So you purchased a new home, congratulations! Now, as you start to unpack and look around, your thoughts are where do I start? Call a Designer. Lets start out by dismissing the myth that you need to be “Rich” to hire a designer. There are many ways to work with a designer/decorator on you your decorating projects. Before you call in a professional interior designer make a list of questions and concerns you may have. Next make a “wish list” of everything you would like in your new home.
Decide your budget, and make a true budget, then call several designers to see their work, talk to them, see if any friends can recommend a designer, and go with the one you feel most comfortable with since you will be working together for a while.
Ask upfront about fees, and services provided. If your budget can not accommodate a full time designer, ask about hourly fees. Hourly fees work well if you consider yourself to have a “good eye”, and just need some guidance. If not, you can work from room to room. A good hint is to start in the most used room in your home, the family room, complete it and move on from there. This not only finishes one room completely, but also allows you to review your designers work . Another note , do not be afraid to question your designer/decorators choice. It is still your home and you still have the final say, but also listen to your professional interior designer or interior decorator , you hired them, listen to them.
If you decide to hire an interior designer, have a game plan. Get the mess out of the way first. Start with a proposal of any construction changes, electrical changes or additions, plumbing changes, wall covering removal, any surround sound and speaker additions, hard flooring installations, and any moldings that are to be added. Now, after the mess is all cleaned up,it is time to have the real fun.
Have your designer start with a scaled floor plan of furniture placement, also know as space planning. This will show furniture placement only. With a scale, the interior designer can accurately give you sizes and walk areas that will be needed and available. A material board should then be presented to show all the fabrics, wall finishes, furniture finishes, actual photographs of the furniture that is proposed to be used, drapery and window treatments, and an itemized proposal. Now, after all this is place, there should be no surprises.
The entry or foyer is the calling card for you and your home, so pay special attention when planing this space. The feel when you enter a home will say a lot about what to expect in the rest of the home. If you are more laid back, have an elegant but casual feel in the foyer, if you are looking for the dramatic, go for”WOW” factor. Either way, let the foyer be warm and comfortable.
Moving onto the living room and dining room. If you do not entertain formally, think of another use for these areas. Many people think that because these areas are dedicated”Living and Dining Areas” they need to utilize them accordingly, no so. It seems a waste of time, let alone the expense, of furnishing these room to look pretty, and just walk by and look in. Utilize these areas by thinking out of the box. Would you use a pool table instead of a dining table, a home theater instead of formal living room, them do it. At first, guests may be taken back by how you used your space, but be assured they will be rethinking there space when they leave.
Usually the last room to be completed is the master bedroom, and why, I do not know. I like to think of this room as the all important “hide-a-way”. The master bedroom is the most intimate room in the home. It should reflect the true you! Nothing is more relaxing and inviting that a master bedroom that has all the comfort and necessities one could ask for. Take time in planning this area since master bedrooms are not changed very often, and again ,why, I do not know. Pull photographs of other rooms, items, and furnishings you would love to have and hand them to your designer. It is their job to present you with your own “Dream Bedroom”. Pay special attention to light control in this area, especially if you need “black out” conditions for resting and do not forget about a lounging area if your room will accommodate it.
Moving on to the secondary bedrooms in your home. Think, think, think! How many guest rooms do you want or need. Can any of these dedicated bedrooms be used for exercise equipment or a home office. Again, think out of the box in terms of utilizing your space. Its your space, you paid for it, you use it. If you do need additional sleeping space occasionally, think of using a sleeper sofa or Murphy Beds. With the comfort level of today’s sleeper sofas or the additional storage and function of a Murphy Bed, this could be your answer. If you decide to utilize one room as a dedicated guest room, think of using 2 twin beds with a center nightstand. Not only will this accommodate single guests, but you can push them together for a couple. The cost factor is less and the function is doubled.
Finally, the Kitchen and Family rooms. This, as everyone knows is the heart and soul of the home. No matter how many rooms you have, or how large your home is, ever try to get your guest away form your kitchen? We both know the answer is YES! To rectify this situation, besides trying a velvet rope divider, add as many bar stools around the perimeter of your kitchen as possible. This will give your family members and guest the cozy kitchen, feel good sense, but keeps them out of your way. You may have to instruct them to take a seat, but eventually they will take the hint, MOVE! In your family room, again accommodate as seating as possible. If you need to add additional seating by the TV, but for conversation the chairs need to be in a different direction, consider swivel chairs. The chairs are available in a variety of styles, both in fabrics and leathers, and usually do the trick.
In closing, these are basic guide lines to follow whether you hire a designer or not. There will always be exceptions to every rule, but do not be afraid to try something new. A basic start could be with paint. If you hate the way it looks, just paint over it. Keep it simple, easy, and enjoy. The International Design House philosophy, “Beautifying the world, one room at a time.”