ASKING FOR HELP
There are a few things that stop a homeowner, renovator, or apartment dweller from seeking out help in designing their space. One is price. Many people automatically assume they can’t afford to hire a designer, and often they have no clue what it would actually cost. Many are afraid of wasting the designer’s time, so they never even send an email to find out. The second hurdle is that it is intimidating to let someone you barely know into your personal space, and to trust them to outfit your home. The third issue is just ignorance of the design process. Normally it’s a combination of the three.
Lots of people talk themselves out of it. “I don’t really know how it all works and my house is a mess, and I’m sure the design fees are out of my budget.” There is a perception that only very wealthy people can afford a designer, and that’s just not true. Most of my clients are young professional couples who just want a cozy and inviting home for their family. Many don’t have the time, energy, or talent to do it themselves and they reach out for help. In order to take some of the guesswork out of making the decision to hire a designer, I wanted to put together some typical expectations and general tips.
Consultations and proposals are generally free so what’s the harm in taking the first step. Most designers do not charge for the initial consultation, and will let you know up front if there will be a charge. The consultation is a general meeting to go over your plans, walk through the space, and discuss your ideas and needs. You should not fish for design advice or suggestions without having a service agreement in place. Since I work remotely, my initial consultation is done through email. The potential client will submit plans, inspiration, and answer some questions before I submit a proposal for their project.
Every project is different; therefore it is very difficult to tell you how much I or another designer may charge. If you are unsure if you can afford the fees, ask for a range of prices. Give the designer enough information on your project so they can make an educated guess on their design fees, and expect that it is not set in stone. My proposals and estimations are made using the information the client provides so the more detailed the better.
It’s a collaboration between both parties. As the homeowner, you have a large role in the outcome of your space. Your feedback and opinions are vital to the success of the project. Don’t be scared to make changes and to give reasons for those changes so the same design decisions are not repeated. Designers cannot read minds. I would much rather have to make multiple changes during the design process, than have your space not work for your needs.
There are different levels and types of services. There are lots of ways to utilize a professional designer from plan reviews to styling a bookcase. Maybe you can’t afford a full service design for your entire home, but you really need help laying out your Master Bathroom. Focus on where your money will bring the biggest return. The perfect backsplash in your Kitchen won’t really matter if your layout is inefficient or cumbersome.
Not every designer is a good fit for your project. Do some research before you make contact, ask lots of questions, and look at samples of their work. There are lots of options so don’t commit to someone who may not be the best person for the job. I have turned down clients because I knew it wouldn’t be a good fit from the first email. Since I work online, my perfect client needs to be internet savvy and able to implement the design on site. If you need a designer to manage your work crew and to scour flea markets for antiques, I’m not your girl. It just works out better in the end if the client’s expectations and the designer’s services coincide.
I hope this post will assist you in navigating the process and make it easier to reach out for design help, if you need it. If not, go on with your bad self. Also, don’t hesitate to comment, email, or message me with any other questions you may have. I’m here to help.