By Julie Ann Segal
As featured in Exploring TOSCA magazine, Spring 2014 issue. Find it here.
Your home is important to you. Day in, day out, it’s there – welcoming you back, offering comfort. Whether you’ve been there for years or just moved in, inevitably there’s a time when it needs something from you, too.
In older homes, things wear out or get outdated. In a new home, you might want to customize it to your taste and needs. Small interior design changes can be easy, but larger ones can be an immense undertaking – something you might not want to do. Especially when you have a lot of other things going on.
Whether the “something” your home needs is major or minor, how do you know when to call in a professional?
When You Don’t…
You know exactly what you want
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, where to find it, and how to install it, you probably don’t need a designer.
You have remodeled on your own
The first time we attempt anything we usually “don’t know what we don’t know”, until it’s too late. But if you’ve learned from your mistakes, you might be fine handling things yourself.
You are replacing with the same thing
Say your home needs a coat of fresh paint or your carpet’s worn down. Unless you want to explore new possibilities, these kinds of things can be taken care of without a designer’s input.
You have no restrictions on time or money
Maybe you enjoy experimenting with redecorating, and can afford expenditures to get things right by “trial and error”. Although mistakes may be costly, if you enjoy the process, you may be comfortable going it alone.
When You Do…
You’re not sure what you want
When you know it’s time for a change, but aren’t sure what, you should definitely consult with a designer. They make things easy by helping you identify your style, guiding you through current innovations and trends, and pulling the elements of your room together for you. Any good designer will narrow down your best choices, and present you with options. The technology they have at-hand for creating to-scale floor plans and drawings makes it easy for you to see variations on your room’s design.
At the end of the process, I often hear clients so impressed, remarking that they couldn’t have done it themselves. That’s what we’re here for: Interior Designers are trained at listening, getting to know you, and then creating a design for what you (didn’t even know you) wanted.
You know what you like, but have little experience
Remember how I said sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know? You might have a knack for some things, but some you might not have a clue on how to start (bathroom remodel? new kitchen floor? living room décor?).
For example, one client ordered carpeting, and didn’t learn until it was installed that the pattern was much larger than she thought, based on the sample. Another purchased and returned four different chairs before finding the one that fit with her décor. Both knew what they liked, but their inexperience led to frustrating mistakes.
You don’t have time
If you have a project with a deadline, you might be better off turning it over to a professional. Most projects end up taking longer – especially if they’re something you don’t have experience with, and when you can’t find what you’re looking for.
With your vision in mind, designers can find what you are looking for quicker. They have knowledge and readily-available sources to, for example, find the piece of art that’ll make the room. They’re also experts at project management, and can keep things on track, coordinating with vendors and contractors so you don’t have to.
If you’ve just moved in, are preparing to sell, recently married, going through a divorce, or downsizing, chances are there’s something the house needs. Transitions, stressful enough, are often times when homes need attention. Taking the job of a home update off your plate could give you some breathing space. Delegate projects. Placing them in the hands of a trustworthy professional will ease stress.
You need to stay within a budget
Interior designers understand budgets, and are able to help you find the best prices and make cost-cutting recommendations if need be. They’ve done the research, legwork and networking on your behalf.
When you hire a professional, you’ll get his or her design expertise, vast collection of resources, and project management experience. Whether you decide to do so for your project, or to take it on yourself, I hope you end up with a room or a look you love. Your home (and you) deserve it.