Mary Bajor

Article Summary:

How to prepare for an interior decorating consultation to get the most out of your design professional.

How To Prepare For Your Interior Decorating Consultation

Decorating a single room or an entire home can be an overwhelming and stressful undertaking coupled with feelings of delight and excitement. The anticipation of a newly designed space that meets your aesthetic and functional expectations is a monentous experience. Upon choosing a design professional that you feel comfortable working with, is the opportunity to focus and plan for your decorating consultation. With some forethought about the outcome of your decorating project, prepare for your consultation by considering all your desires and concerns for the design of your new space. While it is the job of the design professional to ask many questions, and to listen with both ears, it is important to have some thoughts in place to discuss with your decorator/designer. The following are some tips to help you prepare for your interior decorating consultation.

Decide Your Budget
Whether your budget is a few hundred dollars or several thousand dollars, it is important to think ahead about how much money you would like to spend on your decorating project. Deciding this beforehand will help you when making design choices and decisions that may affect your expenditure.

What Is Your Design Preference?
What design style makes your heart skip a beat when you enter a room? Is it the cool, sleek lines of contemporary furnishings or the fussiness of Victorian era antiques? Collect magazine pictures of the furniture and accessories that appeal to you, even if it’s just one item in the picture. Maybe it’s only the background color that says “wow” to you. Show the pictures to your decorator and let him/her know what you like about the decor.

Functions For Your New Space
Your design professional will need to know how you plan to utilize your new space. What functions need to be accommodated? Do you eat in this room or watch television? Do you entertain guests and for how many and how often? If you read in this room, your decorator will need to know this so that appropriate illumination is provided. Flooring options, for example, are recommended according to how your space will function. Some carpet fibers are more durable than others and will wear better over time. Will your new room function as a dual space such as a guest room/home office? It is a good idea to mention to your designer any potential changes you anticipate for your future in the space. For example, will you have children or acquire a pet that will influence the design decisions now? Communicate your needs and wants to your decorator so that your space will be designed to produce those desired results.

What Goes And What Stays
One of the most important factors to consider before your consultation is what furnishings will remain and what will be removed from the space. It is not necessary to throw anything out yet. Reupholstering a sofa may breathe new life into a cherished but worn piece. Perhaps a neglected furniture piece can be refurbished, allowing you to stretch the decorating dollar. A simple change such as the hardware alone can alter the style of a piece and make it salvageable. Your decorator may make suggestions for a piece to be used in another room altogether.

What Direction Does The Room Face?
Does it really matter if the room faces north or south? Yes, your decorator will make important recommendations based on the orientation of your room. Let your decorator know if the room feels cold or gets too much sunlight. Color can be used to alter the temperature or feel of the space. Window treatments can be designed to control sunlight or glare.

How Long Do You Plan On Living In Your Home?
If you are planning to reside in your home for many years to come, the design result will improve the quality of your life and will be an investment in your home. If however, you plan to move again in a few years, choose design materials that will have wide appeal for home sale profitability. For example, select decorating elements such as carpeting and tile that are neutral in color. A cobalt blue kitchen counter, for instance, may turn off a prospective buyer.

Do You Suffer From Allergies?
This is a good time to inform your decorator of any allergies which a family member may have. Plush carpeting may not be recommended if you suffer from an allergy to dust mites, since dust can collect into the deep fibers of the carpet.

Keeping Organized
If you have organizational issues, let your decorator know. He or she can come up with creative ways to store your belongings. If you need space for a particular function, perhaps to pay bills or deal with mail, your decorator can make allowances for this in the design.

Visit Home Centers
Keep abreast of current products by visiting home centers or looking through magazines. Educate yourself about paint finishes, or visit a furniture showroom to get ideas about furniture styles that appeal to your tastes.

From your initial consultation to the completed project, communication between client and decorator/designer is of utmost importance. Your design professional should listen to your wants and needs and allow you to speak uninterrupted. Let your decorator know the look and feel you would like to experience in your space. Write down your thoughts and questions. Only then can your design professional fulfill your needs with satisfactory results. This is your space, so it’s all about you. A little preparation can make your interior decorating consultation a productive and pleasant experience.

Mary M. Bajor is the owner of A Beautiful Room, an Interior Redesign and Decorating company in Brewster NY, specializing in custom window treatments. She is a Certified Window Treatment Consultant and affiliate IDS member. She also provides decorating to sell-home staging services to prepare homes for the real estate market. For more info, visit

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