One of the things I hear over and over from people upon hearing I’m a Designer is “Oh! I’d LOVE to hire a Designer — if I had a million dollars”. My reaction to this is always an odd mix of being thrilled you fully understand I charge fees for my services, expect to be paid on time and do not work for free commingled with a heavy dose of “how do you know? You never asked what those fees are”. Well, Gentle Reader, while you are 100% correct that Designers cost money, you might be surprised to learn that, while you DO need to have SOME money, you needn’t be a millionaire and you really do get what you pay for.
If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, are moving in together and marrying your individual styles, are buying your first place, etcetera, you can always hire a Designer for a two hour Consultation. In an urban area, this will set you back a few hundred dollars and payment will be due at the time of your appointment but you will get a wealth of ideas, learn rules of best practice for kitchens/bathrooms, and get the inside scoop on the BEST SUPPLIERS open to the public who can help you with your project once you’re on your own. Your end result will be far better than you imagined and you’ll likely have saved by not making costly mistakes. That money saved will easily cover the cost of the Consultation so it’s totally worth it. I personally have had Clients bring me in for just a Consultation, be delighted with their results, and end up hiring me for an additional project when they saw the value of my Design Services. Furthermore, Designers understand lighting, colour, layering, space planning and other Design Fundamentals (some of which I’ll write about in future posts) that make a space not only look beautiful but can affect your emotional response, feel and even the ease with which you move about in your space. Designers also think of things people often don’t when making purchases such as DOORS, HALLWAYS and ELEVATORS. I helped a good friend when she bought her first condo. She wanted a sectional and we found a gorgeous one in a sumptuous velvet that came in two pieces. Before she put her money down, I measured her doors, halls, elevators and compared them with the specifications of the piece to make sure it would fit in. This is super important because if it doesn’t, vendors often have policies in place - usually that you’re stuck with it as it was your error and now your problem or they’ll take it back and sell it as a floor model refunding your money but charging a ‘restocking fee’ averaging about $250. Some might take it back to resell but charge you the full amount regardless (it’s usually in the fine print so ask before you buy). In this case, I knew the two pieces would fit in but it’d be a snug go. It was tilted up through the door, slid down the entry hall, tipped down and lifted over the kitchen island into place (as I predicted). She was thrilled with the piece but if it had been an inch bigger she’d have been SOL. Another thing Designers have access to are TRADE ONLY manufacturers. These vendors can make custom upholstered (ie sofas) and case goods (ie tables) designed by your Designer specifically for you using fabrics that aren’t available to the public. You will get items that are perfectly suited to your needs and taste and won’t be like anything your friends have. You might be surprised to learn these items often cost the same or not significantly more than stock items you could buy at a mid-range furniture store. Another bonus of consulting a Designer is if you want to do a project but you simply don’t realize the actual cost. You might want to redo your kitchen and have $10,000 saved and think $10,000 is plenty to remodel your kitchen because that’s a lot of money to you (spoiler alert: nooooope) but a Designer can give you the harsh truth about what that’ll really get you. On the upside, they can advise you how best to save up for that dream kitchen, where your dollars should best be spent or there may be facelift type refreshes you can do that would give you a new looking kitchen - but not a complete renovation- that $10,000 would cover.
I hope this gives you some insight into the Design World and shows you the value that comes from hiring a Designer. You really don’t have to win the lottery and you really can get help on your space regardless of what you can afford. Everyone deserves to live in a beautiful space. Including you.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back regularly for new posts.