INTERIORS When to turn to an interior designer

When to turn to an interior designer

Interior Design
Naoimh Tuohy

Design can be daunting. Where to start? What materials to use? Which colours to choose? It’s never-ending and stressful.
Construction, and by extension, interior design, can be complex and confusing – even for the professional with 40 years experience! Every project is different and every client is unique, and therein lies the challenge. Creating a space AND taking lifestyle and personal choice into consideration requires skill and expertise.
Throw into this equation the unforeseen problems that undoubtedly arise throughout the course of any job, and most people will start furiously flicking through the yellow pages, looking for professional advice.
So, how do you decide whether or not to employ an interior designer? What exactly is their role and ultimately, is it money well spent?
Firstly, it’s important to establish just how big an overhaul you want to take on. A mini interior facelift or simple ideas on colours and fabrics can very easily be obtained online or in magazines. However, if you’re intending to take on a large project, possibly involving anything from a total revamp of your home to a part or full renovation, then a good interior designer (or architect if your budget allows it) might be a clever choice. They will have the knowledge and expertise to make the best decisions when it comes to utilising your space in the most efficient way. And not only that, they will be able to bring a creative slant which you might struggle with.
Troubleshooting and project management are also among the invaluable services that designers can bring to the table. It’s one thing to choose the materials and decide on colours, but it can be quite another to be on site on a regular basis, constantly solving problems as they arise, smoothing lines of communication between builder and client and effectively ensuring that adequate attention is paid to all aspects of the project no matter how big or small. Spending money on a project manager can be money very well spent, because if you can’t be there to make day-to-day decisions, mistakes WILL be made and they could end up costing you a small fortune to fix.
And of course, there’s the issue of trade contracts and insider knowledge. Designers will have access to a network of builders, painters, carpenters and various other tradesmen that they will have tried and tested over the years, so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re up for the job. Their references will have been fully checked and recommendations sought so that you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re getting the best person for the job.
All in all, good designers are worth their weight in gold. Scheduling, building costs, delays and choosing of fabrics and materials, to name just a few, are all areas that need proper attention, and without a control system in place, budgets can skyrocket and before you know it the price tag has doubled and you’re not even half way through the job. But remember, whoever you employ, be sure to get one or two recent references. At the end of the day, they’re only as good as their last job.