When is it time to hire a decorator?

Quatrine furniture showroom

So, you want to hire a decorator/designer, but you don’t know if you are ready?  Here are a few things to ask yourself  before you begin:

1.  Do you keep spending money on items for a room, but it still doesn’t look “pulled together” or styled?

2.  Has it taken you more than a month to make a final decision on a paint color for a wall or to decide on a piece of furniture to buy?

3.  Do you want to begin to decorate your house, but you just can’t seem to figure out where to start?

If you are answering yes to any of the above questions, then it may be time to consult a professional!  Keep in mind that a good decorator will listen to your wants and needs and then lead you to a place where functionality meets design and your home becomes a stylized reflection of you.  When hiring a decorator, take time to not only look at their portfolio, but also evaluate how you “feel” while with them during the consultation.  My approach is that design and decor should be a fun and exciting journey between the client and professional.  This needs to occur from the beginning interview to the end of the project!  I think your decorator’s energy and communication style is just as important as their portfolio.  Also, in my opinion, a fabulous designer can work within any style genre.  When a potential client asks me what my style is, I tell them that when I design a space, it is based on the client’s needs as well as the architecture of the home. The two should compliment each other.

Here are a few questions to ask the decorator/designer during the interview:

* Will the decorator expect a retainer before beginning the project and then bill his/her hourly fee against it?  Or, does the decorator take a percentage of the entire budget?   I try to give my clients an estimate of the average amount of hours a project will take at the consult.   This information gives them a clear understanding of what their billing hours are and helps them establish their budget.

* Will the hours billed be presented to you in a summary format every week?  You want to know how your decorator is charging you for her time.  I send an email weekly with a summary of hours billed.

* Some decorators will charge you a percentage over retail for selecting items for you.  This should be stated clearly so you understand how you will be billed for something purchased for you.

* Will the decorator charge you a “trip fee” if he or she has to travel over a certain amount of miles?

My last tip: When you decide to hire someone, release some of the control and let them do their job! You will end up saving time and billing hours in the end.  If you have hired the correct decorator, then the collaboration will be one of success.  Just trust in the process and allow them to work their magic as that is what they do well!