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Planning an Interior Design Project? Read This First!
Whether you are planning to hire an interior designer or start a design project yourself, there are several things you will want to keep in mind. I have put together a list of critical considerations as well as some printables to help you prepare!
An interior design project can have a lot of moving parts. If you are planning a large renovation or designing an entirely new home interior, you may want to consider hiring an interior designer. If you are creative, know exactly what you want, and just want a minor “spruce up”, you may want to handle the project yourself. Either way, here are some guidelines that will help your project go as smoothly as possible.
- What is the scope of your project? The more decisions you can make before starting your project, the better off you will be. Are you merely looking for a “room refresh” with a new paint color and some new accessories? or are you interested in a completely new room with a new layout and new furnishings? Will you want to make any structural changes (i.e. move a wall or doorway)? Will your new space require any electrical changes, plumbing changes, or new ductwork and insulation?
- What are your “must haves”? Next, what are your “really wants”? Lastly, what are your “would be nice, but not necessary”
- Who are the inhabitants of the home? How many children? Age and sex of children? Pets? Live in parents? Any mobility issues? Hobbies and priorities of the family (see my post on Priority Driven Design). Any special requests? Collections to display?
- What are your budget and timeframe? Make sure both are realistic. Make a list of any known expenditures such as new furniture, fixtures, or finishes (paint, flooring, etc.).
- Which styles do you like? Put together a notebook, Pinterest board, or folder of looks you like.
- What colors do you have in mind?
- What is the desired function of the space? List them all! Is the space a family room? Watching TV and movies, somewhere to play games or study, and somewhere to store movies, games, books, and game consoles should be on the list.
- Which adjectives describe your ideal space?
- What rooms will you include?
- Is everything working now? What do you wish to improve? Some of the types of things to consider are:
- Space Planning (can the space accommodate the activities intended for the room? Is there enough storage?)
- Finishes (paint, flooring, trim)
- Accessibility (if you have anyone with mobility limitations, can they easily traverse the space and easily access any features or storage?)
- Any other special requirements (do you have small children who require additional safety features? Does the room require any special equipment or storage? What are the electrical, plumbing, heat/air, data requirements?)
- What do you want to remove? (old finishes like popcorn ceilings, wood paneling, old flooring, etc.)
- What is the age of your home? Are there any special considerations due to the age of the home (asbestos, plaster walls or ceilings, etc.)
- If you want to hire a designer, do your homework. Find a designer whose work has a “look” you admire. Look at their website and online portfolio. Check any ratings on Google, HomeAdvisor, or any site (that’s not theirs) to get honest feedback. Determine if the designer is licensed if located in a state that requires licensure. I suggest finding two or three possibilities to choose from. Their availability, personality, or prices may not meet your needs, so it’s good to have options.
- Make sure the designer’s details the work to be done, the time frame, and how they charge in their contract. Make sure to read everything and get a copy for your records.
- Confirm that the designer has adequate insurance, and bonding if they are going to do any of the work themselves. This protects you if there is an injury during the project.
- Also, check that the designer hires vetted, bonded and insured contractors. You have a right to know who you allow into your home. In addition, you may want to include in the contract that all persons on site have been screened for any undesirable legal history (such as felonies, misdemeanors, or a history of suing homeowners). Also, include the contractor’s name in the contract so that you are notified if there are any changes. If this happens, it’s usually due to a scheduling error, not something more sinister, but you will want the designer to notify you. I would also do a check on the contractor by checking for online reviews.
- I suggest you request a calendar which will let you know what will be happening in your home, and when. For example, if you are remodeling your kitchen, you will want to plan for food preparation alternatives during the time that your kitchen is inoperable. Calendars will change due to unforeseen circumstances, but you should be notified of any changes. Also, you will probably want to establish some guidelines as to times workers can be performing tasks in your home.
Whether you hire a designer, or tackle the project yourself, planning ahead will make the process much less daunting. Knowing what to expect and what to look for can help you get the best possible outcome. Good luck with your project, and feel free to share you results with me! I’d love to hear your successes (and challenges)!
Until next time,