After you prepare a list of interior design firms to call, the next step is preparing for interior design. So what do you need and why?
I’ve prepared a list for you that I prefer from my experience as a project manager.
- Name, address, number and email address.
- Google Map to location.
- Pictures of the current home or business location.
- Are there any floor plans that are available to show the proper measurements of each room.
- What type of design are you looking for? (more on this later)
- Images of designs you like. (Pinterest or Google Images usually do the trick).
- A ballpark budget for what you desire. (yes, you must have one)
- What type of designer are you looking for? (More on this later)
- How long are you willing to wait for good design.
Below, you’ll see that I broke apart the above list where it is best to define further.
“Pictures of your current location” means taking pictures of the inside and outside of your location with a fairly good camera. You should shoot each room from different perspectives before sending pictures to the design team. Make sure you label them for each room, so they know exactly what they’re looking at.
“Any existing floor plans that show the proper measurements of each room.” This means that you should have a floor plan of the areas you want to redesigned and round these measurements off to the nearest 10th of an inch or the closest in CMs. If you already have a floor plan, then that is great, if not…a rough hand sketch of each area will be fine. Bring a tape measure, a ruler and an A4 size sheet of paper. Draw a layout of each room and put proper measurements on each line. Try keeping for yourself the smaller projects, for example, if you want to renovate your bathroom with Bathroom Vanity Units, you can let us know once the main projects have been done.
“What type of design are you looking for?” means exactly what it says. However, many people do not know the proper name for the type of design they are looking for. This can be remedied by following the google links on the image to the website source. Some will actually list the style. For instance here are a few to consider and some to enter into the Google Search for ideas. You may also search our Pinterest pages for ideas:
- Modern Contemporary
- Japanese Style
- Thai Style
- Loft Style
“A ballpark budget for what you desire.” I find that most clients are hesitant on giving a budget. Yet, this is a very important part of the process. The designer may not take your project if it is not clear enough or if they feel the price is too low for what is needed. It could be that you are not good at creating a budget, but at least you can try your best to produce a ball park figure. The designer will tell you if it is too low once they see the full scope of the project. This will save everyone time in the end.
“What type of designer you’re looking for.” Be prepared for designers, they hold a lot of pride in their skills and are often – easily bruised. Especially if they are young and new to the trade. That being said, you should focus in on the Interior Designers personality. Does it match well with yours? Do you feel comfortable around them? Do you genuinely like him or her? This may be difficult at first( a few meeting should help.) and not always that clear . On the flip side, you should not bother hiring an interior design company if you already know how you want it in terms of the overall design. In short, you’re wanting the designer to put “Your” design to paper. Please, get an Interior decorating consultant to help you out with materials, builders, project management and craftsmen instead. This will save frustration and the patience on the part of the designer, and it will save you money. Truth be told, a project will begin to collapse along the way if a customer begins to assume the chief interior designer role. It is one thing to share your likes and dislikes and another,to tell professionals what to design. I never see it work well this way. This is why we have interior decorators, interior designers and interior architects. Choosing the right one for your project is imperative. In fact this will be a great topic for another article.
“How long are you willing to wait for good design.” Firstly, a good designer will always cost you more in fees, but are experience enough to save you money in the end. So I would opt for the first – A good designer. Secondly, a good designer is usually slower and more methodical about each project. This usually means a better approach to design . Good design, normally does not come easy or fast. It takes research on the design itself and then the materials being used. A poor quality designer may keep reusing materials in each project, especially , if they get good deals on them and therefore produce higher margins for themselves. Yes, we do have margins we make on each material we use. This is called a padding and it’s there if the suppliers mess up. Finally, The fit out portion of the design is usually the fastest part of the project. On a home this could be a few weeks to 3-4 months on average and depending if your in a home or condo. If your in a condo, the time frame can double due to the working restrictions and time frames due to the close quarters of neighbors. The nice thing about the design process is that you can stay at the project site until the building phase begins and that is normally a third of the way or more in on the design process.
Now to sum it all up, preparing for interior design will save you a large headache and keep a good working relationship between you and the interior design company. Understand that the better you are prepared the faster you can move along while getting concrete solutions.
In closing I will provide you with my short take of 38 plus years of experience. Most clients do not comprehend the commitment nor the work it takes to be a good designer. We shouldn’t expect them to. Most clients do not realize that the more they refrain from a constant change of heart, the faster it will go. It is important to remind them upfront , that these issues can and will add on time, As for the design firm, good management is a must, especially to deal with the constant emotions behind great designers. They tend to feel that their design ideas are better than what the client wants. Sometimes they are and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes, teams can get so worn out that they start forgetting things and the quality of their work wavers. A good manager knows how to balance these issues so that everyone stays happy. Interior Design can either be a great adventure or a less than etiquette one. It is all about balance, trust and being open-minded.
I hoped you gained something from my experience. If you felt this article was good or could use some change, please leave a comment . If you would like me to do an article on a specific topic related to interior design, architecture or landscaping or have a question you’d like me to answer, then please leave a comment or use the contact form to send me a message.
Jack Anthony LaBarck
Interior Passion in Bangkok, Thailand