to their indepth knowledge of products, material and finish, professional designers have the training and expertise to plan, schedule executive and manage your project from start to finish. They pro- vide solutions for a range of functional and practical issues, such as effective use of space and organization, safety, health, security, accessibility, energy-efficiency and “green” products, acoustics and maintenance. They know and work closely with many vendors, contractors and other service providers, coordinating and orchestrating the entire design team. Designers also provide specification and purchasing services to procure materials, furniture, accessories and art, some of which you would not be able to find on your own. These are important professionals you want on your side during a renovation.

INSIDER on Interior Design Rates:

There are several ways designer rates are applied based on the project at hand. Don’t be afraid to discuss the rates and ask about other charges or expenses that may incur. All of these details are packaged into a residential or commercial design contract. Some interior designers have a more informal approach that is covered by a letter of agreement.

HOURLY RATE: Hourly rates are based on the hours that the designer is
working on the project in studio, jobsite, with homeowners/vendors meetings,
and time spent with contractors. Hourly rate can be capped which are agreed
upon prior and detailed in the design contract.
FLAT RATE: Flat rates are a prearranged fixed fee for creative and supervisory services. This easy method might come with stipulations of rate
changes due to multiple redesigns, cut off dates and number of meetings
during the process.
SQUARE FOOT RATE: Square foot rate is commonly used for commercial
spaces. Simple formula of a rate based on the square footage. It’s often coupled with a percentage of the cost of all purchases of goods. Traditionally a
payment schedule is implemented.
CONSULTATION: If you are not willing to commit to a project just yet and
want to get advice from an expert, many designers offer consultation services. Some designers charge a flat fee for consultations; some by the hour,
but a reputable designer does not give consultation for free.

Send in your questions or comments. Tell me what renovations you’d like to discuss. (info@christinebaumann.com)

Remember, when in doubt……ask your experts. This will always save you time and money. Christine Baumann has a full service award winning interior design firm established in 2003. Her work has been featured in House Magazine, HGTV.com and has won the Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Award for Excellence in Design. Her philosophy is creating the right style for each individual client based on their particular needs.

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