Finding a Good Interior Designer

Finding a good interior designer is just as critical to the success of a property renovation project as the quality of the tradesman that complete the various construction works. Should you decide to work with one, the designer would provide a great deal of experience in space planning and product knowledge to your renovation.

At this stage you might be wondering how to go about finding a good interior designer. The best way is always through friends or referrals. Speak to your friends and neighbours to see if any of them have employed an interior designer recently, and ask if they would recommend using the company. Alternatively, since many companies now have web presence, an online search should bring up a variety of interior designers in your area. Many will offer a no obligation consultation to discuss your needs and visions for your project; this is a great way to decide which designer you feel most comfortable with – you should be looking for a designer that has a lot of experience and would guide you through the various processes instead of telling you what to do. This way, you ensure the end result is personalised to your requirements.

Other methods of finding a designer include visiting model homes in the area and obtaining referrals, or asking for suggestions from local building companies. In addition, many furniture retailers provide interior design referrals.

Several interior designers should be interviewed before making your final decision. Make certain you ask for information of their recent projects, and check which trade organisations they are affiliated with. It is important to develop a good relationship with whoever you choose to help with your property renovation as this will make it easier to articulate your needs and desires for your project. A great way of discussing your style with the designer is to find photographs of furniture and installations that appeal to you.

It is important to understand that a good interior designer will have a lot of experience in product specifications and space planning, and it is always beneficial to listen to every suggestion they make and then form your own opinion on the matter. In the end, it is important to feel like both you and the designer are working toward a common goal, which should feature your satisfaction at the top of the list.

Ideally, the design company you choose should have many years experience working with builders, distributers, and other product suppliers. This should both ensure that your renovation is completed to a high standard and that you benefit from the trade prices offered by all major distributers to those in the construction industry. The interior designer should be able to take you to showrooms and fabric stores when necessary, and to share with you their experience in products, fabrics, appliances, furniture, and other equipment.

Choosing the right interior design consultant will ensure that you will love the results of your home improvement project for many years to come. In addition, should you move house, your renovation should be reflected in a much increased home sale price.

Social Media Guide for Interior Designers

According to the definition provided in Wikipedia:

“Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. “

Social media is everywhere, from email to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. As the web 2.0 was unleashed, communication and co-ordination with friends got easier. Now people around the world can see what their friends and family are doing and which things they are enjoying as they perform their daily chores.

The latest tools of today enable users to communicate with people well beyond their social circuit and well beyond their limits. Hence, the collaboration and co-ordination as well as the ability to convey one’s feelings have dramatically increased. Using these tools, everybody can be a publisher whether he knows how to use the tools effectively and target the intended audience.

The internet is turning into a big party where everyone shares ideas and experiences, be it interior design ideas or game room designs.

So if you are using the social media and sharing your decorating ideas, you are part of the online family and invited to the part. However, if you under estimate the social media, you are not welcome at the party which means you wouldn’t be a part of the audience altogether.

The members of the interior design industry apart from some prominent figures from major cities like Los Angeles interior designers and New York interior designers have not fully understood the advantages of social media which can be reaped by them easily. It has been observed that interior designers usually make a single web page on a free template and give their email address, and hence, mitigate the chances of prospective customers finding them.

Here are some tips to use social media effectively for your interior design business:

Identify target market

Identifying what your target market will be is very important. Remember that the current circle of people knowing you is minutiae as compared to the networking possibilities available on the net.

See where your customers are spending time online

Analyze carefully as to where your current and prospective customers are spending time online. Target the places where most of them are spending their time..

Engage your audience

Keep your audience engaged in various activities and interesting discussions, this helps them to understand you and vice versa.

Build an online PR

Build a solid online PR and make sure you give attention to queries of your customers.

Blogging

You can write a blog about your current and previous projects. Moreover, you can provide illustrations to make sure that potential customers can see your work, admire it and hire you in future.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you have a dedicated site, and a keyword search on a search engine does not return your site on top, use SEO tools to fine tune your site and improve its search engine ranking.

Home Interiors – Clients Guide No1 – Interior Designer / Interior Decorator – What’s the Difference?

“Do you do Curtains & Cushions?” As a professional Interior Designer that’s the phone call we dread to receive!

It happens more than you may think; I then have to go on to explain (without sounding patronising) what this person really needs is an Interior Decorator, this will then no doubt follow-on with me having to further explain what the differences are between the two disciplines and try to steer them in an appropriate direction.

I don’t blame these people for getting the two mixed up; the general public have been feed hours and hour of TV “instant” make-over programmes and continuous glossy magazine features all under the misleading label of Interior Design. Also this has prompted those in the Interior Decoration and Soft Furnishing business to elevate their tile to Interior Designers; again I don’t blame them for doing this, it makes good business sense to up sell yourself. But the lines have become blurred as to what these two very different services offer – there is a market for the two approaches, but where confusion resides with the customer this has to be a bad thing!

So here with this Home Interiors – Client’s Guide – series of articles I will address the key aspects for client’s that have a Interior Design project in mind as to how they should go about searching for a Designer, what to look for, how they work and charge, how to get the best out of them and how a project gets off the ground to become a finished built reality.

ABOUT HOME INTERIOR DESIGN

Home Interior Design is not to be confused with Home Interior Decoration, as this tends to be only a skin-deep treatment to give a style change or “make-over” to a property. Home/Residential/Domestic Interior Design (whatever one may call it) is a much more fundamental approach to the way you live in a property and how a building can be made to work for the individual owners needs. This will not be just a coat of paint (some new curtains and cushions) it is likely to start with a in-depth rethink at how the property is planned and may involve some considerable changes put in place before one even thinks of decorations.

Interior Designers who specialize in Home Design can be viewed as Interior Architects, and their abilities should cover all aspects of building and architectural work to a property included minor/major structural alterations and building extensions etc. They will go on to cover all the “decoration” elements such as colours, finishes and furnishings, but this is not necessarily the starting point for a project. Kitchens, Bathrooms, Staircases etc are some of the core planning elements that can structurally and technically change a buildings layout; the flow and shape of a property can change dramatically when approaching these areas.

All the technical services that make up an Interior Design project will be undertaken by the Designer; Electrics, Lighting, Plumbing, Heating and Ventilation etc, all are fundamental that need to be design-in at the early stages of a scheme, even if it is just the principles of how these may work. It is becoming even more important these days with the opportunity for client to add-in to their project energy efficiency solutions for the whole building.

Many Clients only have a very basic idea or framework of what they wish from a project; it is however the Designers role to gain that information and drawer out of the Client the full details of their requirements, this then forming the project brief. This can be a very personal experience with the Designer asking questions on how you live now and changes you wish to make to your life style. Be as open as you can as this forms an important foundation for any new design, remember that the Designer is designing for you and not for them, so they need to know how YOU tick!

For most Clients they really enjoy this consultation, as this may be the first time that they have truly thought about their life style and what they really need from the project, apart from a floor, walls and ceiling. A good Designer will have the talents of a “pick pocket”, you will not know that so much information has been taken from you until you see the first concept design, and then you will realise that the smallest details have been included that reflects you and your life style.

HOW DO YOU FIND A GOOD DESIGNER

Personal recommendations are always good, but remember, the Designer has designed for the person who gave you the recommendation, so even if their project is not to your taste this does not necessarily mean that the Designer cannot design to your taste. If they were satisfied that the Designer produced a sound creative solution that matched their brief, then this Designer would more than likely be able to satisfy your project requirements.

Web Sites are a good way of looking at a Designers portfolio of work without making direct contact. Use the search engines and directories to track Designers that are within the broad area to where you live. It is no good having a Designer from Scotland if you live in London, and vice a verse, so aim relatively local of around a 50 mile search radius! Also be aware of companies that call themselves Interior Designers, but are really Home Furnishing companies and they are only really interested in selling from their shop or showroom. Offers of “free design service” will always have a sales agenda behind it. A true Design Consultant will be totally independent of any affiliated retail business and will use the global market to source what is right for your project, no commission or incentives involved.

Professional Bodies such as The Chartered Society of Designers have registers of designers in your area and can be contacted for a list. They also have a web site at you could visit. The Chartered Society of Designers is a body that vets individual designers to make sure they meet a professional standard, it starts with a student quantification “Diploma Member” and then “Member” (MCSD), and the highest level is “Fellow” (FCSD) and you should look for these qualifications or similar from your Designer.

I hope this has given you an insight into the world of Home Interior Design and if you are considering employing a designer is of help as to how to start to make a selection. Part of that selection process will be that first (no obligation) meeting with them; what can you expect to come out of this? Look out for the next article in this series by Chris Page.