An interior designer is responsible for creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces by selecting and arranging furnishings, colors, materials, and decor elements. They consider the client's preferences, budget, and the practicality of the design to transform a space into a visually appealing and harmonious environment.
Whether you are moving into a new property, have spent several years in one without making any big changes, or are getting ready to sell, an interior designer can help you get more from your space. When we say “more,” we’re not just talking about increasing your property value (although that’s part of it), we’re talking about using your finite space in the best way possible for you.
Your home’s exterior may have attracted it to you in the first place, but you’re spending most of your time inside. An interior designer can help you adapt your space to be more aesthetically pleasing, more functional, or even worth more to a prospective buyer. Interior design can impact your property’s value by up to 20%, so it’s important to understand what an interior designer does and why you may want one for your home.
You may have heard the terms interior decorator and interior designer used interchangeably. This is a mistake.
An interior decorator is essentially an aesthetician for space. They’re skilled at beautifying a space with paint, furniture, decor, and accessories. They’ll work with furniture makers, upholsterers, and other home decor professionals to help you decorate a space to your taste and style.
An interior designer does much more than that. They have more schooling than decorators and, in some states, are even required to pass a certification exam and become registered before using the interior designer name.
That’s because interior designers often go far beyond decor to work with architects and other contractors to enhance the aesthetics, functionality, and overall ambiance of indoor spaces. This can involve selecting color schemes, furniture, decor, and layouts, while also considering factors such as lighting, spatial arrangement, and materials to achieve a harmonious and personalized interior environment.
Many people focus on their home’s exterior to boost property value, but there’s a lot you can do on the interior to get a similar increase in your home value. That said, not all interior design projects offer the same rewards. Any interior design project should consider the following:
You could hire an interior designer whenever you’d like to make a change to your home, but there are a few instances when hiring a designer is particularly pertinent.
Chances are even the dream home in your budget isn’t perfect. Many homeowners find things they don’t quite love about a new space or come up with ideas to make things a little better. When you first move in, you have more energy to tackle bigger projects than you will after you’ve lived in the home for a few years.
Ready to tackle that giant kitchen renovation you’ve been planning since you bought the house? Don’t just rely on contractors and architects to put it together; an interior designer will help you manage the entire project to ensure you love every detail, from the flooring to the fixtures. They’ll help you decide on the style and placement of cabinetry, the plumbing and electrical setup, where to put hardware, and more so, it has a completely functional feeling that meets your taste standards.
As we noted before, you can work with an interior designer on any project, big or small. That said, bear in mind that a designer will cost anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000, depending on the size and scope of the project. That’s a lot more palatable cost when you have a little padding in your budget.
A great designer will find ways to save you money on a project, and a good one will have the eye to take your project up a notch. Interior designers pay trade pricing on practically everything, which allows them to pass on savings to their clients. This is just one way that they justify their cost and make hiring a designer a worthwhile investment.
We’ve touched on the reasons why you would hire an interior designer throughout this piece, but let’s lay out the best reasons here.
By getting a designer in during the planning stages of your project, you’ll give them a full view of your project from start to finish. There are many things that can go wrong on a home improvement project, from a product not arriving on time to labor shortages.
A great designer can function almost like a foreperson, managing construction crews and supply lines to ensure everything is done thoughtfully, on budget, and on schedule.
In addition to saving you money by paying trade pricing on items, a designer will know your budget and spend money appropriately to get the best bang for your buck. They’ll choose finishes, furniture, hardware, and more that you love and that work for your budget so you don’t keep pushing the boundaries.
Likewise, they’ll oversee vendors and contractors to ensure that they aren’t overspending on construction or bringing in the wrong materials. Basically, they’ll oversee the entire project to take care of your money.
Inexperienced homeowners may want to save a buck by doing elements of a project on their own. That can be smart, but it can also be disastrous. A good interior designer has significant experience and will help you avoid the common pitfalls of home improvement projects.
Finally, and most importantly, interior designers are masters of maximizing the ROI of home improvement projects. They’ll help you maximize the square footage of your home without increasing the existing footprint and turn a space into one that you and a future buyer will love.
Whether you’re planning on selling your house in ten months or ten years, an interior designer will help you tap into ways to increase the value of your home in a competitive housing market. An interior designer is an investment that effectively manages the biggest investment of your life: your home.
Want to know how much you could make on your home sale? Orchard’s home sale calculator can help.
If you're still on the fence about hiring an interior designer, here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about this home improvement specialist:
An interior designer focuses on creating functional, safe, and aesthetically pleasing spaces by considering spatial planning, materials, and architectural elements. They often require formal education and may be involved in structural changes. On the other hand, an interior stylist primarily works with furnishings, decor, and accessories to enhance the visual appeal of a space, usually without altering its structure. They often emphasize aesthetics and trends.
The duration of an interior design project varies widely based on factors such as project scope, size, complexity, and client responsiveness. Small residential projects might take a few weeks to a few months, while larger commercial projects could extend from several months to a year or more. Timelines are influenced by design development, approvals, material sourcing, construction, and finishing.
Common qualifications in interior design include a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field. Certifications such as NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) indicate a designer's competence and knowledge. Membership in professional organizations like ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) or IIDA (International Interior Design Association) can also enhance credibility.
Hiring an interior designer can be worth it for various reasons. They bring expertise in space planning, color coordination, and sourcing, which can result in a well-designed and cohesive space. Additionally, their industry connections and knowledge of materials can help save time and potentially money. However, the value depends on the project's complexity, budget, and the client's willingness to collaborate closely with the designer.
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