Guest Blogger #385, Entry #979, February 26, 2012
When it comes to designing the interior space of your home, you might end up deciding that you need a little help from the pros; after several wall colors that simply didn’t work, a mishmash of mismatched furniture, and the addition of a giant antique mirror in your small, modern home (a big mistake in more ways than one), you’re about ready to concede that your decorating skills are sadly subpar. But you just might not feel right about spending beaucoup bucks on something that the average homeowner seems perfectly capable of (all your family and friends seem to have their home decor well in hand). So you need to carefully price out interior design services in order to find one that can deliver the style and functionality you want at a cost you’re comfortable paying. Here are a few tips to help you get it right this time.
Image via: Houzz
Determine what services you need
First and foremost, you need to think about what you want done before you go looking for an interior designer. Perhaps you have one room in mind that could use a serious makeover. Or maybe you’d like to upgrade every common space in the home (kitchen, living room, even the guest room or guest bathroom). It could be that all you need to be completely happy with your home is a glorious master bath. Then again, an overhaul of your entire interior space could be on the agenda. The point is, you need to decide this before you start looking for bidders.
Create a budget
You also need to create a budget before you get too far along. It’s all well and good to say that money is no object, but for most people this is not true. Okay, so maybe money is no object, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to let your interior designer in on the fact. Whether you have to set the budget so that you don’t spend too much or you simply want to start with an artificial limit that you’re comfortable with (and see where it goes from there), you should never, ever give your interior designer free reign to spend. Simply let him know that there is some wiggle room so that he will take the initiative to approach you with suggestions.
Image via: Emily A Clark
Collecting bids and estimates
Your next step is to start collecting bids. You may have some ideas about the function and aesthetic of certain rooms, and you will likely prefer certain colors, finishes, and materials from the get-go. But don’t be too pushy at the outset. Your ideas have gone nowhere thus far, or you wouldn’t be hiring an interior decorator. So set a few basic parameters and then see what your bidders come up with in terms of ideas and pricing. You may wind up loving their vision for your space or you might hate it, but either way you’ll get some good ideas and a slew of price quotes in the process.
Just keep in mind that quotes are not final numbers and you may run into pricy setbacks along the way (not to mention a change of heart or three). So always plan for an overage of at least 20% from the original bid. That way you can avoid paying the excess on plastic (and having to consolidate later with balance transfer credit cards).
For more interiors tips on Stagetecture, click here.