Article Summary:Everything you need to know about hiring an interior redesign specialist.
Interior redesigners - also known as redecorators, interior arrangers, one day decorators, room makeover specialists and home stylists - bring a unique perspective to their clients' decorating dilemmas. While the business model of traditional interior design services is largely based on profits from the markup of furnishings and contract services which are resold to the client, interior redesigners are overwhelmingly service oriented. Charging flat rates per room or hourly fees which make their services accessible to those who aren't interested in major purchases, interior redesigners provide creative services to transform your rooms using what you already own and limiting, or even eliminating, the need for new investment.
The interior redesign segment of the decorating and design industry is growing every day. Yet, while just about all the professionals in the field are service, rather than sales, oriented, there are important differences in the approaches of interior redesigners, even among those using the same professional designation.
Some interior redesigners will interview you in advance and then politely request that you absent yourself from your home during the room redesign. While all the furnishings that will be used are already in your home, you will be coming home to a surprise redesign and possibly other rooms that have been substantially changed by the relocation of furnishings to the redesigned room. Other redesigners will insist on your presence, however, the degree of collaboration will vary from those who will give you advice and leave it at that to those who really want to find ways to bring your personal preferences into the design scheme.
Some interior redesigners will physically rearrange your furnishings, accessorize your room and hang your artwork on the day of the redesign, while others will only give you a written plan. Still others will both rearrange your rooms and provide you with written plans to take your rooms to the next level. Some will only work with what you already own, while others are willing to develop design plans for partially furnished and even empty rooms. Some will include paint, window treatment and lighting consultations in the plan, and offer a range of follow-up services, while others will not go beyond what is possible to physically accomplish on the day of the redesign.
Questions You Need to Ask
It is important that you take the time to decide what it is that you want from an interior redesigner before you shop for professional help. Once you are clear about your own goals and expectations, you can start asking the questions that will enable you to match your needs with a particular redesigner's services:
1. What is the scope of services included in the interior redesign?
2. Will the rooms actually be rearranged on the day of the redesign? If so, is there an additional cost for movers or moving assistants?
3. Will you be given a written design plan and, if so, what will it include?
4. If you have a budget to go beyond the one day decorating, will the redesigner provide specific ideas and guidance to maximize your budget and further enhance your room?
5. Will you be expected to be present to work collaboratively with the redesigner or will you be asked leave your home?
Whether you choose to collaborate with an interior redesigner or leave your home, it is important that you have a good rapport with the professional you choose - after all, a successful room redesign should reflect your personality and vision for your home, not the designer's. You should feel that the interior redesigner is approachable, would value your ideas and is willing to take the time to understand what you want and answer all of your concerns. Be wary of anyone who promises to do so, but won't take the time to listen and respond to you when you call to inquire about services.
Also, be wary of anyone who promises that a room makeover can be done in "as little as an hour" in order to get the appointment. A good interior redesign can take many hours, and while there are rooms that can be completed in an hour, no honest interior redesigner will tell you so without first seeing the room and speaking with you about your needs and expectations.
If the redesigner offers flat rates based on the size of the room, ask for a rate card or other written documentation. If hourly charges are involved, ask for an estimate of hours based on the size and complexity of your project.
Companies marketing interior redesign services vary greatly, from the independent redesigner to design agencies, referral operations and even franchises. Before you book an appointment, insist upon speaking directly with the interior redesigner who would be handling your project and assess that person's experience and training independently from the company marketing the services. Ideally you always want the principal of the firm on your project, after all the firm's reputation - not to mention all those before and after photos on the Web site - reflect the abilities of the principal, not its lower level staff. Check whether this would involve additional unadvertised fees, as is often the case.
If you take the time to find a great interior redesigner, you will find Interior redesign to be a great decorating solution, offering an affordable means to a dramatic transformation of your home in one day with little or no additional investment.
Peggy Berk, IDS Associate, is an interior decorator who has worked with a wide variety of residential and commercial clients throughout the New York Metropolitan Area and Florida. Her design firm, Area Aesthetics, specializes in interior redesign, home staging and full service interior decorating. Peggy has authored many articles in her area of expertise.