It’s a bank holiday weekend, a chance to catch our breath as the sun streams in the windows. This opportunity to press pause and enjoy some sunshine is beyond welcome, but all that bright light and time can make us realise our surroundings are looking a bit shabby. The vast majority of our time is spent in our homes and places of work, so it’s important these spaces perform well for us on all levels. Whilst more and more people are getting savvy to the benefits of engaging a bit of professional help when designing their interior spaces, many remain skeptical, seeing the service provided (in the words of my accountant) as mere cushion plumping - the cheek! So in this blog post I’d like to blast a few myths:
1. ARE INTERIOR DESIGNERS EXPENSIVE?
Nope! Well, actually rates vary but one of the main premises of good interior design is determining where money can be spent and saved to achieve the greatest visual and functional impact for the budget available, coming up with solutions to stretch the budget, however big or small it may be. For example, you may be considering an extension but a change of layout and some strategically placed mirrors could achieve the desired perception of space and light within the existing footprint, for a lot less expense. Or there might be items you already own that can be re-worked to fit the new scheme/layout at minimal cost. In this open plan kitchen and living scheme, wall units from the old kitchen have been repositioned, painted and had new handles and a worktop to create a peninsular unit, whilst part of the old kitchen granite worktop was re-used to create a hearth for the fireplace.
2. ARE INTERIOR DESIGNERS SNOOTY?
Nah! As in all walks of life, there will be some you warm to and some you don’t, but in my experience I have found the interiors industry to be incredibly friendly. Nearly everyone I have come in to contact with has been willing and happy to share knowledge and help if they can. It figures that if your livelihood depends on mixing with the general public, dealing with suppliers and trades, being invited into people’s homes and businesses and often spending weeks or months (even years) working closely together with them, designers have to be down to earth and approachable. Choosing a designer you get on well with generally, as well as appreciating their style, is key to a happy and successful project.
3. ARE INTERIOR DESIGNERS JUST FOR PEOPLE WITH NO TIME OR NO IMAGINATION?
Not solely! Whilst an Interior Designer will certainly save you time and bring layers of interest, character and quality to your interior space with imaginative bespoke details, they can prove equally helpful to those with too much imagination! Sometimes, especially if it’s been a project that’s been a long time in the pipeline, people are brimming over with scrapbooks of lovely, but very varied, ideas. In this instance a designer can help pull together a stylish and cohesive scheme from a seemingly disparate patchwork of inspiration.
Similarly, when people move in together, buy a new home or re-decorate, a designer can find ways of re-cycling and mixing two separate households worth of ‘stuff’, or people's totally opposing styles, to create a scheme that looks as if it should always have been. In this tv and reading room, her silk and floral cushions pick out the pinks and greens in his masculine film poster so they sit happily together.
4. WILL AN INTERIOR DESIGNER BULLY ME INTO CHOICES?
They shouldn’t! An Interior Designer should take time to get a good grasp of your likes and dislikes and an understanding of what you really want and need to achieve from a project. More often than not, designers have the creative challenge of incorporating an inherited collection, family detritus or a person’s particular taste, rather than having a totally free reign. If there is anything you really want factored into your scheme, then you should be able to, it’s your property at the end of the day………..just be sure to tell your designer early on so it can provide their starting point for the scheme.
In fact, it’s these very challenges that often result in the best outcomes; that inherited painting you never liked but had to keep makes a room come to life as a result of a designer’s clever choice of frame and unexpected positioning, or the shelves and cupboards created for practical storage, give a room a depth of character previously absent. In this article from Introspective Magazine, Susie Atkinson discusses her inspirations when designing the award winning interiors for The House at Beaverbrook, where she inherited an abundance of original features, as well as a large painting of a parrot and Winston Churchill’s secretary’s chair to be factored in.
Whilst working within the confines of the brief, though, a designer will also suggest ideas that (gently!!) encourage you beyond your usual style choices to really elevate a space. An example is this guest room which incorporates colour and pattern but still manages to feel natural, neutral, fresh and relaxed in line with the brief.
5. COULD I ACHIEVE THE DESIRED RESULT MYSELF?
Possibly. There's an abundance of creative, style and cost savvy people out there with no Interior Design qualifications who pull together exquisite interior schemes. And there's also an onslaught of sources available to provide inspiration - Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz etc etc etc. So, in theory, there's no reason why not. However, in practice people sometimes find they've seen exactly what they want but are unsure how to actually achieve it, or have a tendency to play it too safe and feel their finished project looks and feels a bit blurgh, lacking real soul or character. An Interior Designer has established trade and retail contacts, spends their days thinking how best to utilise space and poring over paint, wallpaper and flooring samples, fabrics and finishes, considering ways to inject individuality, and has a good idea of what works and what doesn't. By default they'll have access to some ideas you may not have considered and trade and retail contacts who can create or deliver what you're after.
So, in summary, an Interior Designer can stretch your budget, help you get the most visual wow and physical oooooh from the space, encourage you beyond the beige and create a haven that’s individual to you……….whilst potentially becoming a friend for life in the process. Not bad!
Having said all that of course, most Interior Designers will also be very happy to create some sumptuous cushions as the perfect finishing touch for your scheme………….and many will even go as far as to plump them for you!!
I hope you've enjoyed this article. If you have an interiors project you feel could be elevated by working with an Interior Designer please do get in touch.
All images taken from Juliette Moon Interiors, Pinterest and Google