Archive for May, 2010


Why We Need Interior Designer?

An interior designer is responsible for the interior design, decoration, and functionality of a client’s space, whether the space is commercial, industrial, or residential. Interior designers work closely with architects and clients to determine the structure of a space, the needs of the occupants, and the style that best suits both.

The position is a combination of engineer and artist, and it takes a unique type of mind to handle both of those concepts well. Interior designers have to be good with more than color, fabric, and furniture; interior designers must know materials, have budgeting skills, communicate well, and oversee the ordering, installation, and maintenance of all objects that define a space. They also have to know about electrical capacity, safety, and construction. This broader range of required knowledge distinguishes them from interior decorators.

Of course, interior designers cost too. But hiring a professional interior designer from the start will prevent from having to pay unexpected costs like: the wrong color, the unsuitable piece of furniture, the “no-style” decorations and the out of place accents. In the modern competitive society, you might as well get lucky and find a decorator that offers a first consultation free of charge. Now, that’s a price worth paying!

Required Skills in Interior Designers:

• As members of a service profession, interior designers’ fortunes depend on their ability to satisfy clients. Thus, they must possess three important skill sets-artistic and technical skills, interpersonal skills and management skills.

• Designers must know how to plan a space and how to render that plan visually, so that it can be conveyed to the client. They must also be knowledgeable about the materials and products that will be used to create and furnish the space, and about how texture, color, lighting and other factors combine and interact to give a space its “feel” or “look.” In addition, they must understand the structural requirements of their plans, the health and safety issues, building codes, and many other technical aspects.

• Designers must be comfortable meeting and dealing with many kinds of people. They must communicate clearly and effectively, as well as be attentive listeners. Because they often must work collaboratively with architects, contractors, and other service providers, designers need to be both good team leaders and good team players. They must be willing to negotiate and mediate when necessary to resolve problems.

• Designers must have excellent time and project management skills, since they frequently work on more than one project at a time, under demanding deadlines, while looking for new projects or clients. They must be able to develop and execute business plans in order to protect and grow their practices. They need to know how to market themselves to clients, to create informative and persuasive proposals and presentations, and to maintain good client relationships.

• Interior designers are often confused with interior decorators, but there’s a difference. An interior decorator requires no formal education, usually works on homes, and focuses mainly on furnishings and decor. Interior designers, on the other hand, are professionally educated and trained. They coordinate with architects, engineers, and contractors and must understand fire codes, ergonomics, lighting, acoustics, and the implementation of technology. Finally, they must oversee the actual implementation of their design.

How Designer Works:

• Analyzing the client’s requirements

• Formulating design concepts

• Presenting concepts, getting client feedback, and revising the plan as needed.

• Preparing final drawings and specifications, including materials, finishes, furnishings, and fixtures for the people in charge of procurement and construction.

• Preparing and revising budgets

• Overseeing the implementation of the design


Are You Ready to Work With Your Interior Designer?

If you are about to work with an interior designer for the first time, make sure you know what you want.

First off, your interior designer is on your side so fear not! It may sound a bit strange, but some people can be intimidated by what the designer is going to recommend for your space. Thousands of people invest in a designer because they are confident that the designer is adequately qualified and know what they are doing.

You may be a large corporation or a student living in a tiny apartment, it is possible to mix the latest design trends with your own personal style. Second, understand your needs and know what you want.

Are you remodeling your kitchen? Or maybe a bathroom – they are both extremely important areas in the home and both have a high usage rate, and are both potentially quite expensive.. so it is important to know exactly what your requirements are.

Assuming that you had a budget prior to enlisting the services of an interior designer, you need to be ready now to stick to that budget! An interior designer is not necessarily going to spend all your money, but they will have new and innovative ideas, technologies and options for your space that maybe you didn’t previously think about, and therefore didn’t budget for.

It is important to always allow a bit of a buffer within the budget for any really amazing ideas presented by the interior designer that you can’t resist, or, of course for any problems that may arise. The next step is to research your designer. New York City has an abundance of interior designers and so the choice can be quite tough. Obviously go for someone who has insurance and relevant qualifications, then take the time to review their previous work. Remember that the space you are going to remodel is important to you and will cost hard earned cash, so put in the time to investigate the designer properly.

Interior designers will have a portfolio consisting of photographs and client satisfaction reports that will help you to ascertain whether or not this designer is the one for you. Another piece of advice, ask the designer if it is possible to view some of their previous projects onsite. This will allow you to get a feeling for the space the designer has created and help you to also confirm your ideas about your own space.

Once you have decided that the style of the interior designer is what you like, take a little extra time to make sure that you are on the same page verbally. Ok, so perhaps you’re not going to be best buddies (although it may help you to get along a little) but it is also important that you are both able to communicate well with one another.

It is really important with this kind of professional relationship to be able to convey to your interior designer exactly what you want and at the same time to be able and willing to let them guide some of the decision making.

So you have made your choice! You are happy, the designer is happy, now let’s keep it that way. Qualified and professional interior designers in New York City are organized. But it is good for you to also be organized, so come to your first meeting with a good plan.

Timeframes are really important as this may affect your budget. Ensure that you have realistic timeframes on paper, taking into consideration things like importing that granite bench from Italy, or your hand made toilet from Greece – these things take time to arrive, and when they do they are worth it… but you don’t want to be stressed waiting if you haven’t allowed appropriate timeframes.

Also ensure you have confirmed your budget, with buffering, and be completely honest with your designer that this is the absolute and final figure. Other good tips for relationship building with your interior designer is to have some really clear ideas about textures, lighting, technologies, any structural changes you have thought about. Bring magazines, take photographs of previously visited homes or design centres, you could also put together your own book of paint, tile, carpet or fabric samples. All these things will assist your designer to get a really good feel of your tastes, likes and dislikes when it comes to your living or working spaces.

Finally, remember to have a little fun as well. Remodeling and designing, while it can be stressful, is also really exciting and can be really fun. So trust your own tastes and trust in your interior designer choice, keep communication open and honest and enjoy the process.


Interior Designers Portfolios – What to Expect From Your First Meeting With a Designer

One of the most effective ways for an interior designer to sell his or her services is through the use of a portfolio. An interior designer portfolio showcases a designer’s best work in a way that appeals to the client. It puts together some of the finest designs and solutions that a designer has come up with during the process of his or her career and for this reason, almost works like a self-portrait.

Interior designer portfolios used to be portable cases or files holding samples of the designer’s work. In other words, they were essentially paper products. Now however, interior designers increasingly use a combination of paper folders or portable cases and the internet to display their portfolios.

A good interior designer portfolio typically has a series of samples of the designer’s work in a logical sequence beginning from a simple design and then moving on to more complex designs. Some interior designer portfolios also display ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures enabling the client to see firsthand the kind of work that the designer is capable of. Quite a few interior designer portfolios also include detailed descriptions of the design elements used in the room as displayed on the portfolio. Some portfolios are arranged in terms of styles, e.g., ‘modern contemporary’, ‘traditional country’, ‘relaxed sophistication’, ‘romantic’ and so on whilst others are arranged in terms of utility like bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.

Another interesting way by which interior designer portfolios are arranged is in terms of preferences for certain country or regional living styles, such as; Italian, French, Asian, Colonial, and Mediterranean. It is also seen that some portfolios mix and match such arrangements to provide a brief but comprehensive overview.  A few portfolios add brief descriptions of the design and the overall look and feel of the rooms and the house after the design.

The entire review of the portfolio as presented by the designer to the client generally takes about 10 minutes. The layout and presentation is planned in such a way that the client takes an immediate interest in the skills of the designer. Many portfolios have been reproduced in a different format from the original work for portability. These may include photographs and electronic images.

Interior designer portfolios may also have information about the company or the individual together with contact information including telephone numbers, addresses, email and website information.

Since the space restrictions on the internet are much less, there is far more scope for displaying the designer’s creativity on the web. A larger number of photographic samples of the designer or firm can be included. A number of websites also list client testimonials to lend credibility to the website.


How Interior Design Consultancies Use Lighting – The Lighting Toolbox

Six main lighting tools are considered foundational by established interior design consultancies. These are down-lighters, up-lighters, wall-washers, decorative lighting, colour and control. Many London interior design consultancies will preferentially think of these mostly in terms of mood and results – from daring highlights to soft textures – instead of as hardware and installations.

Down-lighters are often set back into a false ceiling, although some interior design consultancies will prefer to install them on walls. These units will direct light downwards, and can be focused by the design team as necessary, perhaps to illuminate the floor or a favourite contoured bookcase. Most interior design consultancies recognise that this type of light is very sharp and will generate somewhat intense shadows, which can be a refreshing contrast to the occasionally dreary London weather. The most popular units are always available in narrow beam designs, which are best for highlighting certain features. Interior design consultancies will sometimes opt for a wide beam model instead. One nice technique that I have seen used in a few London residences is to create an array of shimmering ceiling lights with wide-beam downlighters. This is appropriate when the interior design consultancy wishes to create a more general, ambient light, but with a fabulous designer feel.

Up-lighters wash the ceiling with light, and the ceiling then serves as its own lighting fixture, bouncing relaxing and general illumination back into the living area. Interior design consultancies will use up-lighters to create an engaging feeling of openness and upward motion when the ceiling is painted a dark colour, in which case the reflected lumens will be low. Up-lighters in London are often either free standing or wall-mounted, usually above head-height to eliminate dazzle. One great technique that I once saw used by a well-known London interior design consultancy was to incorporate a fabulous up-lighter that was recessed into the floor as a central feature, creating drama and powerful contrast for a cove and elongated column.


Breathtaking Interior Designs Are Always the Goal

Interior designers are often asked about the origins of the profession – especially in the context of quality of life versus product. Has our modern quality of life driven our craving for high-quality design, or has design really been more of a primary impactor in defining how we enjoy wellness? In this article, I will draw on my experience in London’s prestigious interior design community to reflect on how the design process works from this perspective.

When interior designers begin engaging with a potential client, they will often ask about function. What is the desired purpose and use of the room or residence? The answer to this question has a profound impact on everything we do. If a client is desperate for luxury high-end London extravagance in the form of a damask settee, we may recommend a synthetic damask fabric instead of cotton or satin for a household that includes young kids and a pet dog. Breathtaking interior designs are always the goal, but only in the context of compatibility with our clients’ unique London lifestyles.

Interior designers will work hard to understand client requirements from the outset. Some professional London Interior Design consultancies will even have a series of highly structured interview questions that they routinely use. The interior designer will offer a free consultation at the client’s home – whether inside or outside London – to discover exactly what the client loves and hates about their current residence. Budget should be a conversation point from the very beginning. It is important to clarify whether the client prefers to be given fifteen different interior design options from which to choose, or just two or three.

One area that can be really challenging for the interior designer is when a husband and wife have different ideas about the desired outcome. This can happen regardless of whether the individuals are happily married or considering an impending separation. The interior designer sometimes gets “caught in the middle,” which can cause real tension.

In recent years, the London interior design community has seen a real upwelling in terms of social media and internet-enabled design opportunities. One of the most positive results is that would-be clients are now much better informed regarding interior design themes and concepts. Londoners read articles just like this one and start to get a sense of the interior design process even before we reach their front door or exchange our first set of emails!