Hiring a good interior decorator for your next project will save you lots of time as well as a few headaches.
Architects and remodeling contractors are the folks to call for structural planning, while interior designers work out optimal room size, traffic flow and lighting. When it comes to choosing and coordinating the color schemes, paint finishes, cabinet styles and light fixtures that go into that room, that’s where an interior decorator comes in.
A good interior decorator will save you months of hunting down product samples and other research, and prevent some potentially messy missteps. What’s more, the decorator can do everything from simply acting as a sounding board for your ideas to undertaking more involved work, like buying paint and fabric, scheduling an installation and even supervising the job.
Your contractor and interior decorator must work closely together. So begin by choosing a decorator your contractor likes, preferably someone with experience on your type of project.
Once you’ve gathered a few names, spend lots of time walking prospective decorators through your home so they know your taste. Express your likes and dislikes. And determine which ones are good listeners, essential for giving you what you want.
Then be sure you hire a decorator before building plans are drawn. Otherwise, a decorator can create cost overruns by adding or removing a window, changing the distance between doors and windows and adding recessed lights that weren’t wired behind the walls. All of these are costly alterations that often involve structural changes. You can always choose wall and carpet colors later. But your architect and contractor must know early on about design elements that affect the structure.
To streamline communication, set up a meeting early with the decorator, contractor or architect, designer and yourself. These talks often occur on a daily basis at the start of a job. Some contractors even keep a “daybook” on site in which the contractor and decorator make notes to each other in case they haven’t had a chance to touch base.
Be sure that tasks and responsibilities are clear, and that lines separating each profession’s responsibilities are respected.
Changes are inevitable once a job gets under way. That means your contractor and interior decorator must have a system for sharing and acknowledging your requests.
Be sure anything you ask for is written on a change-order request form that’s dated and signed by you and the interior decorator. If the contractor doesn’t have official forms, print out some simple homemade ones on your computer.