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So what exactly can an interior designer do for you?

Posted on Dec 12, 2012

By Ann-Marie Appleton

Many people believe that an interior designer:

• Will cost a lot of money
• Are only for the rich and famous
• Is an extravagant luxury
• Might see their clients as inadequate or a failure if they can’t style their house themselves
• Will impose their own taste on the property and the clients wont like the result.

A good interior designer will make a space look and function well and can have a significant impact on mood and well being.

Great colour schemes, well designed furniture and furnishings, good lighting and fabulous spaces can all make a huge difference to how we feel and react to an environment which should reflect your personal tastes and preferences. Professional interior designers are trained and have experience in a wide range of projects.

A qualified interior designer will have demonstrated through education, experience and examination their knowledge of:

• Colour theory
• Kitchen & bathroom design
• Historical restoration
• Principles of design
• History of residential housing
• Manual drafting and computer aided design (CAD)
• Building technology, services, finishes & materials
• Lighting and soft/hard furnishings.

As this list suggests, an interior designer has to be a master of many skills as this is a multi-faceted discipline. Interior designers can offer an objective view – homeowners can’t always visualise the space the way a designer can. They can push you creatively too and encourage you to explore other styles or ideas you may not have considered, or simply do not know about.

Interior designers are definitely affordable – just think of the mistakes you may have made over the years – some of of which were very costly. Dollars invested in expertise saves time, money and disappointment.

Also good design has its rewards. Your interior designer can help you save money by choosing the best value products and services. They can also boost the value of your property by creating a professional and attractive scheme, which presents itself in the best possible light.

Using an interior designer gives you access to a wider choice of products through their extensive list of suppliers, many of which are unavailable to the public.

New products come onto the market all the time and a good interior designer will keep abreast of all innovations and introduce you to them. By using their extensive range of suppliers, you will get a truly bespoke look.

Interior designers can be employed in different ways from supply or consultation to project management of the whole job. You might not be sure of what goes where or with what, but your Interior designer will do.

So what can an interior designer do for you?

A lot of our work is by referral and we always meet our clients either at their home or in our studio initially, where we determine what the ‘brief’ is. The brief is either a written or verbal discussion (depending on the size of the job) regarding the work to be undertaken.

With the rebuild and renovation of lots of homes in the Christchurch area, we are currently seeing just over 30 clients per month for exterior and interior colour consultations for new builds and earthquake repairs.

This can be a very emotional and stressful time and it is part of the interior designer’s role to instil confidence and keep this process smooth and stress free.

Some people have never built before, having always purchased ‘existing homes’ and have never had to make a decision on the colours/specification of the roof, bricks, plaster/linea, window joinery, garage door, front door, fencing, or any architectural details etc. All this can be a bit overwhelming.

The interior designer needs to have good building product knowledge and devise an appropriate colour scheme, while listening to and interpreting their client’s wishes.

The residential interior is usually a highly personal statement for the client and the designer consultation will cover colours/specifications for the flooring, paint colours, kitchen cupboards, bench top, splash back, bathroom vanities, wallpaper etc.

At this stage consideration should be given to the electrical plan, window treatments and furniture layout which will all be decided in preparation for the build or renovation.

A relationship between an interior designer and their client is often lengthy, enjoyable and very rewarding. We have some amazing clients we work with time and time again and we consider it to be a great compliment they entrust us with a very private and personal insight into their homes, families and lifestyle.

Ann-Marie Appleton is the director of interior design company Frobisher Interiors. She holds a diploma in interior design and is a member of DINZ.
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