Home in a mess? Call in the professionals
We all want our home to look stylish and welcoming, but not everyone wants to spend time co-ordinating contractors and choosing the decoration and furnishings. Or perhaps you simply accept that you don’t have an eye for colour or a feel for proportion.
So if you’re working away from home a lot and don’t have much spare time, or just aren’t confident when it comes to overhauling interiors, an interior designer could be the answer.
Not to be confused with an interior decorator - who limit themselves to improving the look of your home by picking colour schemes, wallpaper, flooring, lighting and other accessories - an interior designer is a professional who not only plans, but also often oversees construction work and hires contractors.
This could prove ideal if you don’t want to get bogged down with the details. They can arrange subcontractors to do any building or plumbing work which is needed, and will watch over the whole process until the furniture is in place and the room is ready to use.
It’s important to give your designer a budget and clear goals of what you want to achieve in your home. Although they may ultimately make many of the crunch decisions on your behalf - after all, that’s what you’re paying them for - reading about decorating trends can help you to give them a broad idea of what you want, as can collecting fabric samples.
Finding a good designer
As with other home improvement projects, word of mouth is best. If you’ve seen something you like at a friend’s house, ask who designed it. Alternatively, check an interior designer’s references, and ask if there are any local buildings or restaurants they might have worked on that you can take a look at.
You can also contact the British Institute of Interior Design, which has a list of professional interior designers and decorators, allowing you to select a professional on where they are based, their specialism, or the services they provide.
Some large furniture stores may also offer a design service - but you will be tied to using their goods and this could be restrictive - although the consultancy service can be more affordable.
And the cost? It all depends on the scope of the project - for example, if you need to use a range of craftsmen - and how upmarket you are going on your materials and the cachet of your designer. It could range from just a few thousand pounds to redesign your front room, to hundreds of thousands for totally changing the look and feel of a big property.
If you’re hiring an interior designer at an hourly rate, somewhere between £35 to £80 per hour is a ballpark figure, according to www.servicemagic.co.uk, a recommendation site for tradesmen. A better known interior designer can cost up to £300 per hour - and then you have the material and labour costs on top of this.
Make sure you do your research, set out a maximum budget – and stick to it! Costs can spiral if you’re not strict on this from the beginning. Be realistic with what you can afford, and if you’re looking to increase the value of your property in the long run, bear this in mind when making your initial design decisions.
Getting an interior designer on board can achieve superb results, but the cost of their services, and buying furniture and other materials can be costly, and so taking out a loan may be an option to help spread the costs.
Issued by Sainsbury’s Finance