What does an Interior Designer really do?

Okay, so this may be a silly question to ask, right?  But have you really thought about what our design process really is?  Most people think Interior Designers or Decorators live a glamorous life fluffing pillows and picking out beautiful fabrics for window treatments and furniture.  Although that is a fun part of my job, I can tell you it’s not as glamorous as you may think.  If I were to give those of us in the industry a different title it would be “Problem Solver.”  Yep, that pretty much sums it up… THE END!

Okay, so I’ll go into a little more detail than that.  We not only solve your decorating dilemmas, but we solve all the little problems that come along to designing and pulling together a room.  And let me tell you, problems do arrive, in EVERY project.  If you have a designer that tells you your project will be free of problems and/or challenges, find another one.  They are not being honest with you.  Problems, or opportunities in disguise, will happen and this is the very reason why you want to hire an Interior Designer.  We keep the project moving forward and many times can head problems off before it even reaches you, the client, saving you both time and money.  When you don’t have an Interior Designer it’s like going into court without a Lawyer.  Okay, so maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it’s an easy way to understand it.

Every design firm will do things a little different, but each firm does have a step-by-step process for each project that they take their client through.  I will explain what Blooming Daisy Interior Design does and hopefully shed some light on what we do when we are working on your project.

 

THE DESIGN PROCESS

 

Step 1 – The Consultation

Our full-service design begins with an in-home consultation.  We will take time to listen to your needs and desire for your space.  Personalizing your space and making it uniquely yours is our ultimate goal.  Each consultation usually includes some or all of the following:

  • A walk through of your home discussing the function of each room that will be part of the project
  • Discuss what furniture will stay (if any), and new furniture recommendations
  • Getting to know you through a questionnaire that will be sent prior to our meeting
  • Defining the budget
  • Paint color selection
  • Window treatment ideas
  • Lighting ideas
  • Styling tips

Each consultation lasts about 2 hours.

 

Step 2 – Fee Proposal Outlining Scope of Work and Design Fees

This is where we outline the scope of work for the entire project, as well as our estimated design fees.  This document takes some time to put together as we research and pull information together to try and give you the best possible estimate for the fee as well as the timeline for your project.  Once the fee proposal and Letter of Agreement is signed and the retainer fee paid, we move to the next step of the project.

 

Step 3 – Planning Day: On-Site Meeting, Measure, and take photos

This is where we come back to your home and start the design process.  We take measurements and photos of each room that’s part of the project.  Discuss with you what items, if any, will be staying and going.  If trades/contractors are needed they will also show up on this day to gather information in order to provide a written estimate outlining their scope of work and cost of labor and/or materials.  These estimates will be provided to you in the Presentation Meeting.

 

Step 4 – Prepare for Presentation

This part is probably my favorite part.  This is where the creative design process happens.  We take the time to plan out your project.  This will include sketches, drawing up a floor plan that’s to-scale, elevations, renderings if needed, and color schemes.  We source all materials, including fixtures, furnishings, fabrics, and flooring to make sure everything flows together and is functional.  We work closely with our vendors in providing you with the best quality of products that will fit into your unique design.  The budget will also be developed during this step.

 

Step 5 – The Presentation

This is where we present to you the custom design plan.  This will include drawings, floor plan, mood boards, color scheme, fabric samples, furniture selection and budget breakdown including estimated costs for any work by the trades.  If any revisions need to be made it needs to be discussed during this meeting.  The cost of the furniture and/or materials will be due at this time, so that items can be ordered.  A follow-up presentation may be needed if revisions are requested.

 

Step 6 – Project Management

This step is a big reason why hiring a designer is so attractive.  In this step we create all purchase orders, track orders, assess lead times, note any back-orders or discontinued items that may affect the time line, and decide if a replacement items should be ordered.  We work with fabricators to make sure window treatments and furniture are made to our specifications.  We make sure that our projected time-line is adhered to by all vendors and trades.

 

Step 7 – Budget Review

This is sometimes needed on large projects, or when revisions had to be made and/or change orders were requested by client.  We want to make sure we are on track with the budget and timeline.

 

Step 8 – Receipt of Orders and Inspection

When items are received at the warehouse they are inspected and stored for the big install day.  Claims and reorders are made for any items that arrive damaged, and yes this does happen.  As your Design team we take care of these pesky little details that you don’t have time to deal with.  When all the items have arrived, we will install all items on the same day instead of several different days.  However, if custom window treatments are ordered they will be installed prior to the final reveal.  This is something that as the Designer we have to coordinate and pull together, not to mention being on-site to insure a satisfied outcome.

 

Step 9 – Furniture Installation and Styling

This is a fun step, where everything comes together and the vision becomes a reality.  And this is the part you were waiting for… fluffing the pillows, lol.  However, there is a lot that goes into this one day.  Coordinating with the warehouse to have items delivered and moving items in, placing them according to the floor plan, and styling.  On this day we are in jeans and hair is up in pony tail.  It’s an all hands-on deck working day.  After everything is in place a thorough cleaning is done.  A Starbucks Refresher is definitely in order at the end of this day.

 

Step 10 – Project Reveal

This is very exciting for us as we show our clients the finished space.  We will go through every item and show its functionality and benefits.  Accent pieces may be used to give the space a “finished” look and can be purchased by client if desired.  We discuss any care instructions and warranties (if any), and allow the client to point out any concerns they may have.  We will coordinate with any trades people involved to cure any deficiencies within 14 days.  Often times this is not needed, but we want to make sure our clients are happy with their new space.

 

Step 11 – Professional Photography

We will schedule a professional photographer to take pictures of the finished space.  This may be done on the same day as the project reveal, but may need to be scheduled on a different day due to availability.

 

Step 12 – ENJOY YOUR NEW PACE!

For the client this step is the most gratifying.  To be able to walk into your home and have the space completely done.  It gives you a sense of calm, and relaxation knowing that you will love coming home, again and again.

Photo: Styling and furniture by @furniturelandsouth

 

As you can see Interior Design is not for the faint of heart, especially if you own your own business.  It’s a lot of hard work, and most projects take a minimum of 6-8 weeks, and that’s if everything goes perfect.  Some projects, depending on the scope of work can take several months.  We also have marketing and accounting that for the sake of time, was not mentioned.  Despite all the hard work, it’s also one of the most gratifying jobs when you’ve created a space that your client absolutely loves.  Just knowing they will be able to enjoy that space for years to come is a wonderful feeling.

Contact Blooming Daisy Interior Design to book your consultation today.  Let us help you create a space you love coming home to again and again, because your home matters.

 

4 thoughts on “What does an Interior Designer really do?”

  1. My NY decorative arts studio has been workong with interior designers for the past 18 years, and you should add “magician”to your job description.

    Whenever I work with a client that decides they didn’t need a designer, they always wind up making costly mistakes that they regret. Interior designers can “see” things in a way that no one else can, and they should be treated with the respect they deserve. I’m the end, they save you money and time.

    Debbie Viola

  2. My sister wants to have her house completely redecorated to prepare for her Christmas birthday party next month, and your article will be of help to her. When you mentioned that an interior designer can also help track down items that a client wants to incorporate into the design and note discontinued ones, it convinced me to find one for her. Doing this will not only speed track her project but also be able to finish redecorating in time to greet her guests for the party.

    1. I’m glad you found the article helpful. HGTV has made it look like it’s a quick and easy process. Not so, if you want a well designed space. We have a service called “Designer for a Day” that might be helpful since she needs a quick turn around. We are here to help.

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