Finding home design help can free up valuable time and energy. Learn the difference between an interior designer, decorator or consultant for the right fit.
As more home owners choose to update their homes rather than buying new, the need for finding home design help has grown proportionately. Home design professionals are well worth the investment but finding the right home design help by knowing the differences between an interior designer or decorator, architect or contractor, and home center consultant will help you identify the perfect home design expert for your specific project.
Hiring a Home Consultant
The home consultant is most often found at a home improvement store, furniture show room or other related home product store. I found mine when I bought a bed online, she answered my call about a query I had and later I hired her to come to my home to help with the bedroom decor. Their services are often free if you choose to purchase home project supplies from their store. They are qualified to answer a wide variety of design and and decorating questions specific to their assigned department.
A home center consultant may have a professional interior design license but at the minimum will have completed various retail design workshops.
Most offer some level of a computer design service to help identify and configure the look you want through this software. These computer programs will draw floor plans to the scale of any room, manipulate color, add cabinets, flooring, fixtures, etc. This provides the client with an idea of the finished result before he/she commits to the costs associated with purchase and installation.
Choosing a consultant can be hit or miss in respect to the design skill they bring to the table, but the service they provide is a great value if you are planning to do the project yourself and are happy to purchase through their representative stores.
Selecting an Interior Designer
The title of “interior designer” is used for a professional in the field who has completed a 2 to 4 year degree in interior design and has passed a comprehensive licensing exam. An interior designer will help you plan a budget and lay out floor plans by considering function of the room, space, design trends, and the family’s needs.
When bringing your own design ideas to the table, an interior designer will be able to spot areas that may need adjustment. They can also improve function by spotting areas that may be falling short when it comes to making the best use of the available space.
Most have the resources to find and purchase specialty furnishings at better prices than retail. Fees range from hourly, one time fee or cost plus mark up percentage based on what is purchased through their service.
Hiring an interior designer is a good choice if you want a new designed look and are more interested in the end result rather than the process.
Hiring a Home Interior Decorator
Interior decorators use the existing decor to enhance what you already have. They can also create a new scheme also from using what is also available simply by adding additional accents or repurposing furniture. Viewing the room in new ways, they are experts at pulling in a new look by identifying and defining your sense of style.
Interior decorators are not required to be licensed though they too may possess a 4 year degree or are certified through a technical school or industry/retail program. Most charge by the hour and also have access to money-saving furniture and accessory resources.
Interior decorators are perfect for that home design project when your eye is on saving money and will be content with what you have by giving it a fresh new look.
Selecting a Residential Architect
When a major home design project is in the works such as enlarging a kitchen, changing the floor plan or adding a bathroom an Architect is the one you need to get the job done right. They deal with the structural foot print of your home and will ensure these structural changes are done solidly and according to state and federal codes.
The education of an architect is extensive; requiring 6 to 8 years to earn a degree, followed by a 3-year internship program and a final certification exam.
A project that requires an Architect will most likely need a partnered contractor and possibly a designer to complete the home design plan. The architect then acts as the liaison between all professionals by integrating all the design plans from each participating professional, providing a blue print and then supervises the work to ensure it proceeds according to that plan.
Architects may charge a flat hourly fee or present a 10% to 20% contract for the total construction cost.
Hiring an architect is the safe way when making major changes to your home’s original structure.
Picking a Home Contractor
A contractor is the right hand man of the architect. These are the foot soldiers of an extensive home design project. Contractors file the necessary building permits along with any other legal documents that are required. They will schedule deliveries and can often get discounted deals from their frequently used lumber yards.
They are up to date on county building codes, have connections with quality subcontractors and most educate themselves in the latest building materials, in order to stay competitive.
Contractors must be licensed with the state, city and county in which they are working, but they are not required to have a university level degree. They may, however, be members of a state building association which requires a high degree of workmanship and good standing with the Better Business Bureau.
Cost plus fee is determined by size, number of hours and overall price of project.
Even if your updated home design is planned, the benefits to getting a home design expert’s opinion is a good option. The quality of the work you do will determine the additional equity value that results from those new home design spaces, as well as providing immediate happy home comfort.