I tackled this question very briefly in the FAQ section of Fuchsia’s website…
While it may seem that an interior designer just picks out colors and fabrics, there is so much more to it than that. What we do involves detailed coordination with other designers and the contractor to bring to life the design. Keeping in mind life safety issues throughout the design process is another task. While it seems that what we do can be summed up as what the finished project looks like, there are many, many behind-the-scenes duties that must be completed.
…but think it would be good to expand on this so people really understand the benefit of hiring an interior designer. Not just what we do but how us doing it, rather than yourself, can truly save you loads of time and money.
Many people think that the sole reason for hiring an interior designer is to help them choose colors. And if those people have an eye for color, they think they are wasting their money. While we do help with colors, many times, that’s not really the bulk of what we are doing on a project. It’s all the other items we do – scheme creation & material collection, pricing & budgeting, documentation for construction, purchasing & procurement, etc. – which are the true benefits to the home or business owner.
So let me show what we do based on an actual project, for example, moving your office into a new, larger space due to growth. In order to not make this blog post a three hour read, I’ll show the basic difference between doing the project yourself and having an interior designer do it. The requirements of the project and the differences between doing it yourself and having an interior designer do it would be similar on different kinds of commercial projects and even on residential projects.
You know you want to move, you know the area you want to move into and how much you can spend on rent. While you can work with each individual building management company to determine if a space would work for you, hiring an interior designer at this point will allow you to discuss your needs in detail. Typically, while the building management company will go above and beyond to get you as a tenant, including preparing space planning drawings, this process can be time consuming and even all for not. An interior designer, knowing your detailed needs from the get go, will be able to quickly and simply determine whether a space will work for you. We can also help understand what your needs will be with how you’ve already grown and your anticipated growth. Above all, we are working for you, not the building management company, so we work in your best interest, not theirs.
After selecting the space, you would need to prepare drawings for the contractor’s use. It would be very rare that this task could be accomplished with out an interior designer and / or an architect. Creating construction documents requires a knowledge of building codes, including life safety codes, software or instruments to create the drawings, time to create the drawings and coordination with engineers (structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, etc.). There seems to be a slight misconception, as well, that construction documents means the project must entail structural work, must be of a certain size or must include a certain amount of installed work. Construction documents can be a simple as a finish schedule and photo with notations added to direct where the finishes go. Every project requires some level of construction documents.
So now that you know where you are moving and how your office will be laid out, it’s time to determine what it should look like. If you were going about this yourself, this would involve trips to home improvement stores, specialty décor stores (flooring, lighting), furniture distributors and more to select each finish and item. This could take hours upon hours to complete, involve driving all over town, possible coordination of schedules if more than one person is responsible for decisions, being guided by a salesman instead of someone working towards your budget and schedule, etc. More often than not, it can also be highly overwhelming. As your interior designer, I find out your likes and dislikes when it comes to style and colors. I then use that information to pare down the information I show you. Selecting from 3 – 4 carpet choices is infinitely easier than selecting from thousands. I also know where to look for these items to get you the best value, good quality at a good price. And I am able to easily acquire samples to put together into schemes and show you. Imagine how much time and energy it might take you to select tile for your reception area, carpet for your offices, vinyl for your break room, tile for the floor and walls in your restrooms, restroom fixtures, restroom accessories, paint colors, systems furniture (workstations), reception area furniture, reception desk, conference table, desk chairs, conference chairs, task lighting, decorative lighting, art, plants. The list can easily continue.
I’ve scraped the surface of what an interior designer can do for you. But I hope I’ve made my point clear, why you should hire an interior designer. We’re not just to tell you if two colors don’t go together. We benefit your bottom line by saving you time, money and energy while creating a space that fits your needs and desires. The next time you have a project, I hope you will consider letting Fuchsia be the interior designer that helps you. Give us a call today!