Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Using a Decorator on a Budget - One Idea

It's quite common for decorators to be called in half way through a project when a the client gets stuck.  As a decorator I have no problem coming and helping at whatever stage they need me at, however, projects like these are often more challenging.  Why?  Often clients have made quite a few decisions, made several purchases, already had their trades out to do some of the work, and the decorator comes into a "hodge podge" of decorating, so to say.


Probably the biggest challenge for a decorator when coming into half done projects is that quite often one or two (or several) of the purchases or decisions made by the client really don't work and we are asked to try to salvage the pieces. This usually results in more cost for the client (having to repurchase items or get trades out to fix problems) and/or a less than beautiful result (and who really wants that after they've spent all the money and time on it) If they had had a decorator out before making purchases or starting work they would have had the finished product they wanted for less money.

One way I have found that may save money for some people, and avoid the "hodge podge" rescue, is to do the leg work yourself!

Decorators charge for their time and mileage.  Gathering all of the samples and pictures they bring you to look at takes a lot of hours and leg work. So if you're willing to do the running around you may be able to save some dough. 

Source: bhg.com via Kirsten on Pinterest

My suggestion is, if you're thinking about doing some redecorating, before you start anything, think about what you really want and what you really like. Fill your pinterest board, your houzz ideabook, or a binder with clippings and pictures of things you like.  This way when you meet with your decorator s/he can much easier see what your style is and what you want your project to feel like. (If you have no idea what you like then that's a whole other story and you'll probably need some help figuring that out) When you've got a collection together have your decorator out for a consultation.

Most decorators offer a one or two hour consultation for a fairly reasonable rate and you'd be surprised what you can get accomplished in a short amount of time.

Tell them up front that you're on a budget and want to do the shopping around yourself but you need to know what to look for and what to avoid.  When you've shown your decorator your ideas ask them what you will need to get the look you're after.  They should be able to give you a good idea of what to look for and possibly even the best places to find it. Make sure you take notes and ask lots of questions!

Once you have that information start your window shopping and sample gathering. Go to stores and get sample and good quality pictures of all of the options you find. Make sure you get prices, sizes and all the information you can on all of the items you're looking at. Don't forget to check prices at different places. Don't buy anything yet!!!

With all of your samples and pictures together have your decorator out for another consultation. Using everything you gathered they should be able to help you choose what will work together and get you closer to the desired look the first time around.

I think that extra hour or two at the start of the project is well worth it!  Often when I add up the extra money clients end up spending fixing mistakes or the headache and disappointment living with those mistakes (which they will probably get fed up with after a year or two and redo anyways) my fee for that hour or two at the start of the project would have been covered many times over.

If you're starting a project and need a little guidance I'd love to help!  If you have any questions about my services and how I might be able to help you, contact me at realinteriors@hotmail.com!

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