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Working with an Interior Designer

Finding the right designer, briefing them properly and setting a budget: ingredients for a happy relationship with your interior designer.

Finding the Right Designer

‘Ask around,’ advises Francois du Plessis. ‘Perhaps your architect has experience of working with a good designer, maybe a friend can recommend someone they used or there’s a particular space, say a hotel or a restaurant, whose look really resonates with you. Have a chat to the owner of the place. Personal referrals are always the best way to go.’

‘Don’t just hire the first designer you find,’ says David Muirhead. ‘Meet with a few designers and look for variety when going through their portfolios – a good designer will enhance a client’s personal style rather than impose his own on the project.’

Robert Sherwood suggests using the first consultation with your prospective designer as a ‘getting to know each other’ exercise: ‘Be very clear about your decorating likes and dislikes and also on the level of involvement you’re wanting from your designer: are you looking for a consultant only or is your designer required to manage the whole project from start to finish?’

Just as important as a style understanding is that your personalities gel, he emphasises: ‘If you can’t get along with your designer, your project will have bad energy from the get go.’

Yes, finding someone who has a personality you can work with, who shares your basic design aesthetic and who will realistically take into account your budget is important, but, above all, says Sumari Krige, your designer needs to inspire you: ‘If her portfolio doesn’t excite you, you’ve not yet found the right designer.’

Writing a Good Design Brief

‘A good design brief gives your designer clear direction without removing her freedom to bring something to the table,’ says Sumari Krige. ‘Your brief should primarily focus on outcomes rather than the aesthetics of design – the latter is the responsibility of your designer.’

‘Nothing beats a client who has done her homework,’ adds Sarah Ord. ‘Magazine and catalogue clippings are enormously helpful when it comes to explaining to your designer the look you’re after. The more information you can include – from style of the furnishings to colours, textures and scales – the better.’

Also, be clear on your budget and time frames, advises David Muirhead: ‘This will help your designer assess whether the scope of the project is possible within the given perimeters.’

Setting a Budget

‘Work backwards,’ advises Robert Sherwood. ‘Go through each and every element of your project with your decorator and have him work out the costs involved and choices available to you within your budget.’

‘Always keep a contingency in mind, particularly if a renovation is involved, as there are so many things that can crop up during the process that may not have been accounted for in the original budget,’ suggests Sarah Ord. ‘Ask your designer to break down the costing in as much detail as possible and then go through it together to see where you can nip and tuck.’

‘It’s all in the details,’ agrees Natalie Bulwer. ‘A budget can be stretched but an unfinished room scheme is a disappointment to both the client and the designer.’

Reference “Realestate Magazine” – See Link below:

Realestate Magazine Article

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